Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Cotswold weekend Sunday - 20 miles walked

Woke at 4.20 and was walking by 5am. A chilly morning but dry. I continued on the D'Arcy Dalton Way, stopping on the trail for breakfast just before reaching Great Barrington, then through the village around 7.00am where all was quiet. Then on to Little Barrington over the River Windrush and on to the village of Windrush and then Sherborne. I'm glad I don't know of tearooms and cafés in advance. That way I'm not too disappointed when I find them closed. Here in Sherborne is a combined village shop, deli and tearoom. There wasn't a free table in the garden so I sat inside to down my pot of tea and bacon sandwiches - proper bacon too. Hiker jet fuel to power me on my way. The shop and café were a real find.

Little Barrington

Little Barrington
Bridge by Windrush Mill

The Mill
From Sherborne to Farmington was a road walk of about three miles but the Windrush valley is beautiful and the sun was shining. In fact, the day was heating up to be a scorcher. Northleach was next and how I managed not to fall into a pub I don't really know. I just wanted to get more miles behind me I suppose. I went on through Hampnett and then Turkdean where I deposited my little bag of rubbish in Steve Winwood's wheelybin! I think he was away. Through the open gate, I saw a swimming pool with people around it and the (very good) music was VERY LOUD.

My next village was Cold Aston where a pint of Otter bitter in The Plough was calling my name. Following the Gloucestershire Way towards Bourton-on-the-Water, I've found a quiet pitch in the corner of a field. After getting on for two hours here, no-one has passed by. Apart from a bit of traffic noise from the A436, all I can hear is birdsong.

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Saturday, 25 May 2013

Cotswolds weekend Saturday - 8 miles walked

This weekend's outing was supposed to be a 64 miler from Sutton Coldfield to Chipping Norton following what I think would have been an excellent route but at the last moment it didn't work out (don't ask).

Instead, and with no planning, it turned into a circuit of the Cotswolds. Starting from Churchill church, I headed across to Sarsden on the D'Arcy Dalton Way, a long distance trail that starts at Wormleighton Reservoir some way north of Banbury and meanders south to end at Wayland's Smithy, on the Ridgeway.

Stone memorial seat near Sarsden - Lord Moreton d. 1920 

On then to Bruern. At 6.45 I stopped to cook up a meal. This was the first outing for my Caldera Cone with Gram Cracker "stove", a miniscule titanium thing which weighs nothing and burns Esbit fuel tablets (or similar). I'll do a review of this some time. My first impressions are very favourable.

I carried on walking, going through Fifield. I was needing to top up my water and found a tap in a little alcove in a wall opposite the church. Lovely. Crossing the A40, the path crossed a field to pass by Tangley Hall and then a wide grassy path around a copse, dipping then into woodland. In here, and by a stream, I found a small crescent shaped secluded meadow and that is my pitch for the night. Lots of birdsong, an owl and (a short while ago) a noisy deer crashing through the undergrowth.
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