After a decent interval, all bar 3 (Alan, Bob and Norman) set off for Bourne End, following the Thames with the road still flat but heading into a fairly stiff N. Westerly wind. The route was via Old Windsor, Windsor footbridge, Eton College, Eton Wick, Dorney, Taplow, Cliveden, then down Hedsor Hill into Bourne End – the end of the line (except for a branch line to Marlow). A lane before the station led to the railway bridge, when some portage was necessary to get onto the footway by the single track line to cross the river. A final push along the ‘no cycling’ towpath took us to the Bounty.
Though open only at weekends and inaccessible by car, the Bounty was heaving with, I believe, a 2 hour wait for food. This time, there was a smile of contentment for the sandwich eaters. After a drink, a chat and rest in the sunshine beside the river it was time to return. The plan was now to head for Staines to the N. and E. of Slough, rather than back via the flatter and more urban outward route. Brief recourse to the Ordnance Survey guided us out of town up Harvest Hill. Then the reins were passed to Graham to take us to the North of Burnham Beeches through some lovely lanes and tracks across Woodburn Common to Hedgerley. One minor spill by Steve on the loose surface was happily without damage to man or machine.
Here, all were invited in for tea and cake by Irene. Most said ‘yes’ to tea and homebaked fig and walnut cake. With the sun now lower in the sky and some distance still to cover, the party gave thanks to Irene and mounted up for a wind-assisted canter back. At Esher, the final group split up to wend their ways to hearth and home.
This had been a fairly long day, with 6½ hours in the saddle and a distance of 85½ miles travelled to reach home at 6.20pm.