Saturday, January 22, 2005

A New Project - Walking the Cotswold Way

We have been intending to do this for quite a few years: walk the 100 mile long Cotswold Way national footpath trail that starts in Chipping Campden and ends in Bath (or vice versa). The question has always been: "How?"

Walking a hundred miles takes several days, possibly as many as ten days if the plan is to include enjoying the journey, taking the odd side trip, etc. etc. Although there are numerous places to stay along the way we seriously doubted if our lifestyle would allow us to just take off for ten days having made lots of bookings and planned the journey to the last metric mile. Along would come a call from a client, a cry for help or, most likely, a change in the weather! So we have decided to do the Cotswold Way one day at a time and today we did the first piece, from Chipping Campden to Stanway.

Public transport is just about non-existent along the Cotswold Way. I can hear people arguing differently but the truth is very few buses and hardly any trains come near the Cotswold Way, so our plan very much depends on personal transport and at the moment we have two cars so it is possible to take linear sections of the trail and plan a start and a finish where cars can be safely parked.

So this morning the weather promised to be fine and we decided to drive both cars over to Stanway, then drive one car to the start of the trail (i.e. just near our home) and then walk to Stanway, via Broadway and Stanton. This is a distance of approximately 11 miles with two major climbs up the Cotswold Escarpment. We covered the 11 miles in less than four hours which says a lot for our fitness and also the need to keep moving as it was quite cold along the exposed ridges. The last mile was covered in darkening skies with sleet beginning to fall. We drove back in heavy snow (so much for the weather forecast!)

The plan is to do a multi-part travelogue - one day at a time - with photos, text and personal observations along the way. We'll publish them soon after each stage is done so that we won't forget too many of the small details, the things that make this type of pastime interesting!