04 July 2010

P2G 2: Bath to Leamington Spa

After living there a dozen years, but leaving in 1999, it was funny being in Bath for a night again. Half the shops I knew had gone, replaced by chainstores or upmarket shopping courts. Rather like meeting an old partner who has now married someone richer and more successful, who is very polite, but has clearly not missed you.

I set off on the Fosse Way, which goes excitingly straight - and therefore, in this bumpy landscape, in rollercoaster ups and downs. Up to the M4 it's lovely country lanes, and from there to Kemble it's gravel byways with the occasional historic ford (above). This is what cycling in Roman times would have been like.

(And yes, I know it's sideways. It's a bug in Blogger; the image is the right way round on my laptop.)

The source of the Thames is at Kemble. That's the Thames there, winding its way through a field and under that little stone bridge, except it isn't because it's dry, as usual. But nice to know it's downhill all the way to our house from here.

I'd forgotten how many beautiful towns there are north of Bath - how come I never visited them before? Cirencester, Bourton-on-the-Water (above, packed out with families and kids paddling in the Water) and Moreton in the Marsh are all delightful places.

In Leamington Spa tonight, in a £19 bargain Travelodge room that's just ace. A big double all to myself in a grand Regency building overlooking the main street, and all the action. Mind you, in Leamington on a Sunday night, that's evidently not very much.

Miles today: 80
Miles so far: 154

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