Archive for the ‘canals’ Category
I continued the run from the Three Tuns with plans to grab lunch at the The Golden Swan twelve miles away. I had a bus to catch at 1:40 in Pewsey and considered lingering in Wootton Rivers to hit the Royal Oak when it opened 15 minutes later than when I was passing by along the Kennet and Avon Canal, but I was really looking forward to a decent plate of pub fish and chips, an item friends that have been to this house highly recommend.
So, I jog up to the bar and order a pint of Horizon (can’t go wrong with Wadworth) and ask for my fish and chips. “We only do a roast on Sunday.” Nowhere on their website nor their on-line menu does it say this…I should have done the stop in Wootton Rivers, after all. Oh, well, I eventually found what I was looking for at the Crown.
The family out front was friendly and two at the table had been in the mass bike ride I filtered through on the way into Bedwyn. The young daughter of one wanted another glass of water but was intimidated by some rude fuckers drinking in front of the bar. “If the man says anything to you, tell Daddy and I’ll go have a chat with him.” There’s this Kevin Bridges bit where “Daddy just has to have a word with the man,” can be interpreted as “Mommy will pick you up down at the Police shop.” But, the rest of their (and my) stay went off without incident.
Jackie had a short day at work (11-3) but I had a long run overdue for the weekend. Scouring the empty space on the pub map for a candidate trail, I found a nice bit through the Savernake Forest toward Great Bedwyn from Marlborough. The path through the middle of the forest is dead straight and quiet and only a little undulating and, on this pleasant morning, filled with birdsong.
At the forest’s exit (reached beneath a dense canopy), you are confronted by a huge gate with no fence on either side of it and some signage stating the property is protected by Gurkhas…impressive and weird. A few hundred metres to the northeast you can get off the B-highway onto the drive toward St. Katherine’s Church, a 19th-century parish house that looks a lot older. Their Sunday Service is in the evening so I could have taken a peek inside but I was in a hurry so only stopped for a drink of water.
Once back out on the paved roads, I was confronted by a regatta of cyclists who seemed equally amused and bemused that there was a runner in this remote section of Wiltshire. The verge was nearly non-existent and there was more automotive traffic than I had expected, but eventually I found my target, The Three Tuns (which opens at 10 am on Sunday–twenty minutes before my arrival). I was served a pint of Good Old Boy and retired to the garden to consider the day.
Leaving the pub, I changed the planned route slightly from a direct shot to the tow path to include a pass by the Church of St Mary, started in 1092 on top of a Saxon church, and which houses a memorial to Sir John Seymour (one of Henry VIII’s fathers-in-law). As it was in the middle of Sunday morning service, I satisfied myself with some exterior views and a short wander around the cemetery before heading on. Besides, Ii had already been to my temple:
The frequency and intensity of my running has increased with the rise in temperature this summer so I find myself ducking into pubs for respite more than in recent months. Beer and cider are featuring more so than dinner wine in the Daily Tipple log as a result:
Having logged all the chippies near work, I also find that pub fish and chips — at least in Oxford — are the way forward in the Chippy Challenge. I’m also having to travel farther afield from Swindon although there are still a good number of fish and chip shops near enough home to add to the list. The Chick-O-Land in Salisbury is the new southernmost member of the list:
Red markers are July additions, go to full map by clicking on one of these graphics.
The G-Had also continues to develop with July trails overlapping a Didcot HHH trail (the inaugural Didcot clash, in fact) and a Bicester HHH trail that was more personal than it probably should have been. Those make G-Had HHH trails #36 and #37.
The new pub count (as in the Count of Pubs New to this blog) stalled the first week of June and I almost went the entire month of July without an addition to the list. This was corrected last Sunday with an 11 mile / 6 pub jog from Amesbury to Salisbury largely along the River Bourne. With the woman working Sundays and every other Saturday the numbers should pick back up in the coming weeks.
It has been a while since my last pub run but with Jackie working Sunday afternoon the opportunity arose and I decided to clear the backlog of Devizes pubs still on my to do list. There were only two left on my list but a quick internet search turned up the Hourglass near the Devizes Marina and not far from a bus stop so I started with a warm-up jog there to get a Ramsbury XXXX Porter.
The beer was slate-y with a bit of ashtray to it, but the kind of ashtray that involves the scrapings of a bong or hash pipe so it was a happy find on this chilly day with a storm looming. I worried about flooding on the path along the canal but needn’t and the choice to start here seemed an auspicious one despite the dining bent of the canalside, estate centred venue.
A fine mist had descended during my trot from the Cooper’s and the running effort today and other workouts during the week finally caught up to me. The damp, advancing age, and poor nutrition and hydration resulted in muscle cramps and spasms in my shoulders and legs. Medicine, in the form of a Weston’s cider, was available just inside the warm confines of the French Horn.
It was actually a bit TOO warm inside, humid and heady with the tempting scents of the Sunday dinner. “Will you be staying for lunch,” the barmaid asked. “I want to, but I need to catch the bus soon.” She seemed genuinely disappointed but not so much as I did. Famished and starting to sweat, I took up residence in the garden and hoped for the best with the weather.
After an unusually strenuous hike along the Kennet and Avon Canal, a heavy lunch at the Barge (one of the best burgers I’ve had in England that I didn’t make myself), and a diversion through some manor-farm land that piled on the miles in this first of hopefully many hot days this year we opted for a brief wait for the bus to Swindon in the safe confines of the Royal Oak.
Jackie had an unusually disgusting blister on her foot and no appetite for booze (had I misplaced the woman on the tow path?) so I was left to drink alone but with dry company in this fantastic old inn in this fantastic old town.
There were some bikers having a few before heading back out to the wonderful weather but that is really all I could take in since, like the woman, I was absolutely exhausted. the pics above are from the walk, but I would really need to revisit the pub to do a just review.
[Originally, this project was described here, and you can see the most recent prior Update (3) here.]
25 March 2013: Stir crazy from enforced rest (IT band injury), I took the admonition to limit exercise to gentle walks as including short, hilly hikes and went out into the unseasonable cold (winter set in around this time last year and just won’t fuck off). Picking up a bit of the un-mapped sections of the EPiOT project was the aim, but I also lucked into a fantastic (if oddly situated) kebab stand to add to my annual challenge total:
26 March 2013: Not a twinge after yesterday’s hike so with a half hour till sunset I headed out to the hills and exploring some of the ‘new build’ neighbourhood off Okus (I just know they must have a pub down in there, but haven’t yet found it). Coming back via Grosvenor then William Street, there were some compelling stairs near an old school house that now hosts Swindon Silicon (the Boy’s Entrance is just behind that fence in the photo). Unusually bad luck with dead ends on the steep Fairview (next to the Radnor Street Cemetery) and again on an alley, but that’s part of the fun, eh?
29 March 2013: There was sun. No, really (I say this for the Brits out there), sun and relatively clear skies, I shit you not. With Jackie laid up with the lurgy, I did some errands then headed out to knock out some pesky trails:
These runs have enhanced my appreciation of Art and I passed a basketball court where a kid was wielding a spray can, too deep in thought to notice I had stopped to tie a shoe. I’m a little concerned he was working on top of extant paint when there is such a wealth of virgin canvas just around the corner:
As the alleyways spooled out before me, many more works presented themselves, like this conceptual Minnie Mouse:
And, this mural on a garden fence above the quarries adjacent to the Town Garden:
Philistine that I am, I can only take in so much visual information and have learned to pace myself. I’m glad that I did, too, since the detail above the recently reopened Prince of Wales shows that it was built to be exactly that (the Prince of Wales). The last time I visited this pub was a week before my attempt at a second visit (when I found it shuttered, a year-and-a-half or so back). They reopened a couple of weeks ago and I felt compelled to have something (albeit just a half pint of Carling). I’m sure I’ll be back soon, though.