Moggerhanger to MK

The 15th century Moot Hall, originally built to serve Elstow Abbey as a market house.

After breakfast we checked if there was anything to see around Bedford since we hadn’t far to ride. A small detour took us to Elstow, birthplace of John Bunyan. His house isn’t mentioned so presumably it no longer exists but the Abbey and Moot Hall were worth the extra couple of miles as was the village itself with its half timbered houses.

A moot hall is a meeting or assembly building where local issues were decided. In Anglo-Saxon England, a low ring-shaped earthwork served as a moot hill where the elders of the hundred would meet to take decisions. Some of these acquired permanent buildings, known as moot halls.

Elstow Abbey was founded by Countess Judith, a niece of William the Conqueror, the daughter of his half-sister Adelaide. She was married to Waltheof, Earl of Huntingdon, a powerful Anglo-Saxon nobleman from whom William wished support to legitimise his reign. Waltheof rebelled against his new master twice, in 1069 and 1074, being executed for the latter offence.

We picnicked by the river in Bedford again, then continued retracing our way back to Milton Keynes, arriving soon after four. The lift was still out of service but ground floor rooms were available so we didn’t have to carry our bikes up the stairs this time. I asked for a room facing the car park, thinking it would be quieter but the receptionist told me the local car freaks often drive there and rev up their engines, up to a hundred at a time so we took the road side again. MK seems to have a problem with petrol heads. The network of cycle paths is good but the straight wide roads and vast car parks can only encourage driving.

Recently granted city status, Milton Keynes was conceived in the 1960s and subsumed several villages and small towns. A friend moved to the Simpson district in the seventies to work for the new Open University and we visited him there. What is now the centre hadn’t been built and neither had its railway station. Sadly, we long ago lost touch with him.

Las Iguanas was busy so we ate at the Green Olive again.

“Out of Office” was closed for the bank holiday but the nearby Upper Regency Cafe & Bistro opened at 07:30 and did us an excellent breakfast. While there, I checked realtimetrains only to find our 09:41 train back to Bangor had been cancelled because of staff shortage. There’s another at 10:41 then no direct trains until late afternoon so we were very relieved to find the bike space empty, arriving home only an hour later than expected. Unsurprisingly the train was very busy after the earlier cancellation but many of the passengers alighted at Chester.

47.8 km (30 miles), 298 m of ascent to MK