scribbles tagged ‘Berkshire’

3mph between daydreams

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Stroll route around Aldermaston wharf The Butt Inn Guide book for the strollsWalk 14: The Butt Inn at Aldermaston Wharf

A Sunday morning stroll is a sociable stroll.

A wizard disguised as an elderly gentleman stopped to give me advice on the best position to see the Kingfishers on the river Kennet. Sitting with your hand over your mouth works best.  He also explained that local Geese are the top of the local food chain and they are maliciously breeding and pooping-up the place. Pests and hygiene hazards.

The wizard advocated a ‘bash their eggs in‘ approach to flock-size control. With a little persuasion we managed to compromise on a strategy of collecting then selling the eggs for outstanding breakfast omelettes.

Silver Speedy Ramblers Old man Inbetween stories and advice the wizard would pootle-on ahead at about 6mph. Gradually making up the ground between myself and the other silver-haired speedy ramblers who blazened past while I pondered the emotional commitment of copulating dragonflies.

Sunday morning strolls are full of these speedy silver strollers. I met them coming the other way and was overtaken by at least 7 of them per mile of my walk. They are a healthy, plucky, lot. I prefer them to the dressy ramblers. Silver strollers’ casual outfits look like they are pulled together from stuff anyone might have around their house rather than using a small overdraft in a specialist ‘Outdoors’ store.

Even without go-faster gear they still outpace my meagre 3 mph between daydreams.

As expected, despite valiant efforts, I went off-track

Both off and ontrack revealed all sorts of countryside goings-on, animals galore – Goats, Cattle, Lambs, Alpaca, Chickens, Horses, Kingfishers, Geese etc, meadow flowers, avenues of ancient trees, ponds, rivers, canals, faerie grottos and Indian hide-outs. Who would have guessed that wandering through Berkshire would take me to all these magical places? Can you see the magic?:
Tent  Canal boatsSwings  through the trees

3mph between daydreams
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Stroll from the Horse and Groom around Mortimer (walk 13)

Sunday, June 17th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Guide book for strolls A very refreshing saturday stroll around Mortimer tackling gusts of 40 mile an hour winds. Thank goodness for fitted hats!

It seems that a ‘Stroll’ is a walk that doesn’t involve any:Horse and Groom

  1. severe inclines
  2. special equipment other than a stout pair of shoes and a drink and some snacks
  3. unfit people such as myself breaking out in a sweat, huffing and puffing…

By contrast, a ‘Ramble’ requires a bright Goretext jacket, Hiking boots, thick wool socks, a walking pole, gloves and all sorts of fancy accessories.  I know this becuase I turned up at the head of a ramble arranged by the Berkshire ramblers association where a flock of brightly Goretexed people were circling a style at the trail head.

I looked at my lack of Goretex and all terrain hiking boots. This equipment has been hibernating in my cupboard since leaving the mountain ranges of the NW USA.  Temporarily downhearted, I decided to work my way up to releasing my rambling gear with a few less imposing, walks.  The idea of some morning strolls with the help of Nick Channers book of Pub Strolls in Berkshire raised my spirits.

Walk 13: Mortimer from the Horse and GroomWalk 13: Horse and Groom

If the stroller can follow the instructions provided, “Walk 13” is a 3 1/4 mile stoll that starts and ends at the Horse and Groom in Mortimer. It’s a problem solving challenge to follow a map that is not to scale and omits a lot of key landmarks.

Very quickly I discovered that my walk was actually likely to be 6 miles, the extra distance caused by going the wrong way, realising it, and retracing my steps and trying another option. This could me more healthy than I’d anticipates!

I never managed to get to the 3rd marker point, several unmarked junctions near the “N” north sign proved too distracting.

The latter part of my walk turned from problem solving into a creative fiction.

It all ended well, at lunch time in the Horse and Groom. A substantial Victorian pub with a classic 1970’s decor, decent real ales and a rather good chef.

Yummy. I might be back to see if I can find the real route on another day…
Trees on the horizon Trees in the valley Iron style

Stroll from the Horse and Groom around Mortimer (walk 13)
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