Saturday 26th August
Abingdon 0733 1003 35 35A 0802 1032 Oxford SA 0812 1015 1038 280 108 280 0831 1049 1101 Wheatley CH <=> Wheatley CH 0832 1106 280 108 0851 Thame TH 0924 14 1011 1122 Beckley OR drive to Thame (20M; 30min) Thame TH 0924 14 1011 Beckley PH OR drive to Wheatley (13M; 18min) Wheatley various 0802 0832 1106 108 above 108 0821 1011 1122 Beckley PH
Tiddington PH 1613 1643 1718 1753 1823 280 280 280 280 280 1643 1713 1748 1821 1851 Oxford QL Oxford SA 1700 1730 1800 1830 1900 35 35A 35 35 35 1728 1758 1826 1858 1923 Abingdon OR Tiddington PH 1611 1641 1711 280 280 280 1621 1651 1721 Thame TH drive from Thame OR Tiddington PH 1613 1643 1718 1753 280 280 280 280 1622 1652 1727 1802 Wheatley CH drive from Wheatley
Today's route (with distances in miles):
Today's walk starts in Beckley. Beckley is possibly the closest that the Oxfordshire Way gets to Oxford, and yet is a difficult place to get from/to.
I was waiting for my alarm to go off this morning but I forgot it was the weekend (when it doesn't go off) and so I get up at 0815, two hours late. I was planning to leave here at 0830 and drive to Thame for a bus back to Beckley to arrive there at 1014. So now it's Plan B: leave here at 1030 and drive to Wheatley and then get the 1106 to Beckley and so start walking at 1130. That's two hours later than normal. It's 10 miles today. So it'll probably be the 1718 bus from Tiddington back to Wheatley.
Well, even Plan B didn't work. I drove to Wheatley Church and arrived at about 1045, well in time for the 1106 bus of service number 108 which is supplied by White's Coaches. But it didn't turn up. And there was no timetable for the 108 at the bus stop. In fact no sign what so ever that service 108 visits Wheatley.
I needed a new plan! I thought about driving to the start of the walk and sorted out how to get back there later, but I rejected that plan as I thought it best to get the trouble out of the way now.
Instead, Plan C was to ring for a taxi. As it was about 1120, the pub near to Wheatley Church wasn't open and so I couldn't ask them for a taxi. And I'd already walked around in vain seeing if I could see a taxi firm. I knew there was an Asda at the outskirts of Wheatley and so I drove out there looking for a taxi firm and guessing people use taxis to get their shopping home. I discovered a Travelodge next to Asda. I rang the bell at Reception, but no-one came. So I went to Customer Services at Asda and they rang for a taxi for me. It arrived at 1205, and it dropped me outside the Abingdon Arms in Beckley at about 1225. The fare was £13.50!
I started walking at about 1230. The clouds are black and look threatening.
To the North of the route out of Beckley, there is the Ot Moor (as shown in the first photo). (Use the link above to look at today's photos.) According to the book, Otmoor means Otta's fen. The book describes the area as a lonely, wild place, a haven for birds and plants. And, although part of the area is a Nature Reserve, other parts are marked on the OS map as Danger Area and there is a Rifle Range (see photo).
En-route to the first village, Horton-cum-Studley, I suddenly realised that I'd previously walked most of the route between Beckley and Horton-cum-Studley. This was the day last year when I watching the Otmoor Half Marathon.
After nearly visiting Horton-cum-Studley, the route continues SE and the first village to walk through is Waterperry and then it's Tiddington.
But it's about 7.5M from Beckley to Waterperry. So there's no pub en-route for lunch. Instead, I have lunch just after Drunkard's Corner which is just about half way. It's 1445 and I'm starving. Today's lunch is Chicken Caesar's Salad, a Fruit Salad and an Orange Juice.
Not long after lunch, I meet another walker. This is the first walker I've met during the last 4 and a half days. We chat for 5 minutes or so. He's doing a circular 16K walk starting from his home in Ickford which is not far from Waterperry.
Soon after, I cross the M40 (see photo) and there's another long section of tarmac (see photo).
The clouds still look ominous (see photo), but it doesn't rain until after I get home.
I then cross the River Thame (see two photos).
Today's walk ends in Tiddington. Not far from Tiddington, there is a golf course (see photo). Often there is little waymarking on golf courses, and so they are a nightmare to cross. Today it wasn't too bad.
At the end of the walk in Tiddington, there is a pub called The Fox (see photo). According to the web, it's closed between 3pm and 6pm. I arrive at 1710, which was too early for the pub, but which was just in time for the 1718 hrs bus back from Tiddington to my car (which was parked near to the Asda in Wheatley).
When I was walking through Waterperry I came across a bus stop that has a timetable for the 108 but it's from 2003! However, later in the day (I forget where) I discover another timetable for the 108. The 108's timetable has been totally revised because of the road works at the Barton/Headington roundabout. A quick glance, and there are very few buses serving Beckley. As well as today's 1106 bus from Wheatley not existing, I wouldn't have been able to catch the 1834 back from Beckley last night because it also currently does not exist! Good job I tried hitching last night.