Our overnight stay with Margot was at a thatched cottage in Manningford Abbots. She had recommended that we had supper at a pub, The Seven Stars, about two miles away, happily this was slightly uphill, so down hill to get back. The meal was excellent and the ride back really quite exhilarating; cycling on smooth country roads in the dark with just our front lights to show us the way.
After a reasonable night's sleep, we were met by a great breakfast with many of the ingredients homemade or local.
The forecast for the day was not perfect, with a 20% chance of rain, so it was with a certain amount of concern that we set off. Our route was mostly along quite roads, rather than the tow paths we had been on. But these were good surfaces and although there were quite a few hills, there was nothing too strenuous. Best of all the rain never came.
We stopped off at Crofton Beam Engines for a cup of tea and cake, and then a tour of the engines to see how they used to pump water around the canal; indeed, on some weekends they still do.
The on for a light lunch and our night stop. The final bit of the rout to Newbury was back on tow paths, but after the smooth surface of the roads we were not sure which was better, a flat but very bumpy ride, or a good surface over hills. I opted for the latter, but I think I was in the minority.
Our overnight stay was at The Elephant at The Market in Newbury. It is a newly refurbished venue and although it is well appointed, it is a little expensive for what it offers.