Take a holiday in the Cotswolds

Time for yet another holiday with hf holidays, but in the Cotswolds this time.  The hotel is based at Bourton-on-the-Water, which is quite an easy drive for me.  I even broke it up by stopping for lunch with my niece and family, so I did have a bit of time to play with my great-niece and nephew.  That is always fun!

Having reached Bourton-on-the-Water I did have some problems actually finding the hotel, taking at least 2 wrong turnings.  Discussions when I got there proved that I was not the only one!  It is near the centre of the village, but set back a bit from the road, so the sign is not clear until one is actually opposite it.  There were also so many people wandering round the village that it was hard to see anything – and to not run some over!

The room I was allocated was in an annex – Jubilee Cottage – which we were later told was originally the brewery for the big house!  My room was quite odd, with……

.......quite low beams over the bed.......
…….quite low beams over the bed…….
....and in the bathroom.....
….and in the bathroom…..

…..so one had to be a little careful when getting up in a hurry or when stretching.  Even more odd was that the floor was on a slope….

The doors are horizontal but the floor isn't!
The doors are horizontal but the floor isn’t!

This was mostly fine during the day but gave an odd sensation when getting up in the dark at night.  It also meant that the bed…..

.....the bed had wheels at one side but not the other so that it was horizontal and one didn't fall out!
….. had wheels at one side but not the other……

…….so that it was horizontal and one didn’t fall out of bed!

There was afternoon tea on the first afternoon, so one could get to know a few people.  Most of those I met seemed to be walking the Cotswold Way rather than doing Guided Walking, like me.  That would have meant walking about 12 miles each day and I know I am not up to that.  We had  a guided walk round the town soon after the tea – quite interesting, but cut a little short as it started to pour with rain and none of us had thought to bring umbrellas or macs so we got fairly wet in getting back to the hotel.   Then dinner and afterwards quizzes for those who wanted to join in.

The next day,  Sunday, after a cooked breakfast and picking up our packed lunches – lots of choice – we met in the Boot Room, at the appropriate time for our walk.  I had decided on the medium walk of about 7 miles.  It poured with rain all morning and my lower half was soaked to the skin within an hour.  My boots proved to be not very waterproof, but then I had suspected that.  We did a circular walk starting and finishing at the hotel and going through the villages of Clapton-on-the-Hill and Little Rissington.  The rain did stop and the sun came out at about the time we had lunch, which was a relief and gave us a chance to dry out a bit.  We came back via lakes formed in old quarries, but we could hardly see them as they were fenced off.  We got back very early – much earlier than would normally be expected – because we had not stopped much in the morning as the rain obscured views and made waiting anywhere somewhat unpleasant.  I found I could squeeze water out of my socks with ease……  The heating and fans were on full in the boot/drying room that evening, and much newspaper was used in pairs of boots!

After dinner that evening we had a quiz about numbers – basically choosing a number that seemed appropriate for various things like the length of the Fosse Way, the cost of some shopping, the population of the Cotswolds……  My team did very badly – we were bottom by a long way!

On the Monday we all got the coach at about 9.30 and the various walks were dropped off at different times.  I did the easy walk this time – again about 7 miles.  We were dropped off in the village of Ilmington and I think it was there that we went into the church and searched for the carved mice.  Even after finding the list of where they were, I think we only found 6 of the 11 (or so).  We then walked on and up hill and gained some good views.

Typical Cotswold view.
Typical Cotswold view.

We passed Foxcote House – no-one seems to be able to name the owner who comes for a few days a year for the partridge shooting.  Nice house; gardeners working hard.  We also passed this parish boundary stone.

Boundary stone
Boundary stone

The end of the walk was in Chipping Campden, where we arrived before any heavy showers.  As we were quite early, we had plenty of time to look round……

.......at the typical Cotswold stone houses.....
…….at the typical Cotswold stone houses…..
......and the old market hall.
……and the old market hall.

I was close to this when it started to rain very heavily, so I sheltered inside, along with quite a lot of other people.

Looking inside
Looking inside

When it seemed to let up a bit I made a dash for the bank, but just as I came out again the rain came down even more heavily so I got soaked in getting to the tea shop.  They didn’t seem to mind too much and the rest of the easy walkers mostly seemed to be there.

Having dried out a bit I went on a postcard hunt…….. before getting the coach back to the hotel at about 5.0 pm.  After dinner in the evening we had a talk with slides, about the Cotswolds.  The speaker had some interesting anecdotes, but went on a bit too long.  He could have done with some editing!

The third day of walking, I again chose the easy walk.  It was supposed to be seven miles again, but I suspect it was a bit less.  We started in the village of Little Barrington and walked to the village of  Westwell, looking inside the churches in both places.  We noted some of the tombs we had been told about the previous evening, where the…….

......round part on top of the tomb.......
……round part on top of the tomb…….

……is supposed to represent a roll of wool and indicates the tomb of a wool “baron”.  We walked on to the village of Holwell, but instead of looking in the church had a look at the war memorial.  It apparently contains the number one taken form the clock at, I think, Ypres.

War memorial containing the number 1.
War memorial containing the number 1.

We continued walking, through a hamlet whose name I can’t remember – Stirrup, maybe?  There continued to be views and typical Cotswold stone buildings and the dry stone walls typical of the area.

Typical dry stone wall.
Typical dry stone wall.

Lunch was sitting on a hay bale in a barn, in case it rained.  Naturally it didn’t then – but started as soon as we left.  None of the rain was very heavy, so we got damp rather than wet.  We finished in the town of Burford and had plenty of time for me to have an ice-cream, look at the old buildings……

....(don't you love the wobbly roofs?)......
….(don’t you love the wobbly roofs?)……
......and the packhorse bridge......
……and the packhorse bridge……

……shelter from the rain in an art gallery, where I loved some of the pots, but they were not practical to bring home, and still have time for a cup of tea, before getting the coach at 5.0 pm.

After dinner that evening there was a music quiz, which I backed out of – my knowledge of music for quizzes is about zero, as I have found in the past.  I went and read my book instead.

The next morning was breakfast, packing and then driving home – which took almost exactly 2 hours.

So was it a good holiday? Well, I can’t say it was brilliant.  Getting soaked 3 times in three and a half days didn’t help!  I also found the countryside and the walks a bit “samey” and so a little boring.  The large family of Americans, who really only wanted to talk to each other and who weren’t really interested in the churches or history or the flora and fauna didn’t help, either.  The food was excellent, though – I didn’t have a single poor dish.  It might explain how I put on 1 kg in the 3 days!




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