Merlin and the Philosophers Stone Cold Beverages.
Stage 1 August 22nd 2009 The Winchcombe Table Tennis Club walk of the Donnington Way.
The six troops gathered at Stow’s Tesco car park armed with rucksacks, beer tokens and three first aid kits, ready for an assault on the first eight miles of the Donnington Ale (Pimms) Trail.
Merlin Ferguson team leader, issued each member with OS maps and a precise time schedule, however first things first. Head straight to the Queens Head. Arrival 11:00 hours, starting point of today’s hike and opening beer.
A first for me and probably some of the other hikers, I’ve never had to wait for a pub to open and secondly I don’t think I’ve ever had a beer before midday. Oh the influences of Merlin and the merry Wizards! With our schedule based on half an hour to polish off a pint, it wasn’t long before we were off on our merry little Donnington Way.
Next fuel stop a 2.75 mile walk in glorious sunshine to the Coach & Horses Inn at Longborough, with a Jam purchasing pit stop on the way for Mrs Merlin. A £2 bargain I suspect ! Little did we know the Longborough villagers were holding a fete, having no effect on Merlin’s tightly drilled schedule, the troops walked on by to the pub, however young Miss To spotted a Pimms stand and there sowed the seed for the Ladies’ contingent.
Pub number 2. Arrival 13:00 hours, drinking time 0:30 hours. Target, a pint of BB for the fellas and all sorts of wonderful concoctions for the Ladies (Important Note to one’s self no Pimms at this fuel stop).
13:30 and of on a half mile sprint to the Coach & Horses Inn at Ganborough. Arrival 13:45, here Pimms o’clock for the Ladies and a third pint of BB for the fellas along with a round of exceedingly good ham and beef rolls. Strangely the walking and drinking was becoming easier, funny that!?
Anyway departure time of 14:15 was upon us, time to leave for the longest stint of the day, a 3.5 mile walk to the Golden Ball at Lower Swell.
This stage of the trip included passing through Donnington and the brewery, the reason for all this drinking and walking, and it also showed off the team’s football skills or lack of after Mrs Merlin found a tennis ball called Wilson on the side of a road.
15:50 arrival at the Golden Ball. Unfortunately this pub closed at 3 pm, but never fear it’s the start of stage 2 ! At this point Merlin’s Merry Men & Women were ahead of schedule with a not so gentle one and a half mile climb back to the Queens Head being the only walking left to do. Fuelled by the thought of further beverages and more importantly food, we closed in on the Queens Head in good time.
Here we reflected on the day’s walking and tasting and were meet by Jacqui & Rich. To be honest I can’t remember what we talked about because I was that knackered !
I would like to thank Mr Keith Ferguson on organising a wonderful day and we look forward to seeing other Winchcombe Table Tennis Club members for the second session on the Donnington Way.