The Cotswold Way lends itself nicely to weekend jaunts if you are based in the South West. It has become something of an annual tradition for my mum, sister and I. We’ve done it in a slightly odd order. Starting with the middle section from Cam to Cheltenham (using the train to access either end), we then followed this up with the most northern section from Chipping Campden to Cheltenham and this years installment saw us taking on 33 miles of the Southern section on the hottest weekend of the year.
The plan had been to complete the full distance but as the heat intensified it soon became apparent that this wasn’t going to be the weekend for it. Also, as soon as we’d come up with the cunning plan that we could complete the walk and then celebrate with a trip to the spa in Bath it really didn’t seem quite so pressing that we walked 18 miles both days of the weekend.
Thanks to some fantastic taxi services from family members we picked up the trial where we had started the first year just outside Cam and walked south through beautiful, hilly woodland. The hills were some of the steepest we’d encountered; particularly Stinchcombe Hill above Dursley which I was reliably informed made up the local high school’s cross country route – ouch!
The first day finished in Horton after 20.5 miles, 850m of ascent and 30 degree heat. It’s fair to say we were not in the best shape as we fell into the car for the trip back to Bristol.
Sunday dawned blissfully overcast and the better walking weather combined with some much gentler gradients meant that 12 miles flew by and we finished the day in Cold Ashton leaving us around 10 miles to go for another weekend.
I’m proud of us all for what I think is a moderate physical achievement, but I am particularly proud of my 70 year old mum who I genuinely couldn’t keep up with at points! She is a keen walker and loves being part of the nordic walking community at home in Essex. A little while ago I quizzed her about what walking means to her. This year she’s on track to walk over 1500 miles – AMAZING!