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Sunday, 11 July 2010

A Rude Awakening!

We are now the proud owners of 2 lightweight tents. Just a note to say we have had fantastic support and service from the Camping Equipment Retailers, Oswald Bailey, and in particular, their staff at Bromsgrove. They close at 5.30pm , we were still there pouring cups of water over our prospective tent way beyond 6.00pm - many, many thanks to them!

The acquisition of our Coleman Avior X3 meant that Philip and Nic had no excuse - get out there and pitch that tent and sleep on that skinny roll mat. Jake can sleep anywhere -
what a useful attribute that is.

We drew the line at cooking outside (secret: We can't work out how to organise our stove and cookware - it's a solid fuel stove and we are being very dim). Suffice to say if we don't crack it
soon, Philip is likely to build a big fire and melt it down for scrap.

Friday night was survived - actually quite a balmy night, even Nic who wears jumpers at the slightest provocation managed to sleep in her ultralight, Snugpak sleeping bag. It's a rather groovy cherry red, not necessarily the most important attribute to a piece of camping equipment but it's a girl thing!

Well breakfasted (in the house) we packed our panniers, Jake's were pretty much up to weight and there were just a few items of clothing and the bike spares missing from the rest of the team. We decided not to overface ourselves and headed out round Bredon Hill for the 17 mile jaunt. They make a difference, whilst not unduly concerned by the hills, Jake certainly found it a challenge and he travelled 2 or more gears easier up the hills.

We then transferred our kit to another garden and set up camp again. We needed to be near the TV to watch Armstrong, Wiggins & Contador tackle the first big hill. Nic also took the opportunity to set up a new 'App' for her mobile phone - get her! They were going to try out the Endomondo sports tracking system.

A good sleep and early rise augured well with a ETD set at 9.00am. "Hmmm, Jake where are your cleats?" 2 hours later after a mercy dash across the countryside we set off in an attempt to have a day's cycling that would feel something like Cornwall. Just a couple of panniers with provisions, repair kit and long-sleeved jerseys (x3), we needed to experience success and not be disheartened by the need to walk everywhere. Where better than the Cotswolds?

Bourton on the Water is on the Windrush River, it is also in the Cotswolds - leave Bourton and resign yourself to a climb, however you choose to leave. Having previously headed out from Lower Swell heading either East or West, we thought we should try out Southerly routes. It was a glorious day, breezy and sunny. Wheat, barley and oat crops are turning yellow, there is an abundance of wild flowers everywhere although grassland is already looking parched.

The roads we pedalled down were quiet and took us through delightful Cotswold villages, Farmington, Northleach, Coln St. Dennis, Compton Abdale, Hazleton, Turkdean, Notgrove and Cold
Aston. Some of this route was National Cycle Network 48. There were hills, in fact, over 1100 feet of climbing in our 37 miles - a good comparison for our early Cornwall days. Some of the hills were tricky, like the climb leading from Chedworth towards Compton Abdale

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