Posted by Beth Barrett on September 6, 2013 at 4:20 PM

We have arrived at Cheltenham three days (for Laura, Beth and Janis) and two days (for Marie and Karen) after leaving Chipping Campden. Marie and Karen did a herculean 20-mile march yesterday catching the rest of us at Blair House in Winchcombe. One of the overriding impressions we all share is of walking nose-to-nose with cows, bulls and sheep through large fields. Marie and Karen took a detour after noting the sign "Bull in Field"  and then seeing the real thing smack in the middle of the trail, but the rest of us didn't see him and took our chances. Fortunately, Janis's red backpack did not draw him out. While our walk from Stanton to Winchcombe on Thursday was gloriously sun-dabbled, a storm blew in from Wales on Friday. This was unfortunate as Laura, Beth and Janis were given faulty directions by a so-called local and ended up wandering around a large field for an hour and a half while Marie and Karen toured the nearby castle of Henry XIII. The rain continued lightly as we climbed 1,000 feet to the top of a golf course called Cleeve Hill. It probably should have been called Sheep Hill judging from all the droppings. Still, by the time we reached the summit the sun had come out and we had a lovely panorama view of the surrounding villages and towns. There are very few towns along the route, which basically runs along the top of an escarpment with views that reach to Wales. There is a surprising amount of altitude shifts, but much of it is through delightful woods sporting everything from hemlock to maple, oak and birch. We have seen a couple of deer and a tremendous number of birds. At times - depending upon our fatigue level and mood - we feel as though we were in Sherwood Forest, Lord of the Rings or a Monty Python comedy. Our spirits never seem to flag, though at time our feet, knees and hips do a bit. We arrived quite late - in part because the Way can be hard to follow and detours are more common than we'd like. But, the pork steaks, lasagna, chicken and of course beers capped off the day in fine fashion. Off to Birdlip tomorrow - some sun and rain on the horizon. The weather here seems to have a difficult time making up its mind!

Categories: Cotswold Way Ambles

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