MONDAY 6TH MAY FARINGDON TO SHENNINGTON
Up with the larks it had rained during the night, we thought we were the only guests so were all chatting in various states of undress with the room doors open when an American couple walked by. We chatted at breakfast and found they were from Kentucky. I told my old Kentucky jokes about turning the clock back 20 years on the state line.
We talked about touring England etc, they were off to the Bath area.
After a pleasant breakfast we loaded up, purchased drinks and trinkets at the Tourist Information shop and got on our way.
We cycled towards Lechlade on the main road and plugged into the Oxford Cycle Way again as we crossed the Thames. We just touched Gloucestershire too.
We turned north and cycled into the wind through pleasant quiet villages, passed RAF Brize Norton, Graeme recounted his Parachute course days he was there 6 weeks. We cycled on undulating countryside down to a pretty Cotswold village called Shilton with a pretty duck pond and pleasant Pub The Rose and Crown apart from the Landlord being a Man Utd supporter. He was also a pretty pessimistic bloke telling us stories of how many hills were ahead. No problem to multi day men We were into the hills straight after we left his village.
We climbed up and into the Wychwood Valley very very pretty, passed some really upmarket properties. The Old Swan Pub an ancient 15 th century pub which to coin a phrase of Janes "too pretty for its own good". We also hit the climbs, long gentle climbs that sapped you. We climbed and then dropped into the the Wychwoods. We cycled through a valley to a place called Bruen Abbey, we stopped for drink and chewy bar next to Lyneham Golf club watched the golfers and also encouraged some walkers to walk across the footpath which went straight across the Golf Course which was crowded on a Bank Holiday Monday. We turned left to the village of Kingham where we found a shop open and enjoyed sandwiches and drinks. As we were stood outside the shop a lady pulled up in a brand new Audi Estate marched into the shop and left the keys in the ignition. Amazing how people can be so lax with all the modern safety and security systems fitted to vehicles. As we turned towards Kingham we saw signposts Chipping Norton 4 miles and for the next 20 miles we saw every junction showing signposts Chipping Norton 4 miles.?
Lucky we had sandwiches and drinks at Kingham because shortly after we had to climb Kingham Hill past the school. It was a fair old climb.
And then we climbed again up to the Stow - Oxford road, where we turned towards Shennington. We were on the tops now and undulating country.
We rode past the Rollright Stones a £1 entry to see some stone circle ridiculous. When every stone circle I know is free to visit. I wouldn’t care they were on the roadside and you could see them through the hedge?
We dropped off the tops and to Hook Norton and the Hook Norton Brewery we rode up to the visitor centre right on 5 pm it was just closing but the chap was very helpful, he invited us in told us about the Brewery gave us free gifts and a free half of beer, told us about The Bull at Shennington where we were staying that night.
He said it was around 6 miles but it was a long long 6 miles, with a hell of a climb at a village called Sibston Gower, past a pub called the Moody Cow (named after the landlady perhaps?). Eventually we dropped down to Shennington and The BULL . It was a good pub the digs were rustic but comfortable, the food was excellent and the Beer Hookey Best bittier was very very good. Colin even tried Guinness that night in preparation for his Irish Trip. He struggled to drink it.
Tony the landlord and his wife grew on you. While we were at the pub we watched two older ladies drink a full bottle of red wine and then jump in a Corsa and drive home, very slowly.
A good night.
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