School’s out (almost) and we’re starting to get into holiday mode now. The report cards came back with the kids on Friday and we were so proud to see the progress that both boys have made at school this year, so we decided that Saturday should be a treat day. We started with pancakes (obviously – it’s a given in our house on special occasions) and then, as the weather was (still) amazing, we chose to head to the Cotswold Water Park.
The Cotswold Water Park is an area of nearly forty square miles and nearly 150 lakes in the counties of Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and West Oxfordshire. We’re actually based in West Berkshire, but the gateway to the park is only about a forty minute drive from us. Considering it’s so close, I can’t quite believe it’s taken us so long to take advantage of what it has to offer. Mr P did a triathlon there a couple of years ago, but this weekend was the first time that we went to enjoy it as a family.
Firstly, lessons learnt the hard way – the beach was full. There’s an option to book tickets in advance to the Cotswold Country Park and Beach, but we weren’t being very organised and only really decided on the day what we’d do. Now we know, look at the weather forecast, decide to go and then book! So we did a quick scramble around the internet to look for alternatives and found Cotswold Water Park Hire at Lake 86 where it looked like there was availability on hiring kayaks, canoes and rowing boats. We arrived there and were able to book two double kayaks (as the kids are under 8 they both have to go with an adult). We had a little bit of time to kill before our kayaks were available, so we wandered over to the Gateway Centre, had a coffee, played football on the grass and had the first part of our picnic.
When the time came to get onto the water we were given our kayaks, lifejackets and a quick briefing and were then let loose on the water. We had an hour to play, and we had a blast. It was the same weekend as the Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford so while we paddled, raced, jumped in the water (the kids only), looked for crocodiles in the shallows, spun round in circles, splashed each other, counted dragonflies and damselflies, in the skies above we saw the Thunderbirds doing loop-the-loops and Spitfires and a Lancaster bomber flying in formation.
The boys shared the use of their new Sunday Afternoon Play Hat which was perfect for this activity. They both looked so professional when they were wearing it. It kept them sheltered from the hot sun and dried quickly after they’d been swimming in the lake. We didn’t risk taking our phones / cameras out on the water with us this time, but maybe we’ll get the drybag out of retirement for another trip to get some good action shots.
It was so much fun trying something completely new with the boys, and now we can’t wait to get out on the water with them when we head to France later this summer.