- Temperature 6° overcast + foggy
- Icknield Way between Britwell Salome and Aston Rowant closed to vehicular traffic until summer 2005, but the old road cuts North West from Aston Rowant and continues to Chinnor where it becomes the B4009
- Spent hours on the boggy section South of the B4445
- Three lovely deep fords. First just a straightforward wet dip, the second small, but very technical with a bend and a difficult climb out of the sandy bed (almost visited neighbouring field but got the gas off in time and avoided large block of concrete farmer had placed at exit) and the third a bloody massive pool. I couldn't walk this third one as water was getting in my boots. In the end I leaned off the footbridge and shoved a stick in the water. Deep but definitely doable:-)
- GS in muddy bog to the axles (sump-guard skiing?) negotiating tractor tracks. Almost binned it several times but stayed upright all day. Quite a bit of embarrassing paddling in the deep mud, but by the end of the day I was gliding the beast around in the slick standing on the pegs. After the final gate couldn't resist whacking the gas full-on and got lots of lovely mud everywhere.
- I was worried about the front fender filling up (mud gets wedged between the GS's low fender which locks the front wheel) but in the end the mud sort of leveled off and it never got too bad.
On the way back, spotted other byway with this old guy Steve lighting the oil lamps on a tiny level-crossing in the middle of nowhere. Turns out he works on a steam train. Two miles down the track I get to open the next level crossing gates and wave a gorgeous old loco past (The Santa Express I think it was called).
So three fords, four spotted byways and a steam train–huge grin the whole way back to London :-)