This was a joint venture between the G&H R and the Chinnor & District U3A. It developed from an idea put forward two years ago. Last year we were the hosts, this year they were.
The trip involved much organisation. Members of both groups started planning last year. Their hard work paid off and the event was a huge success. All went smoothly; there were no casualties, no one was left behind and the weather, remarkably, was good. We packed rain gear when sun screen would have been better. Those concerned with missing three episodes of The Archers survived (as did Rob; Helen remained in custody).
We had a group booking for 48 for two nights at the Shillingford Bridge Hotel and hired a coach from Safeguard, a local company we’ve used before. The driver arrived with a four-day old coach so we took care not to leave mud in it.
The Chinnor group arranged the programme for the three days. There were two different walks each day and, for those preferring to sightsee, outings to nearby NT properties and, on the Wednesday, two tours of Oxford. Brief accounts of the longer walks are on the G&HR blog.
Tuesday 12 April
We reached our hotel shortly after 9.30 am and tucked in to pastries and coffee (ordered in advance).
There was an eight mile circular walk from the hotel to Wittenham Clumps and Dorchester, and a six mile circular walk to Britwell cum Sotwell and Wallingford. The sightseers went to Grey’s Court, Rotherfield Greys, Henley-on-Thames. All arrived back at the hotel by 3 pm in time for a cream tea before supper at 7 pm. We probably consumed more calories than we used.
Wednesday 13 April
After a hearty breakfast we set off in the coach to Redbridge P&R on the outskirts of Oxford. Here those on the eight mile walk got off and headed for the Thames while the rest continued to Oxford and disembarked in the centre. There were two tours of the city in the morning led by members of the Chinnor group, and a 4½ mile walk in the afternoon from the railway station along the Thames Path to Iffley lock and then on to Redbridge P&R. Here the coach took the walkers back to Oxford to collect the rest and return to the hotel.
The Chinnor group provided exercise for our brains as well as for our bodies. They organised a quiz after supper in the hotel. All participated enthusiastically.
Thursday 14 April
We checked out of the hotel after another large breakfast. The coach stopped first at Stokenchurch (Buckinghamshire) to deposit those on the eight mile circular walk, and then went on to Hughenden Manor. Some stayed here; the rest went on a four mile circular walk. In the afternoon the coach went from HM to Stokenchurch to collect the others and then drove to Henley-on-Thames. Here we all got off and wandered around the town until it was time to head for Wetherspoons for a meal booked at 6.15 pm. By the time we set off for home, traffic had subsided, there were no delays on the roads and we had a comfortable journey back.