Out of Tyringham, I climbed up to the practical farmlands, aiming north towards Olney. This was still the ‘Three Shires Way’, mostly.
Soon after I had emerged from a plantation wood I found the most bizarre path I have encountered. It was made of old bits of rag, flannel and recycled textiles; it was broad and it went on a long way. I started walked it, and while the souls of my feet were blessing me for this soft surface and relief, it was too soft and very hard going so I switched to the grass path beside it and while my feet cursed me, I have little sympathy: the must do their duty along with my other limbs.
Further north, over a road and at the crest of a gentle hill, my route switched to the Ouse Valley Way which took me down to the valley, through a caravan park and past a series of manmade lakes by the river, in Emberton Country Park, of which I had never heard before but it was very popular with families who had come out from the town. I was going past though.
The path emerged on the road just outside Olney, the largest village of this northernmost part of Buckinghamshire. The Great Ouse flows lazily past, with the church spire looking down to it, and here I sat contemplating the divine while eating sandwiches. The village’s most famous vicar lies in a large memorial tomb here – John Newton, the slave-ship captain who repented and became a priest, and wrote several hymns, including his most personal, Amazing Grace.
Olney is a pretty place, and the one with shops, so it is a local capital. I was not stopping long though.
The path continues along the north bank of the Ouse, through heathland until another bridge on the river, after which is a climb up a steep bank to head for Clifton Reynes. This was the last village before the end. I grabbed a long lemonade in the Robin Hood and set off.
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 160 (Windsor, Weybridge & Bracknell)
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 172 (Chiltern Hills East)
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 181 (Chiltern Hills North)
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 192 (Buckingham and Milton Keynes)
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 207 (Newport Pagnell & Northampton South)
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