A family holiday in Scotland – Part 1 – Pooh Sticks in the park

Back in the summer of 2018 we spent a family holiday up in the Scottish Borders. Jude and I with our children and their spouses, Jamie and Sam, Jo and Rob and our granddaughter Arabella stayed in a beautifully converted Scottish longbarn. So here is a series of posts all about a super week.

“Pooh Sticks” is becoming a bit of a family tradition and a favourite activity wherever a stream and bridge can be found. Such an opportunity was presented to us at the beginning of our family holiday in Scotland.

A beautiful little clear stream made its way through the public park, which was at the centre of Biggar village, close to our family holiday home. This was just what we needed for our Pooh Sticks challenge fun. We have taken part in the World Pooh Sticks Championships in the past which was great fun but somewhat marred by some entrants who took it far too seriously, so we decided a family version would be far more leisurely and enjoyable.

We prepared about colourd 50 sticks (a very time consuming job!) and cut them to length. The whole group then did a serious check of the stream and bridge.


We were then ready for the off! Two at a time we each skillfully dropped a stick into the stream. Little Arabella soon grasped the rules and won a few rounds.  As we slowly worked our way through many heats contestants got knocked out and our numbers reduced until the grand final when just two contestants were left. Tensions ran high!


After we crowned Vicky the champion we celebrated with a picnic at the huge table just a few yards from the stream and its bridge. Arabella always loves a picnic and was ready and waiting even before Graham arrived with the picnic from the car.


After a picnic break and a quick game of family football with Arabella’s little plastic colourful ball it was time to explore and enjoy the playground, swings first, with Arabella calling out “Higher! Higher!”



Followed by the crows’ nest.


We spent hours in the park that day and really enjoyed family time. It was to prove a great start to a great holiday. See part 2 for the next adventure.







An Eccentric English Day Out – Pooh Sticks!

We are proud of being English and proud of being typically eccentrically English too. We enjoy doing typical English activities like Afternoon Tea and walking in the park. Recently we enjoyed a three-generation family weekend taking part in an activity only the English could do. We took part in the World Pooh Sticks Championships 2017! Totally crazy! But great fun!

We traveled down to Oxfordshire in search of Langel’s Common on the outskirts of Witney and parked up near the village’s parish church. A short walk saw us arriving at the field that was home to the championships and we crossed a bridge over the River Windrush.

Fans of the famous Winnie the Pooh children’s books written by AA Milne will know what this is all about. Others might need to check it out on Google. The event is described as one of the country’s quirkiest sports. In reality it requires absolutely no skill whatsoever, the only requirements needed are a sense of fun, a desire to help charities and a big smile.

The championships are run by the Rotary Club of Oxford Spires and they aimed to raise funds for their worldwide Purple4Polio campaign. Each competitor has to drop a coloured stick into the river on the count of three and then rush to the other side of the bridge to see whose stick crosses the finishing line first. Simple really!

We formed a team of four, calling ourselves “The Magnificent Mollies”, we registered our team and waited to collect our sticks from the “Keeper of the Sticks”. We chose to use green sticks and moved on to join the queue of teams awaiting their turn. We had Jude the Undergardener to support us along with Granddaughter Arabella who looked really cool with pink shades on.


We stood waiting and concentrating for the word and in turn dropped our green sticks. We did not do very well at all but enjoyed the fun and laughter and banter with other teams.


We celebrated the adage, “it’s the taking part that counts” by a family high fives after coming close to last in the team event. Then we celebrated again by enjoying a summer picnic on the river bank. A sign highlighted where ducks could be fed, but there were absolutely no ducks there!

While enjoying out picnic we watched the individual event taking place and to illustrate how skillful the sport is, it was won by a 6 year old boy, Daniel.

The team who arrived in their vintage US police car certainly seemed to enjoy their day and left happy and smiling and waving to everyone as they drove off. However, one little person must have arrived home unhappily after discovering they had lost their orange coat.


We had a great time and decided unanimously that we would be back!