The forecast was not good, and on this occasion it was reasonably accurate. It didn't rain all day, but we did have several showers, and some longer spells of drizzle, that ensured that the conditions underfoot were best described as challenging, and at times a quagmire.
We met in the market place in Moreton-in-Marsh and the 7 of us in attendance headed off in to the mist for what was to be a recee for one of our proposed AOG walks for next summer. Some of those in attendance had driven for nearly an hour to attend, so we were very appreciative that they had made the effort, and not surprisingly Bill had arrived a day early just to ensure his place as first in the queue to greet our walk leader today, the lovely Andrew.
Our coffee stop this morning was in the quintessential Cotswold village of Longborough, where we stopped to admire a contemporary new build home, which one of our members had been involved with the surveying for the architects. Although not all agreed that it fitted in with the more traditional buildings in the village, I think we all agreed that it was quite an impressive structure. Some of our members were intrigued by the church with its less than vertical walls, but we didn't hang around too long as the rain water was running down the village street.
Onwards, along bridleways and across muddy fields, we headed towards Bourton-on-the-Hill where we eagerly anticipated our lunch stop. On the way we passed local landmark, Sezincote House, with its Indian inspired dome, although the pictures in the drizzle didn't quite do it justice. We arrived in Bourton to sit in the village hall carpark to eat our soggy sandwiches, and who should come to the rescue, but our very own local hero, founding member of the South Midlands GOC group, and its Group Co-Ordinator for many years, Alan Lamb, who invited us to shelter in his barn. He even provided seating and then reappeared with a pot of tea to keep spirits high.
After lunch we made a short detour to admire a very impressive house in the village, which had just sold for c£8m, sadly this was not Alan's home, but whoever lives there, they didn't rush out with another pot of tea, so we didn't linger for long. Back across more muddy fields and we arrived back in Moreton, tired, wet and certainly muddy, but everybody was cheerful and agreed that they had all enjoyed the day out, despite the conditions. Maybe it was Eric's Christmas hat that had kept a smile on all of our faces!
Although the weather conditions may not have been great, it was clear that we had passed through some very beautiful countryside and interesting villages, and this would make an excellent walk to repeat for the AOG, when hopefully it won't be quite so wet. Thank you Andrew for all your efforts preparing and leading the walk today.