Distance on Ridgeway - 7 Miles
Geocaches - 10
Start on Ridgeway - Lewnor
End on Ridgeway - Princes Risborough
Pub - Shepherd's Crook, Crowell, Timothy Taylor Landlord
When you have a plan, you have to stick with it. I was always going to use the extra day off this weekend to knock off the next leg of the Ridgeway.
The alarm goes at 5:45. A mere 15 minutes after offspring number 1 has got in from a nightclub. I awake to the sound of the rain drumming on the conservatory roof. Sonia questions my logic. I question my logic.
At least the motorway is quiet.
Park up at Lewknor and after a short crossing under the M40, I am back on the Ridgeway at a place called Cuckoo Pen.
The worst thing about the rain is that it makes all the photos look dismal.
Still, this stage of the Ridgeway requires a camera man of David Bailey proportions to make it look anything but dismal.
Its just a wide track through woods, offering limited views.
|A rare gap in the trees for a "View"|
Leave the trees behind at Thickthorne Wood and the Ridgeway opens out into agricultural land, offering something else to look at.
|Out of Thickthorne Wood|
Nothing more to say. Nothing happens. Nothing to photograph. I leave the Ridgeway behind at Shootacre Lane and consider it's former glories back in Wiltshire.
Saunderton is the turning back point and the route I plot back is reasonable. A large part of it is on various "Ways" (Chiltern, Midshires), which means that I have chosen quality paths.
Bledlow is the first village that I walk through and the pub, the Lions of Bledlow, looks exceptional.
A shame it's only 11:30am.
|The Lions of Bledlow|
I see the occasional puff of smoke and hear the odd toot of a whistle, which means I am approching Chinnor. Film location for Midsummer's Murders (more of a Bergerac man myself), it also has a Heritage Railway line, with a Steam train plodding backwards and forwards to Princes Risborough.
A double disappointment, I am too wet to stop at any of the pubs in town - not wanting to de-boot, and de-goretex - only to have to put it all back on again.
And I missed the Beer Festival by two days.
|Two Days Too Late|
The Shepherd's Crook it is. A fine choice, as there are five real ales on - and the stone floors mean I don't have to disrobe. I go safe with a classic Timothy Taylor Landlord.
I'm too wet to sit inside, so I take my pint and sit in the beer garden. Some may think this is odd, but there really is only so wet you can get.
|Just me, a sheep and upturned Wellies|
Positively cheered up, I head back onto the trail. Some fine churches at Kingston Blount (11th Century) and Aston Rowant - I cannot help but think I am walking in England's History.
Around the Cricket Pitch, past the Stud Farm, back under the M40 and the walk is over.
Five hours later, I think I have finally dried out.