The Great British Summer is finally here, so surely it is time to push the boat out with a picnic, wholesome fun in the park and outdoor swimming!
We will also enjoy a hearty stroll along a delightful and historic stretch of England's longest river. We will start by taking in the "city of dreaming spires" and admiring the buildings of the oldest university in the English speaking world. We will aim to get onto the Thames path at an early enough hour to avoid the worst of the tourist crush and briskly proceed to our late picnic lunch stop at around 14:30. En route we will stop for toilets and drinks only at a riverside pub, have an opportunity for a quick "wild swim" and reflect on the power of the "Sandford Lasher", the highest weir & lock on the river and the scene of many tragic drownings.
Our picnic destination is a riverside park close to Abingdon town centre, where the energetic can enjoy park games, or swim in the unusually shaped, but heated outdoor pool (£4 extra admission). In the unlikely event of a hailstorm, we will divert to a pub for lunch.
This walk is relatively long, but there are no significant hills and the paths are well surfaced.
As usual, our hike is train assisted to and from London. Our train departs from London Paddington, platform 10, at 09:21 and is due to arrive in Oxford at 10:19. The cost, including the return train tickets (travelling as a group), is £15. The organisers will purchase the tickets for the group - please pay them in cash on the train. I am aiming to end the hike at Appleford station in time to catch the 18:17 train, arriving back in London at 19:14. Due to the irregular train timetable, any post hike socialising will be back in London.
If, like me, you need a coffee to join the land of the living at this time of the morning, getting a free Bite card gets you 20% off at many station outlets: https://www.bitecard.co.uk/Home
Extra things to bring this time:
- Picnic blanket, food and drinks - sharing is encouraged!
- Park game, such as a frisbee
- Swimming gear - pool shoes are recommended for anyone up for a river dip
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