Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Previously on Hampden...

A week or so ago I followed the Hampden Cycle route from Amersham, North through Chesham, then North-West to Chartridge, and Lee Common, then down to Great Missenden and across to Prestwood. I was tracing it to plot on OSM. But after covering three quarters of the route, time ran out, and I bailed out and left the rest for another day. Today was that day.

My brother lives in Cumbria, so I mustn't call the recent weather round here anything worse than "iffy". So, after several days of iffy weather, when the bike was resting in the shed, I decided it was time to bunk off this afternoon and see if I could complete the circuit. I almost made it.

I had planned to go back to Prestwood then work my way anti-clockwise round the last section of the route back to Amersham.

Unfortunately I didn't get away until after lunch. Then after Beaconsfield I realised that I had left my maps at home. I had the GPS, of course, but even with that, navigating to connect up with my vague memory of where the previous effort had left off was going to be a bit hit-and-miss. I though it would be easier to start at Amersham, where the official route begins and ends, then work work anti-clockwise by following the signs round to where I had left off before.

That went fairly well. I picked up the route easily, so I was able to follow the signs without the help of a map. The weather was more-or-less OK. I discovered I was a bit slow, after more than a week off the bike. But I gradually got into my stride (if that's the right term on a bike) and I enjoyed the views. A bit of relaxing exercise didn't do any harm either.

The village houses looked particularly welcoming as it began to get dark and their lights came on. Unfortunately darkness must also have made it increasingly difficult to spot all the signs. I now know that I drifted off the route about a mile from connecting up with my previous effort - so there is still a short gap left to fill.

However, it is getting there. All but a short length of road was already on the map, but the cycle route wasn't, so Iv'e been able to add that. I like the countryside round there. So its no great imposition to have to go back in future and connect things up. A few hours and 40 miles of trundling around has probably done me the world of good.

I should do this more often. I really should.

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