Present: Richard N (organiser), Mike, Gaby, Shey, Andrew, Simon, Tracy, Keyna
Richard had had the weather specially imported from somewhere where it was still summer, and as we walked in sunshine under a blue sky, jackets, jumpers and trouser legs were soon shed. The going through the forest behind Bedwyn was soft to buoyant in places, and in the sun’s warmth, it soon started to feel subtropical. On the valley rim, we had great views over the rolling fields, copses, thatched cottages and riders thundering along effortlessly on bridleways. Crossing a large field, we flushed out one particularly stupid roe deer, which then proceeded to run a half circle around us to the back of the group, found itself confronted with a fence, and then galloped straight past us again the other way, sometimes stopping to look back.
After a short but lively section of the A4, we all started to feel a few hunger pangs, but had to wait a while yet before reaching picturesque Ramsbury where we had some truly massive meals in the Crown And Anchor (although the maritime connection escaped us). Stuffed to the gills, we rolled out of the pub and downhill to Littlecote House hotel, where we had a good look at a lovely Roman mosaic in the grounds, and the arrival of a bride and groom by white wedding helicopter. A final push across the valley and over the ridge dropped us down to Hungerford Marsh in blazing sunshine, for an encounter with a giant fibreglass statue of Morecombe and Wise.
On the way through Hungerford, we were waylaid by the fete, and poor Andrew had to take all his newly bought cake home, as we were all still too stuffed to eat anything. However, not too full to go for a refreshing cup of tea or two in the Tutti Pole, Hungerford’s premier olde tea shoppe.
Only on the way home did the reason for the small group became apparent – it was the day of the Newbury Beer Fest!