Wednesday 19th January 2011
Finally, I’ve managed to go out for a walk again. A lot of life and social arrangements seem to have got in the way, and it felt good to be out in the open again. There were a lot of people out and about. It’s time to get rid of the extra weight that tends to pile on around the end of December.
When I did the West Highland Way last year, it took me considerably out of my comfort zone. It really made me rethink my definition of “rural” – some of the places were very remote, and you really could walk for miles without passing anyone or anything. If you got lost, you really could be on your own. Most of the time it was well used and populated, but I can see how you could potentially get stuck somewhere. In contrast, when walking through the Chilterns, you’re never really more than a mile or two from a road, village, or some kind of building where you could ask for help in an emergency. The genteel Chilterns may not be as dramatic as the awe-inspiring Scottish Highlands, but they feel a lot safer, a lot less like anything could go wrong.
The weather was quite cheerful today, but it’s been raining quite a lot recently, so I had numerous giant puddles to contend with. It felt cold at first, but in fact it was perfect weather for walking as I soon warmed up.
Even after leaving the forest, the air seemed to become mistier and mistier.
I reached the pub, The Plough at Cadsden, at about 11.15. If I’d got there a bit later, it would have been a lovely place to have lunch. They also have accommodation available.
Later on I passed by Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country house. I could tell I was near the estate because the signs started to change. Usually, in the countryside, you get pretty little signs like this…
…But around Chequers, there are lots of signs like this.
That’s us told, then.
Anyway, I’m amused that a Right of Way goes through the estate, and actually goes right across the driveway. I walked past one of the largest CCTV cameras I’ve ever seen. It may have thought it was watching me, but I was watching it too. Maybe it was watching me watching it.
The highlight of the walk was Coombe Hill, with its monument and lovely views. I stopped there for lunch.
I’m so glad I finally managed to get out for a proper walk. There’s only one or two more sections of the Ridgeway left to complete now.