Princes Risborough to Wendover
12 November. Serendipity is a happy unexpected occurrence.
The Ridgeway is a popular long distance path, so it was no surprise for our group of nine to share our delightful walk with others; but it was good to see many young people and families straying long distances from the car parks.
The weather in early November can be expected to be overcast; but the mist gave added atmosphere to the autumnal colour of the Chiltern hills. And it was an added bonus when the sunshine began to break through as we reached the top of the steep climb of Brush Hill to reach the open area above the Whiteleaf Cross.
The clear skies meant that the views over the Vale of Aylesbury were more extensive than we could have hoped for, and some of the group expressed a desire to remain at the afternoon stop at the Boer Monument on Coombe Hill. A place of remembrance, the day after November 11th.
The original plan for this walk was changed due to the somewhat hazardous descent needed to reach the pub stop, plus concerns that cold and dark conditions could have met us at Little Kimble. (A lovely alternative for a future date). This meant a risky picnic for the time of year, but again our luck was in. The Plough pub, reached before the path passes Chequers opens its doors at 11am and provided an early break for a drink and crisps from the very welcoming staff. No Prime Minister was spotted, but they have references to previous ones. This half hour break meant that there was a need for a picnic spot before the climb up Coombe Hill. Buckmoorend Farm Shop not only welcomed those buying its produce, but had a weekend cafe suitable for us to add further sustenance to our picnic lunches on the tables in their field.
The red kites were amongst the many birds seen above us on our walk, especially adding context to the magnificent views in the morning detour through the Gracelands Nature Reserve. The kites swept down to hunt in the fields near our lunch table, the sunshine revealing the meaning of their name in a way not normally so obvious. It was not clear who was watching who.
The group were eventually persuaded to descend Coombe Hill, hiding our eyes from the HS2 scars on the Wendover countryside, to reach that town’s High Street with shops and cafes for those of us who wished to delay the journey home. Tony, with thanks to Christine R and Mary-Jane for photos.