Today’s ride had kind of a scary profile in that it looked like there was huge climb in the middle. Unless you happen to be the owner of a Garmin 1000 you cannot get the total climb until the end of the ride so as I only have a Garmin 800 it looked like a scary climb.
Jos had laid out a quick exit from Bath down a canal tow path. However before we got to it we had to take a couple of other roads and as I was in the back I took what my Garmin said was the right route. As it turned out there were two parallel routes and Jos and Patrick took the easy one and I took the one with all the stairs. They stopped and waited then turned around and came back in the mean time I passed them on the other route and was headed down the canal path. We traded texts and I stopped and waited. The canal path started paved and turned to crushed stone and by time we a few miles out it was pretty rough going. It was kind of scary as we were bouncing down the path which had gotten narrower and narrower. I was afraid that one wrong bounce and I would wind up in the canal. While they are only 4-5 feet deep I didn’t fancy doing for a dip in what looked like really green muddy water.
The big hill turned out to be a series of 29 locks which carried the canal boats up a hill. So it turned out to be a not a big deal but kind of fun watching the locks in action.
Today was a big touring day as well as we stopped to visit Stonehenge. One of the tour highlights. Jos had booked tickets for us on our National Heritage memberships so we walked past a huge line up and got on the bus from the visitor center out to Stonehenge. It was quite impressive to see this monument which was constructed 5000 years ago. Well that isn’t quite true. The circle was constructed in 3000 bc and then was add to over the next 1300 years. The big stones which we associate with Stonehenge we actually add in 1700 BC. Still very impressive. You would wonder how people in the late Stone Age period could transport stones weighing 40 tons 240 kms and then set them up and align them with the summer and winter solstice. Alien intervention not withstanding. I guess it was the same as it is now; “If I can get you to work like a slave for me for free so that I can wear the big hat. Great”
A little further down the road is Avebury. It is a much larger Neolithic site. It started as a circle back in 5000 BC as a 30 ft (9 M) deep trench with a diameter of 10,000 ft (3 kms). All of the earth and chalk was piled to the outside to form a huge berm around the outside. Then over the next 3000 years thousands of standing stones were added to the inner rings. These stone range from small (a few feet high) to very large. The stones at Avebury are all the local Sarin Sandstone. Stonehenge is constructed of the local Sarin Sandstone for the outer ring but the inner ring is constructed with the large granite stones which were hauled in The surrounding landscape is surrounded by burial mounds most of which have not been not be excavated but are quite large. Unlike Stonehenge you can walk right up to the stones and touch them. At Stonehenge you are not allowed to get within 200 feet of the stones, although today there was some sort Druid ceremony going on in the circle and it was filled with worshipers. Apparently if you are a Druid you can get special permission to have a ceremony in the inner circle.
Tonight we are in “The Old Forge B&B”which is a cozy spot in East Kennett. It is a long way into town so Agnes and I were hungry jumped in the van a drove into Marlborough which is an interesting town as it has a very wide main street which serves a market square.