Monday, 10 September 2012

An unexpected weekend treat on the River Kennet

What a great weekend we've just had here in the southern UK. More spectacular weather, and fortunately I found the time to enjoy it. My original plan on leaving work in London on Friday afternoon was to pay a visit to Harrow-on-the-Hill, but on leaving the office and heading towards the tube, I could not bear the thought of squeezing myself in, even for the relatively short distance, and then having to get a later, busier train home to West Berkshire. So, my plans changed and I left my search for space to Saturday and Sunday.

On the Saturday I managed a 35 mile mountain bike ride down to Whitchurch, where I was forced to stop and seek comfort in coffee and cake after having managed to fall of my bike earlier in the ride.

After having eaten myself better, although sore and bruised, I continued my ride down towards the staggering beautiful Long Parish (which has a couple of excellent looking pubs that I need to make a note to visit some time), and then headed back up through The Wykes, St. Marybourne and Crux Easton.

So Saturday was my planned space but I had some bonus space on the Sunday when I managed to fit in a walk along the River Kennet, looping back along the Kennet and Avon canal before watching one of the boys playing football. This particular walk west from Newbury is one of my all time favourites. I love the way the transition from road, to rough road, to gravel track, to muddy lane, to footpath happens. It always reminds me of the line in the Neil Young song, Thrasher, "Headed out to where the pavement turns to sand". The only thing that spoilt the image was the sound of the traffic thundering along the A34 bypass. If only the railway line that used to run over this bridge was still running (admittedly it only went as far as Lambourn, but the sentiment is the same).

Disused railway bridge on the Newbury to Lambourn line

River Kennet, just west of Newbury

 River Kennet, just west of Newbury

River Kennet, just west of Newbury 

River Kennet, just west of Newbury

So that's it for this week I suspect. I am going to be finding some space in Kent later in the week so check back on or after the weekend to see what I found there.

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