Friday, 24 April 2009

Day 19 Thursday - Nympsfield to Leckhampton

Walking from 6.30am to 6.45pm
Distance walked 21 miles
Distance left 780 miles

I started really early as I knew a long day was ahead. I had hoped to end the day at Witcombe with some fellow Backpacker Club members but they were away walking in Scotland. I therefore made contact with another member, Ian McPherson, in Leckhampton, on the edge of Cheltenham and he confirmed that I could pitch in his garden.

The day started off misty but was forecast to be fair. It has been a day of amazing views, following the edge of the Cotswold escarpment and spending much of the time walking through woodland, which I love doing.

Stanley Woods

I regained the Cotswold Way within half a mile of Nympsfield, skirted Frocester Hill, going through Stanley Woods where I stopped for breakfast and coffee. I then dropped down to go through King's Stanley and Ryeford and climbed again to pass through Standish Woods, then heading west to Haresfield Beacon and then east to go through Stockend Wood before descending into Painswick.

Views from Haresfield Beacon
I stopped for lunch in the churchyard and there met Geert, the Dutchman. He had met up with Reg again. Reg had stopped early in Painswick at a B&B. Geert was going on to camp south of Witcombe Wood (a site I had missed when looking at the map yesterday). Geert went on after a few minutes.

Painswick churchyard
This afternoon's route took me over a golf course outside Painswick and through Pope's Wood. Then, to save some time and distance, I took a lane to Cranham, avoiding the loop round Cooper's Hill, going through Witcombe Wood, emerging from woodland at Barrow Wake, a local viewpoint where the views were stunning, looking towards Gloucester and beyond.

The traffic was very busy at the roundabout at the Air Balloon pub and eventually some very nice drivers let me across the road. Then I entered the Crickley Hill Country Park, following the Cotswold Way around the edge to the northern side where I took an unsigned bridleway down towards Leckhampton. The walk through the better part of Cheltenham was quite pleasant although I was glad of my Pacerpoles to help me stay on my feet! It had been a long day.

Ian and his wife, Laila, have made me very welcome. We have shared a meal together and spent a very enjoyable evening. The tarp is pitched on a very small area of grass - it only just fits.

I shall be walking with David Southeard tomorrow and it will be a much shorter day.

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