To be continued - Puppy dayOctober 11 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C
New Puppy postpones rest of walk ...to be continued !
New Puppy postpones rest of walk ...to be continued !
So it’s relatively flat start as I’m by the Thames! We are heading north out of Goring on the Swans Way past the Leatherne Bottel gastropub (another old haunt) onto South Stoke of Domesday book and its churchlands donated away by HenryVIII ! Onward and past the Brunel railway bridge towards North Stoke and it’s impressive church and murals ! Passing through Mongewell Park . Now it’s east and straight and up some hills (too many) and following the old earthwork of the Grim’s Ditch for over 3 miles ! It’s a pleasant tree shaded section and onto Nuffield and Holy Trinity Church dating from 12thC - where Mr Morris of Motors fame is buried! Some impressive brass rubbings ...but more impactful to have free coffee and cakes for visitors!!!
Next we cross over the Shakespeare Way - linking Stratford to the Globe on London- past Watlington . We are still on the Swan’s Way and also the Icknield Way heading NE towards Chinnor .
Too many hills ! Finally it’s boots off for a while at Lewknor as we are getting a puppy tomorrow morning and I’m off home ! So there will be a pause for some time on this walk with 30 odd miles to go !Read more
So up that hill again to the Ridge!
Heading East past the odd tumulus and on to the Lord Wantage Monument! A Monument to some chap , a founding father of the Red Cross and Crimean soldier and VC winner !
It’s a big horse riding area , lots of gallops!
Past Scutchamer Knob - an odd earthwork , one of the biggest Anglo Saxon knobs ! The Knob is nowhere near has prominent as it might once have been: situated within a stand of trees and only crescent shape following early 20th-century archaeological excavations that suggested it dated to the Iron age, and earlier excavations to quarry soil to fertilise surrounding fields. It would have originally been a conical, flat-topped mound c. 43m in diameter!
Past West and East Ilsley and a view of Harwell - the atomic energy research place - the biggest chimney around too! Just as think the hills are gone I surprise or am surprised by a fox - he doesn’t move so I guess he’s not surprised !
Past Lowbury Hill and its Roman temple - which is hard to see !
Onto Streatley which is just over half way on the Ridgeway ! The Bull pub where “Three men in a boat “ supposedly had lunch and down to the River Thames- time for a beer as only a mile to go .
I had some odd business meetings here in the The Swan - a long time ago - and hired their odd small six person barge - which took us upstream to Brunel’s GWR bridge over the river - impressive !
Goring for the night ! Just as weather turns!
It’s got an interesting Norman church with one of the oldest bells in Britain - 1290!Read more
Some blue sky early on ! So back to the track or at least the old Roman road , the Ermin way which heads NE towards Ashbury folly past Bishopstone village .
It’s a blustery day
Wayland’s Smithy a large neolithic barrow from 3700BC covered with Sarsen boulders
Onto Uffington horse near Woolstone - the oldest such horse in the country carved some 3000 yrs ago but it’s purpose unknown !
Onto Whitehorse hill close to Lambourn valley( home to horse training stables ) also Uffington castle with a fantastic panorama and just below the horse with best view from Dragon Hill.
The Ridgeway is pretty flat but it has its ups and downs however villages and accommodation is down the hill !Slight detour north to Letcombe Bassett and Regis where it’s beer time again
Rest the bones and tomorrow it’s back up the hill to the Ridgeway again !Read more
Supposedly this is the true start of the Ridgeway ! The sign says it all ! It’s dry and it’s definitely a ridge as you have to walk up the hill ! It’s very green but overcast! The white horse at Hackpen hill is a bit of a detour for a view ! Sheep! Long horned cows - ?
Banbury castle is massive ! An Iron Age hill fort at 265m , the double ditch and earth ramparts were first occupied 2500 yrs ago ! Big views! Past Ogbourne St George and through thatched cottage Ville of Southend and up to the ridge again ! By Liddington hill and it’s castle the weather is turning in ! I feel like King Lear on the heath! The castle is another Iron Age fort and in summer I guess it looks more impressive ! Past an odd WW2 bunker and finally down to Liddington and some beer !
It’s been a walk - 20miles!Read more
Well it’s not raining !
Probably created around 2600 BC, Avebury is circles of stones within circles of stones .It is believed that Avebury henge contained around 600 standing stones, though only around 76 survive today. There is evidence of Roman occupation and later by Christians where the stones were likely destroyed across the years, being seen as pagan.
The exterior circle of stones is bordered by a ditch which would have been deeper at the time of construction but is now a shallower indentation
around the outer circle. Inside the larger circle is a matching pair of smaller circles with stone lined avenues weaving between all of them.
To the south lies West Kennett long barrow which was constructed around 3600 BC. It entombed the remains of
least 46 people, including both cremated remains and unburnt bones. Built into a chalk ridge, the large grass-covered mound (when in use it would have been bare chalk) is about 10 feet high at its highest point, and 300 feet
long. Inside is a 45-foot-long hollow passage with four chambers on the side
and one at the end.
Wandering inside is a spooky experience!Read more
Following a route used since prehistoric times by travellers, herdsmen and soldiers , the 87 mile long Ridgeway passes through ancient landscapes through downland, secluded valleys and woodland. Should be fun - hopefully not too wet!
First the difficult bit - catching trains !
Well it’s 40 odd years later but a good gathering for a pint in the sunshine .
So a rest day and we hit an impressive Jordan museum including Dead Sea Scrolls plus lots of other interesting artefacts !
And some odd coloured chicks seen on the street !
A quiet drink in Rainbow street and then the Hotel pool ! And breathe !
Last night meal at famous Hashem restaurant - falafels, hummus and beans !
Early start and home tomorrow !
It’s been funRead more
It’s Hot !
Hidden for hundreds of years under the sands of Jordan, Jerash ruins are all that remains of the great ancient city that saw Alexander the Great, the emperors Trajan and Hadrian, and the mathematician Nichomachas.
Most of the ancient city of “Gerasa”was destroyed in an earthquake in 749 AD.
The ruins were re-discovered in 1806 and are one of the best preserved Roman cities in the Middle East for Roman architecture, preserved mosaics and carvings.
Jerash was the trading centre for the Romans, with goods coming in and out of their empire in Europe to the northwest. Petra operated as the trading centre for goods coming from Arabia, Asia and Africa.
I had no idea of the scale before I arrived and was stunned.
You come in through a large Hadrian arch and then the site stretches out in front of you , it’s temples and other buildings on hills in the distance.
Next to the entrance is a massive hippodrome .
Then there’s another grand entrance before the grand Plaza.
There are two theatres, one at the southern end and one at the northern end of the city -as it was so large it needed more than one theatre!!!!
There’s a very impressive Oval Plaza with the colonnades, that’s 90 metres by 80 metres and dominates one side of the city.
The colonnades continue past even grander temples and the round Agora - it’s unique ! When you circle back you get a great view of theatres and the grand Plaza. So many buildings, huge fallen pillars and so many awaiting renovation !
Then we take a drive to the lowest place on Earth - The Dead Sea , whIch is actually a lake, or has been since its outlet to the Sea of Galilee evaporated around 18,000 years ago. The pool sits nearly at 1400 feet below sea level . Its famously salty water - 10 times saltier than the Atlantic Ocean - is due to the huge quantities of minerals that have been deposited and trapped in the lake bed over millennia.
Demand for water from the Jordan River, the main tributary of the Dead Sea, has increased in the last few decades, with water being siphoned off for drinking, irrigation, and industrial activity. This diversion has caused the Dead Sea to shrink rapidly, losing around three feet a year.
So we take the plunge or rather the Float!! The water is so warm I cannot really tell I am in it ! We float taking care to avoid getting and salty water in the eyes etc ! It’s a pretty weird experience .
Some of the party take to the medicinal ? mud ! Very black and ? good for the skin !
We relax in the swimming pool before a drive back to Amman and a last night out on the town with the gang ! It’s been fun !
Tomorrow is our last day and we are solo !Read more