So my camping/cycling holiday didn’t go exactly to plan… it turns out my tent is not waterproof, or at least not waterproof enough. It’s perfectly fine in good weather and can take a light shower but it cannot take torrential rain, which is what we got on Saturday night and continued all throughout the Sunday. So I woke up at around midnight with water splashing on my face to discover the tent had filled up with water and basically become a pond! In the middle of the countryside it was pitch black and there were no houses for miles.
Soaked to the skin and with only an emergency wind-up torch I went wondering down the road to look for shelter and eventually found a barn. It was cold but it was dry. Fortunately I’d had the foresight to put all the spare clothing in a bin liner so they were still dry, but the sleeping bags were still wet. It was better than nothing though. My leg muscles had been okay up until then but after a freezing cold night they were aching.
Time to set up camp – the calm before the rain storm! They’re Called the Chilterns because it turns chilly!
Did I mention it was very windy too? On Sunday I honestly wasn’t expecting the tent to still be there, but it was! It must have been pinned down pretty good! The forecast was better for tomorrow but psychologically it didn’t seem like a safe place to sleep any more. Luckily there was a Premier Inn just outside Luton, but it basically cost the remainder of my budget for the trip to stay there. It was actually the last room they had as well!
Public transport between Luton and Oxford are a bit rubbish really: all the trains go to London and then out again which makes it a pretty complicated and protracted journey yet the direct route only takes an hour by car. Very, very kindly Kevin (aka Clodin) came to the rescue, drove to the hotel and dropped me at my front door! (If you are reading this: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!)
Me at the Jubilee Exhibition at Buckinghamshire County Museum
So I didn’t make it to Hedingham Castle – EPIC FAIL! However I did make it half way – about a 50 mile Journey – and my GM has promised to take me to Hedingham Castle in about a fortnight. I have rather focused on the negatives but apart from the tent flooding it really wasn’t a bad trip. I enjoyed the cycling which was mostly through beautiful countryside with a lot of quite amazing views. I’d never visited this part of England before so it was all new. Actually I’d never camped before, or cycled long distance, which probably accounts for my mistakes, but it was an Adventure!
Saw a sign saying ‘Exhibition!’ at Aston Clinton School, stopped, looked at the beautiful art, got told the Wilstone Reservoir was the place to see – and they were right! Also my tent looked a bit like this later.
I got to see Thame, Aylesbury and Whipsnade, several museums and a Zoo. Okay, the Zoo was on rainy Sunday so the Lions and a few of the other animals were nowhere to be seen, but there were plenty of other animals including the Rhinos, Penguins and Brown Bears that were not bothered at all! It cost £20.50 to get in, which is expensive, but I guess it costs a lot to maintain such a large zoo. Also it’s at the top of what is possibly the biggest hill in Bedfordshire – getting up there was like climbing Mount Doom! Having done that not going in the Zoo would be like not destroying The One Ring – the failure of a Quest!
They have Mara just wandering around at Whipsnade. They are part of the Cavy family like my Guinea Pigs!
Sorry there aren’t more photos but I was afraid the get my camera out. My Mobile phone broke in the wet, but fortunately it’s a Nokia 1112 so as soon as it dried out it was okay again!
I found it very tranquil away from civilization and would do it again – but with a better tent!! And a survival bag just in case! Lesson learned.