Friday, 27 June 2014

CYCLING ALONG THE KENNET AND AVON

DAY 1 READING TO KINTBURY

The train pulled into Reading Station and we were off through the damp grey morning and pleased not to be in the town too long. We soon gained National Cycle Route 4, which was to be our companion for the seventy odd miles across three days, heading west.

FOBNEY LOCK  near READING
It was still trying to rain but once through Fobney Lock just outside Reading, at mid morning we were then shown sun, which continued, across our day.

We cycled past fields and hedgerows, over or under bridges that protected the sluices that feed or feed off the canal’s water supply. Sheep’s parsley as tall as trees and yellow flag irises were constant companions for this three-day pedal.

By lunchtime it was hot. A pint and a gigantic sausage baguette were served with a modest side order of fries and a warm smile at the Butt Inn at Aldermaston Quay. The word ‘quay’ testifies to the huge amount of commerce this canal carried.

A lovey afternoon in the saddle, our path running parallel with the Great Western Railway track; the train network that was to deprive the canal of all its business when the GWR opened in the mid 1800’s.
ALONG THE CANAL AT THE LOCK

Teatime was enjoyed in Newbury, at the canal side tearooms with a tempting array of cakes. http://on.fb.me/1ismcPY


TEA IN NEWBURY
We had a text from the Dundas Arms at Kintbury (our stop for the night) that their boiler was out of action and so they were too. The manager drove us to the Swan Inn at Inkpen Village. This was a welcoming but forlorn establishment. It was blessed with a Spanish girl (student?) who seemed to be in many places at once (bar, restaurant, kitchens) and brimming with courtesy.





Good food at The Swan and a comfortable evening. We discussed the onset of bad weather the next day. 


THE BUTT IN ALDERMARSTON AND THE SWAN AT INKPEN