Wiltshire - Salisbury to Pewsey, 09 April 2007
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09 April 2007

Wake up, vaguely pack things and then breakfast. Same one as yesterday, I guess that's the system, make the same thing every day, less thought and work. None of it was really cooked, so I guess that would make things a lot easier. I would have been happier with a full English, but I guess this one will have to do. The other couple in the dining room figured I must have been the one with the bike in the garage. I noted theirs since one of them was also a Condor. He came as sort of part of a group and I think she just came along too. We talked about our frames and she grabbed the key to the room and fled. I saw them later as I was leaving, they were packing up their car, tying the bikes on the back. Poor sad bikes, they probably spent most of the trip in the garage and then back on the back of the car again for the trip home.

Last bit of packing before I leave. I'm determined to discover a system that makes sense, what goes where in the bags and which on what side. So, then later if I'm looking for something, I know where to find it. A silly dream though, I doubt I'll ever find it. Might as well pretend I'm going to also discover the perfect lightweight rain jacket too. Ahh, dreams.

I don't know what I'm going to do today yet. Well, I know I have a train at 8:30 in Pewsey, about 20 miles away or so. But what to do between now and then. I guess I'll follow the Wiltshire Cycleway and see where I end up.

So quickly through Salisbury, past Old Sarum, winding roads along the Avon, much hazier than the other days but eventually got quite warm later in the day. Was making good time, found the way back through Amesbury that had defeated me on Saturday. A bit annoying, I was pretty close to the right place and ended up backtracking and going in a circle. Oh well, wiser now.

There was supposed to be an 18th Century dovecot but I must have gone right past it. A bug had gone into my eye and I had to pull off the road before Netheravon and cry a bit and see if I could get it out. That's probably about where I missed it. By the time I got to Netheravon, I didn't really want to go back and look. The church there was nice, but it was locked up. There were instructions on where to go find a key, but I didn't want to ride around knocking on doors.

And then back to the nice stretch from Saturday, although it was slightly uphill this time, and there were only about 5 paratroopers floating down this time. It was getting positively hot and it was time to switch to shorts for the rest of the day. Past the tank crossing zones, never did see a tank, and into Everleigh, ready for lunch. It is that bit of indecision, lock the bike, take the bags, where do you put the bike, all those questions. I put it behind the fence in the beer garden, lock it to itself and leave the bags and head in. Odd, this pub is a Rhodesian themed one. I have the standard lime and soda (although hardly any lime in this one), beer is too tiring if you have a long way to go, and order a Rhodesian sausage sandwich. Not really sure what was in it but it was fairly good.

After lunch, there wasn't a whole lot that was overly exciting for a while. The Wilton Windmill seemed like an interesting point on the map to shoot for and it was actually rather nice. It sat on top of a hill covered in blooming rapeseed, so right in the middle of a sea of yellow. The road went by fairly close to it but it didn't seem all that worthwhile going for a closer look. It seemed like it was prettier from a distance.

It was a bit after this that I started to lose my ambition. 30 something miles so far, I could head straight for Pewsey but that would put me there hours early. Might as well follow the loop around, see if I can swing by Marlborough, it is supposed to be interesting. But by the time I was around Froxfield, I was wondering if I really wanted to. But there wasn't really a good way to bail out without going on some horrible big roads, so I guess keep going then.

Eventually to Marlborough then. At first it was rather unexciting. A medium sized town with lots of busy traffic. Oh well, I can check it off the list, been there. Trying to get out of town by the most reasonable route, I happen by Marlborough College and it has a nice looking church. Walking around it, there is a white horse on the hills behind, kind of tired of the white horses now. But then, just past the college, really wanted to get off the busy road and just took a chance on what looked like a footpath, cross the river and ended up St George's Church Preshute. Such a pretty find, black and white checkered, slate and all that. Probably the prettiest church on the whole weekend. And it had the best graveyard too, the most interesting stones. The ones that were really fabulous were the sandstone ones which looked like they have started to melt and dissolve, which I guess they kind of have done.

Some back roads and trying to get the short distance left to Pewsey as nicely as possible, I make it there with about two hours before my train. There were quite a few pubs in town, I wandered around seeing which one seemed the best. I just never know though. But I picked one and it was fine. For dessert, I really wanted something with custard, they kept coming back from the kitchen telling me they didn't have this sort of sponge or the apple crumble was off. On the third time they finally came up with a chocolate one, which was way too choclolately but at least I had custard. They came and chased off the fat old dog who kept coming and lying under the table, no doubt hoping I would be generous with the food.

So, train home then. Keep in mind that I have already gone way out of the way to get my bike there, stupid engineering works and bus replacement messes. So, sitting down to wait, the sign says "regret, no handicap toilets", umm ok, "regret no cycle spaces", umm, no, that's not going to happen, I have a cycle reservation, I even have the ticket for that printed out and everything, and on top of that, I have first class ticket (due to the completely incomprehensible system of pricing of rail travel, that was far cheaper than any other ticket I could get. I did do a quick price comparison of how much the electronic ticket kiosk would have charged me if I had bought a ticket then, a lot more, so I felt ok about it then.)

But yeah, another cyclist showed up and we discussed our impending yelling fit to get our bikes on the train. Then the time changes on the train, delayed, that time passes, it moves to 15 minutes later. Finally the train pulls up and the guard is poking his head out the window and yells no bikes at us. We calmly but firmly discuss having cycle reservations, it being the very last train to London for the night, and basically just keep moving toward the train with every intent of going home now and on that train. Finally he relents and says to just put them in the passageways. (Must remember to write a note to First Great Western questioning their whole useless system of cycle reservations.) Then having to sit there, watching my bike bounce around in the passageway as people tried to get past did mar the whole first class experience a bit, but at least I was headed home.

So, off at Paddington, a long trek home across London. And then yet another bike has popped up in the bike storage closet in my building, so I have to spend 5 minutes moving things around trying to get mine in there too. So, finally off to bed, dump my bags out on the floor to get what I need and I'll deal with the rest of it tomorrow. 63 miles today, 157 total for the whole weekend.

Going north past Old Sarum.

Hazy day

Going through Woodford again.

In Netheravon, really tried to find the 18th Century dovecot, but I must have missed it somewhere.

Netheravon church.

Back to the tank crossings north of Haxton.

Wilton Windmill.

Crossing the Kennet and Avon Canal at Great Bedwyn.

The chapel at Malborough College.

A pretty wall with a tunnel.

St George's Church Preshute, probably the prettiest one I saw. Link

And the most interesting graveyard.