The intrepid group set off from Bourton on the Water one grey day in February with rather grey skies and a 3 day trek ahead. We planned to do the majority of the route, leaving the final bit to Henley on Thames for another day.
Jock, the spaniel, was unaware what was in store and rushed around as if it was an hour’s walk when in fact due to the mud the first day took 8.5 hours!
Bourton on the Water is very different to the Chilterns
Impossible to keep dry
Walking was the order of the day with no cheating
There were a few of these
There were some nice bits even on the first day
Just to prove it is not always like this
We found the route easily with very good directions provided by Oxfordshire County Council and were kept motivated by the ‘interesting facts’ provided. It was not all mud and the first day there were some lovely bits and thankfully mostly rain free but it was a pretty tired and bedraggled group that tripped in to Charlbury in the dusk. The last 2 fields we encountered first some very excitable horses and then some happily sleepy and docile cattle so we were very pleased to see the car and get home to a hot bath.
The path leads you up and over the wall surrounding Blenheim estate
Coming through the door on to the Woodstock Road
We encountered numerous footbridges on the route
No extra miles
I forgot my poles
Day 2 was really good starting from Charlbury we were soon walking through Stonesfield and down to the ford and ‘bathing pool’ which was lovely but not tempting for a swim! There was no mud to speak of and the day continued with dry weather and fast walking, taking us through the grounds of Blenheim Palace and other lovely places. There was a nasty moment when the hotel was found to be shut but a little exploration and we found a very friendly shop who made us sandwiches and looked after us for a short while. Day 2 took 2.5 hours less to do the same distance due to the conditions – a little rain as we arrived at Islip confirmed the decision to call it a day and not carry on to Noke until the morning.
Pleased to arrive at the Swan at Tetsworth
Day 3 – the final stretch until the spring
The last day as a mixture and the feet were getting tired and in some cases blisters and pain were creeping in. We went through some lovely places – Noke a very pretty village and round Ottmoor which was a very long detour around a marsh. There was a fallow deer which had been adopted by some cattle – a rather unusual sight.
We trundled across golf courses, encountered more horses, visited Waterperry gardens where a nice lady saved the day by producing some pain killers and ended up tired but elated at the Swan at Tetsworth.
The crisis had been that I had forgotten my poles so I can now say from the heart that poles really do help!!!!