Friday, August 18, 2017

Epilogue: Ivinghoe Beacon - Aldbury

The Ridgeway day 6.
Distance: 8.2km (188.7km), time spent: 4:20.
Altitude (start / end / highest): 233m / 138m / 233m.
Weather: Dissolving rain into sun.

With The Ridgeway finished, I had one more task to do before I really could call it over. Getting to my accommodation for the night, The Greyhound Inn (the second of two with that name) in Aldbury. Aldbury is not the closest village to Ivinghoe Beacon, but the inn looked so nice that I had decided to go there, there should be ample time. I have been at the beacon for a time when I finally says goodbye to The Ridgeway and wanders off further on Beacon Hill.

Ivinghoe Beacon.

Though I will not really leave The Ridgeway entirely yet. My first stop after Ivinghoe Beacon is a planned celebratory beer in nearby Ivinghoe. To get there, I could take a path starting from just below the hill that goes down to Town Farm outside Ivinghoe. But that will mean some walking on a road, so instead I retrace my steps over Steps Hill to a junction below Incombe Hole. This comes with the added benefit of getting to walk on this great section again.

Looking back up towards Ivinghoe Beacon and Steps Hill from another viewpoint, on the way to Ivinghoe from The Ridgeway.

From below Incombe Hill there is another footpath that leads more directly towards Ivinghoe. I can walk and look back up at the beacon at the end of The Ridgeway. I had hoped to see Peter and Brian again, but have given up on that hope now, but leaving the trail I can see two people coming walking over Pitstone Hill. It might be them, but they are too far away from me now, too bad.

A bench end or poppy-head with a mermaid figure in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Ivinghoe.

In Ivinghoe, I visit the local church, dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, where the bench ends or poppy-heads are almost all different and dates from the 15th century. Going for my beer, I find The Rose And Crown, it rains outside while I am sitting there, another lucky break.

A wonderful light when I approach Pitstone Windmill coming from the sunshine behind the rainclouds.

On my way back up again, I visit the 17th century windmill outside Ivinghoe, Pitstone Windmill. The light behind it are marvellous, as sunshine illuminates a wall of rain approaching from that direction. The effect of the incoming rain is wonderful. There is just enough space for me underneath the awning of the mill to get enough shelter for the rain, as it swipes past the windmill. I can stand and watch as the border of the rain moves across the fields at both sides of me.

A triple rainbow over Ivinghoe Beacon (though the third rainbow is not visible on this picture), seen from Pitstone Windmill.

Pitstone Windmill with the rainbow ending at Ivinghoe Beacon.

It quickly passes by, leaving not a single, but a triple rainbow in its wake. The end of the clearest rainbow is located right on top of Ivinghoe Beacon, as if it wants to tell me something. Was there some hidden treasure at the beacon? Walking the rest of the way up to The Ridgeway again, there is sun and blue sky above me.

Looking back at Pitstone Hill.

Crossing The Ridgeway below Pitstone Hill, and leaving it for the final time today (I will actually revisit again for a very short time tomorrow), I take a footpath going through an acre towards Barley End. I have just one short stopover before I will get to my destination of Aldbury. The Bridgewater Monument at Ashridge Estate. You can climb to the top of the monument, which will give you a good view of the area around. Of course it is closed when I get there.

Going through an acre with rolling hills in the background.

Aldbury is another picturesque small village. It also has a village pond, it appear that if you want to take pride as a village, you have to have a pond. The inn is just as pleasant as I wanted it to be and a nice place to end the accommodation part of the walk. There are no street lamps in this village either. I eat a celebratory dinner at the restaurant at The Greyhound, it is quite more 'posh' than you would expect from a country inn, but the food is very good. The pub part of the inn has a very old style to it, which I like.

The Bridgewater Monument, built in 1832 as a memorial to Francis Egerton (the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater), 'father of inland navigation'.

Tomorrow, I will walk to Tring Station for my return train to London, on my way I will rejoin The Ridgeway. It has been a great six days on foot in England. The Ridgeway may be far from a spectacular walk, but the scenery is nonetheless quite beautiful.


<- Ivinghoe Beacon

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