Having travelled a long way for an organised 3 night walking trip at New Year, it seemed like I had to put my boots on at least once during the rain soaked trip. While I was with another two viewing the sights of Oxford on the previous day, the rest of the party were out on full day walks ... testing their equipment out. As one seasoned attender said "It's not bad weather, it's just bad clothing" ! With that thought in mind, it was interesting listening to the stories of the warriors who returned after their exploits in the mud.
On day two, it was evident that more than two thirds of the group wanted to abandon the stalwarts in favour of something more practical. The weather forecast for the morning was abysmal becoming drier in the afternoon. My driver friend for the trip was becoming increasingly frustrated as he was getting withdrawal symptoms without his boots. He discovered a laminated short walk card next to the boot room in the centre where we were staying.
The basic plan for the day seemed less achievable due to the amount of cars and number of agreed locations to visit. It sounds simple to say we'll visit a Rohan walking shop in Bampton, go for a cup of tea in Burford and do a 4 and 1/2 mile walk in Lechlade. It somehow worked out ok, but not without the stress of the details.
|Isobel Crawley's House|
Next stop Burford and the rain hadn't stopped yet. Burford, at the eastern end of the Cotswolds otherwise known as the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, has essentially one main street built on a hill going down to a small traffic light controlled bridge across the River Windrush. As a result, it is unfortunate from my previous experiences here in high summer that traffic queues going downhill are a problem. The top end of the street is more residential with the lower end attracting tourists to the quaint shops.
|A town of wool history, 14th - 17th century ... and 21st century|
|The aptly named Mermaid pub !|
There was a spare 30 minutes available before we all met back at the car park for the next instalment of the day. Some chose to stay next to the fire in the pub, others went shopping and you know what I did !
This way to the car park, the afternoon walk and ........ the drier weather !
Once everyone had found somewhere to park in Lechlade on Thames, we "congregated" outside the church ready for the walk. The distance of between 3 and 5 miles was achievable in an afternoon.
Essentially the route was through the churchyard and in an easterly direction along a less a bridle path eventually crossing a road bridge over the River Thames and returning westwards on the southern side.
As it was winter time, the sun was getting low providing some wonderful lighting and textures.
If the weather had decided not to be kind to us, we would have finished the walk here by crossing the bridge back into Lechlade but we pressed on for what was the best part of the day.
We continued westwards along the southern side of the Thames until we reached a footbridge just before a mill. I spent a bit of time albeit rushed trying to photograph the mill as the sun was going down but in the end couldn't decide which one if any to put in the post as there are plusses and minuses ... I gave up and published them both ...
The walk back into town was along a hedge lined lane with breaks revealing the extent of flooding in the nearby fields. I should point out that there was another month of rain before things got really bad.
We eventually arrived back to Lechlade without the assistance of items to be dug out of the mud and a speedy return with tired legs.
The afternoon conversation with members of the walking party was pleasant enough ...
..... but thankfully someone had a whole afternoon of having nothing to say ..... !!