Today’s walk provided beautiful vistas from several Chiltern Hills, chalk escarpments in South East England. This morning I saw my first Red Kite, a medium-large bird of prey. Though we climbed up down the various hills, the walk was not strenuous. If fact, it was quite enjoyable.
We walked through the outskirts of Princes Risborough, a midieval market town since 1376, but today was not a market day. The name ‘Risborough’ means ‘brushwood-covered hills’. The prince referred to in the name is Edward Prince of Wales who was given the manor house in 1344 at age 14 and who lived there until his death 32 years later.
Since we were walking about 18 miles today, we taxied our bags forward. It was costly (about $50 dollars) but worth it in light of my injured foot. The taxi driver picked up the bags and drove us to an ATM on his way to deliver the gear. When Dennis got out of the car, he started to put on the backpack. The taxi driver and I were confused by his doing so. Feeling foolish, Dennis replaced the bag in the trunk and offered the lame excuse that the backpack was such a part of his routine that he “forgot” it was being sent forward. At least we got a few laughs out of his mistake.
Once back up on the ridge, we saw the Chiltern valley below with its various hamlets and communities. There is a lot of history in this region, which we were unaware of as we walked the Ridgeway Path. I am sure if we had had the time, we could have diverted from the Ridgeway to see historical points of interest, but we only had a week.
We walked past Chequers, the country home of the Prime Minister. The land was fenced off with railroad tracks, cut and welded vertically. There were lots of security cameras, as you can imagine. At one point, we walked through fields on the Chequers’s property.
Later in the day, the sky clouded over and the winds picked up. We hoofed through lovely wooded nature preserves and then climbed to 852 ft (260 m) to Coombe Hill. As we got to the top, it started to rain, the wind made it impossible to use our umbrellas, and the temperatures dropped to mid 50° F. We didn’t stay long at the monument erected in memory of 148 men from Buckinghamshire who died during the Second Boer War.
Once off the hill, the winds were calmer and the rain eventually stopped, but the temperatures never rose. The path took us through Wendover, another market town at the foot of the Chiltern Hills. It was hard to resist stopping at the Rumsey’s Chocolaterie. Then we walked past the beautiful entrance to St. Mary’s church. (photo left) There was an event at the church and we were invited in. Since we have seen many churches on this trip, we continued on our trek.
At last we reached The Greyhound in Wigginton, tired and hungry. Our accommodations were modern and the food was “brilliant”, as the English say. Once again, we had difficulty connecting to the internet from our room. I wonder if the British will ever solve this malady.