The weather forecast for Saturday was for glorious sunshine and the first warmth of Spring, so out for the first long ride of the season. Fortunately I took an extra layer with me, just in case. Bloody cold, with a strong wind – predominantly from the South-West, but backing. Ended up being a headwind most of the way.

Out to Chesham and then over to Aldbury, one of my favourite of the little villages in the area. An episode of the Avengers was set here, where Steed and Mrs Peel ran into some villagers-turned-assassins.

From there, continued north-ish towards Ivinghoe. Small village, big church. The Chilterns form one of the major landmarks in the south east, particularly the prominent northern tip at Ivinghoe Beacon. Here around Ivinghoe has always been a meeting place, and it forms the meeting point for two ancient roadways, the Icknield Way and the Ridgeway. Lots of pilgrims, big church to leach off the passing trade.

Turning south towards the Tring reservoirs, which initially seem to be in a strange location as there are no major towns or cities in the area that might need such a supply. The nearest big town is London, on the other side of the Chilterns. These are not here to provide drinking water though. The Ivinghoe / Piltstone area marks the highest point of the Grand Union Canal. During the height of the summer, hundreds of boats pass through the locks every day, and everytime the locks open, water flows downhill. The reservoirs provide enough supply to ensure that the canals don’t empty in the summer.

From there, through Aston Clinton to Ayelsbury and then the direct route back home. Lovely trip, or would have been if it had been a bit warmer. Once we get some properly warm weather then this is a route I can see myself doing on a regular basis

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