It being only a couple of miles away, the route was plotted on a phone – Google maps to the rescue! – torches at the ready, and off we headed. Torches were going to be needed because we would be walking along country lanes and through woodland paths, and we weren’t expecting any street lights at all along the way.
It was a lovely clear night. The air was cool but we were wrapped up pretty well. Besides, the walking would keep us warm.
We headed out the top of the village and soon we found ourselves on a little track heading towards Crays Pond. Checking the route out before we went it looked as though most of it should have been on decent pathways, but that didn’t end up being the case as we soon hit some pretty slippery mud. Not a problem but it wasn’t what we’d expected.
We walked and chatted, checking the route on the phone every now and then to make sure we were going the right way in the dark.
It was a complete tonic to the stressful day being out in what felt like the middle of nowhere, in the dark, just the two of us, walking and chatting.
Everything was going fine until we got to the woods on the other side of the B4526. Checking the route it looked simple enough but as we got half way through the woods the path had a diversion sign on it – great!
We carried on walking in what we thought was the right direction, following the route on the map until we came to a road, taking a left and heading up the road. Not a problem. Well, that was until we came across the signs for Cray’s Pond…something wasn’t right!
Checking the phone it said we were heading the right way, but we knew we weren’t. How could we when we should have skirted round Cray’s Pond, not gone through it? Checking the route on the phone a little closer we noticed that it wasn’t actually taking us to the pub any more but into the centre of Cray’s Pond. What?! How had that happened?
We replotted the route and back up the road we headed, taking a right into the woods again. A little way in it became quite apparent that we’d been down this path before, and if you look at the route we plotted of our walk (based on where we ended up on our little detour so it may not be 100% accurate) you’ll see we ended up doing a loop in the woods and down the B4526 into Cray’s Pond – doh!
What was interesting though was the fact that as we made our way back down the path we kept an eye on the map on the phone and would you believe it…it did exactly the same thing again and changed the route to take us into the centre of Cray’s Pond. All very strange but having seen what had happened this time we knew not to follow it this time and to carry on heading in the direction we were originally walking.
All of that out of the way, and more mud trudged through, we got into Whitchurch Hill and found the pub – hurrah! It’d taken a little bit longer than planned but we’d had a good laugh about the mishap so no bother.
The pub was almost empty when we got inside. Other than the barmaid there were two chaps standing at the bar…and us. There was a nice log fire on the go though which was very welcoming after the chilly, muddy walk we’d just had.
Ordering our drinks we asked if they were doing food; they weren’t – oh no! We’d checked online before going out and the only information we’d found said that they did do food on a Monday evening. Clearly that’s a little out of date? Oh well, beer and snacks it was! What’s that saying about best laid plans again?!
We sat and had a couple of pints of West Berkshire Brewery beer (Mr Chubb’s and Good Old Boy), both of which were very nice, while we chatted.
As the clock ticked round to 9pm we though we’d better make tracks home. After the mishap earlier in the evening we both thought it would be safer walking round the lanes back to Woodcote. Okay, it was a little bit further (only half a mile) but there was a much better chance of us getting home without us ending up lost again.
The lanes were very quiet – we only saw one motorbike before getting to the outskirts of Woodcote – but even though the sky had clouded over, the temperature had dropped a good few degrees since we got to the pub. Chilly it most definitely was.
We made it home in good time – probably down to the cold – and we did so without getting lost. Whoop! More importantly, as we were almost home it started to spit. Once we’d got in and fed the piggies it absolutely lashed it down. That was close.
What should have been a simple stroll to the pub actually turned out to be a fun little adventure. Great evening! And The Sun is definitely a pub we need to visit again, but maybe not on a Monday evening if we want to have dinner there!
|Miles||Start (HH:MM)||Finish (HH:MM)||Breaks (HH:MM)||Walking (HH:MM)||Pace (MPH)||Steps Taken|
|Start Elavation (m)||End Elavation (m)||Max Elevation (m)||Min Elevation (m)||Total Climb (m)||Total Descent (m)||Climbs on Route|
|Rating||Start Point (miles)||End Point (miles)||Length (miles)||Start Elevation (m)||End Elevation (m)||Average Grade|
More information about climb ratings can be found at Map My Walk.
|↑1||Cover Photo credits go to Kim Daniel on Unsplash. We didn’t take any photos on this stroll so this picture was used instead of one of ours|