walkhighlands


CCP - bridge at north end of Loch Ordie

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Date walked: 23/08/2018
Distance: 18.7km
Ascent: 267m
Views: 7


CCP - bridge at north end of Loch Ordie

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 31/07/2018
Distance: 18.7km
Ascent: 302m
Views: 14


CCP - bridge at north end of Loch Ordie

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 30/07/2018
Distance: 18.7km
Ascent: 253m
Views: 13


CCP - bridge at north end of Loch Ordie

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 15/07/2018
Distance: 18.8km
Ascent: 237m
Views: 22


CCP - bridge at north end of Loch Ordie

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 29/06/2018
Distance: 18.7km
Ascent: 274m
Views: 22


Borders Abbey Way & St Cuthbert's Way

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 16/06/2018
Distance: 233km
Ascent: 5162m
Views: 31


More Old Friends

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Munros: Cairn of Claise, Carn an Tuirc
Date walked: 04/06/2018
Distance: 24.9km
Ascent: 812m
Views: 23


A Wander over Old Pals

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Munros: Broad Cairn, Cairn Bannoch, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor, Tolmount
Date walked: 27/05/2018
Distance: 31.1km
Ascent: 1297m
Views: 30


CCP - bridge at north end of Loch Ordie

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Date walked: 26/05/2018
Distance: 18.8km
Ascent: 290m
Views: 26

Cotswold Way

Date walked: 08/05/2018

Time taken: 5 days

Distance: 174.2km

Ascent: 4888m

This was a walk that has been on my mind for a few years now. Despite living in Cardiff for 3 years and then Coventry for 6 years somehow we never made it down this way and the villages and countryside always looked really beautiful any time there was coverage on TV or in magazines.

I travelled down by train and bus on the bank holiday Monday and in keeping with my previous two long distance walks in 2017, it was a heatwave.

Doing the walk from North to South the "typical" Cotswold villages and towns are all to be found on the first couple of days. It's also fair to say that the Cotswold Way meanders over nearly every hill it can find and I can now understand why LEJOG walkers tend to avoid this route.

My daily info was as follows.

Day 1
Chipping Campden - Winchcombe
Mileage - 19
Ascent - 2429FT
Moving Ave - 3mph
Overall Ave - 2.8mph
Moving Time 06:13
Stopped Time 00:35


A very warm day with next to no breeze but probably a degree or two down from the bank holiday Monday the day before.
The Way makes straight for Dovers Hill a mile out of Chipping Campden (just to set my expectations of the next 5 days). Broadway Tower was quite impressive and having taken a few photos I headed off in completely the wrong direction before realising my mistake. After Wood Stanway there was a steep climb through a grassy field and in the heat I chose to have my 1st proper stop at a bench at the top of the climb (14 miles covered so far). I was starting to run short of liquids but luckily there was a shop at Hailes Abbey where I was able to stock up.

A few short steep climbs today - the heat made them more tiring than they would normally be.

1.jpg
Chipping Campden


2.jpg
Broadway Tower


3.jpg
Broadway


4.jpg
Belted Galloways


5.jpg
Stanton


Day 2
Winchcombe - Birdlip
Mileage - 24.6
Ascent - 4287 FT
Moving Ave - 3mph
Overall Ave - 2.7mph
Moving Time 08:04
Stopped Time 01:02


A nice walk out of Winchcombe through fields and past the cricket club before a steep climb through a field on to a minor road. I must have been enjoying walking on the road as I carried on straight past the Belas Knap track for a few hundred yards before realising I had made my 1st error of the day and had to double back and head up through the woods and fields to Belas Knap. This seemed to confuse three guys that I passed for a second time (having already said my hellos just after the cricket club). In the woods approaching Postlip Hall Farm there was a fast flowing stream and as it was still really warm I had a drink from the stream. After the farm there was a spring so I helped myself there as well.

Cleeve Hill afforded some great views and at the far end I lost the way so just continued on to a minor road then found a path that took me back down to link up with the route I would have been on if I actually consulted either my GPS, paper maps or guide book. I seem to just be circling Cheltenham at the moment with good views down to the racecourse.

After another few miles I came to the walkers oasis (basically an elderly couple selling food and drinks from their bungalow). There was either a language difficulty or they were both extremely deaf but TWO CANS OF COKE took a long time to be understood and they were the warmest cold drinks I have probably ever had. The man also gave me what I thought must be a complimentary kik kat (seemed reasonable as I was paying £3 for two cans of coke) but as I started to remove the paper I heard an American lady ask if I had bought the kik kat - turned out it was hers so no complimentary biscuit for me.

After the oasis there was a steep climb through woods, I reached a gate with a sign telling me to go through the gate and straight on but another two American ladies were coming down the hill in the opposite direction complaining they had taken a wrong turn. I consulted the Garmin and confirmed the correct track was on our left and they could just follow me (as clearly I knew where I was going :shock: ).

Nearing the end of my day I saw a Cotswold Way sign saying Birdlip was half a mile further on so I continued till I reached a road. I then crossed the road and walked for at least half a mile before deciding all was not well so doubled back to the road. Consulted every navigational tool at my disposal but still couldn't decide where the elusive Birdlip was so headed down the road to find..............open countryside and no village. Walked back up the road to the Cotswold Way crossing point and arrived just as the previously lost 2 Americans came out of the woods complaining that they had no idea where Birdlip was. I confidently advised them it was up the road (having already tested every other possibility) and they should just follow me and sure enough, there was Birdlip - I was thanked for the 2nd time by the two American ladies who were both clearly impressed with my navigational skills.

6.jpg
Track approaching Postlip Hall Farm


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Postlip Hall


8.jpg
Bench with a View


9.jpg
Somewhere in the Cotswolds


Day 3
Birdlip - Uley
Mileage - 23
Ascent - 3651 FT
Moving Ave - 2.9mph
Overall Ave - 2.6mph
Moving Time 07:54
Stopped Time 01:00


A good hour of woodland walking to start the day. The trees are fairly thinly spread so plenty of sunlight gets through the canopy and with bluebells out and the smell of wild garlic it's a really nice start to the day. That is until I reach Cooper's Hill and the first steep climb of the day. I must have been enjoying the climb as I took the wrong fork in the grass and carried on further up the climb than I needed to.

Some more undulating woodland tracks brought me out on the 9th tee of a golf course where a foursome were teeing off. I waited patiently then got chatting to one of the four (an 80yr old) as we all started to walk up the fairway. He walked the Cotswold Way exactly 40 years earlier with his son and so he told me some of the stories from his trip. When he found out the handicap I played off before retiring from the game at 32 I was immediately introduced to the other three guys and offered the chance to hit a shot (I haven't struck a golf ball this century so I declined). Left the guys behind and headed for the top of Painswick Hill before continuing along the golf course and past a quarry.

Continued on through woods before climbing to Haresfield Beacon (great views north in to Wales), some more climbs to various minor tops then dropped down to Stonehouse.

I knew I had a choice of routes from Stonehouse but only ever saw one sign so I ended up on the shortcut without realising it. The shortcut had a steep climb on it so I felt quite at home. A relatively easy climb brought me out on Nympsfield Long Barrow where a NT sign advised me of recent sightings of adders.

When I arrived at Uley Bury I decided just to take to the road for the last half mile, it was all downhill so I knew what I was in for in the morning.

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Woods after Birdlip


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More woods after Birdlip


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Only 55 miles to go


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Nope, it's gone - can't remember


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Near Stonehouse


15.jpg
Views north to the Severn Estuary


Day 4
Uley - Old Sodbury
Mileage - 21.5
Ascent - 3503 FT
Moving Ave - 3.0 mph
Overall Ave - 2.7mph
Moving Time 07:17
Stopped Time 00:34


Started off with the inevitable climb back up to the way (on the road). Linked up with the path which immediately descended and lost all it's height before coming out of the woods at Springfield Farm where there was a hill straight in front of me and I could see the outline of the worn grass heading straight up towards the top. Had to engage trudge gear for the last stage but it was worth it as I was then able to keep my height for a while before descending to Dursley (probably should have guessed from the name - Cam Long Down). Each day is still warm but cooler than the beginning of the week so not so much haze, this meant the views north from Cam Long Down were terrific and definitely worth the effort.

I left Dursley on Hill Rd and it is an apt road name. When the road ended the climb continued through the trees before coming out on another golf course. After the golf course there was a mix of track and field walking as I passed Tyndale Monument as well as a number of villages.

All was going well till I reached another grassy fork in a field, I chose right then switched to the left track (I should have stayed right). This took me off to a minor road and I then navigated (successfully) a number of minor roads to bring me out in Little Sodbury. The only thing separating Little from Old Sodbury is of course a hill so one last climb and I was finished for the day.

16.jpg
Cam Long Down - it's much longer than it looks


17.jpg
Very curious cows - they followed me to the gate


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Looking towards North Nibley


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Tyndale Monument


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Cute Horse


Day 5
Old Sodbury - Bath
Mileage - 20.1
Ascent - 2167 FT
Moving Ave - 3.0 mph
Overall Ave - 2.7mph
Moving Time 06:44
Stopped Time 00:46


The day started strangely flat with field walking and also walking through the grounds of Dodington Park. As I arrived in Pennsylvania I saw a Shell garage off the track to my left and headed over for the usual liquids. The transaction seemed to be going well till I handed over a Scottish £20 note then the atmosphere seemed to change. The note was put through a machine then someone was called from the back office to confirm the position. Both ladies stared at the note, then me, then the note and to my amazement they then made a call to someone and a couple of minutes later a third person arrived who gave the go-ahead. I then returned the half melted Magnum and replaced it with a frozen one before slinking off leaving a queue of car owners that nearly reached the door (only one till in operation).

After my Magnum debacle I had a fairly easy couple of hours and by now I was trying to slow my walking as I had time to kill before meeting Andrea in Bath at 4pm.

At a racecourse there was a viewpoint down to Bath, suddenly the walk was nearly over and this had been the easiest day so far. I strolled down in to Weston assuming it would just be some flat roads down to Bath Abbey for a leisurely finish but the Cotswold Way wasn't finished with me yet. The first thing to unsettle me was placing the Way signs at nearly the top of lampposts which meant that I missed a couple of turn offs and had to backtrack (and start looking upwards at all lampposts). The second issue (and the real bummer) was that there were some final steep climbs to negotiate between Weston and Bath making this the hardest part of the day.

I'm sure most people love the finish at the Abbey but it just didn't do it for me. At the end of 5 days and 100+ miles I was faced with hordes of tourists wandering slowly around the parks, streets and the surrounds of the abbey itself making for a frustrating finish. I was finishing on a warm Saturday afternoon so I really shouldn't have expected anything else and I felt a bit out of place with the walking gear on and rucksack etc.

21.jpg
Crossing the M4


22.jpg
Dyrham Park


23.jpg
Hanging Hill


24.jpg
Bath


25.jpg
Bath Abbey - The End


Summary

A great 5 days.

The typical Cotswold villages all seemed to be on the north end of the route and by half way through Day 2 they were all behind me.

The Cotswold Way is a rollercoaster of a walk. There are no high hills but continually climbing and descending in warm weather can be exhausting.

I have read a number of LEJOG blogs recently and having walked the Cotswold Way I now understand why many avoid this route as it would use up a lot of energy and it could never be called a straight route.

Apart from the amount of climbing the other surprise was the number of Americans on this walk. I wasn't counting but it couldn't have been far off 50% of the people I talked to were from America (not sure why so many head for this particular long distance route).

Well worth the travelling to do this walk and 5 days without even the hint of a drop of rain can't be bad.

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Gordie12


User avatar
Location: Nr Forfar
Activity: Walker
Pub: None (I like them all)
Mountain: Ben Macdui
Place: Tiree
Gear: Platypus Hydration System
Member: None
Ideal day out: I love a long walk into a good hill (doesn't need to be a Munro)

Munros: 112
Corbetts: 62
Grahams: 17
Donalds: 21
Wainwrights: 17
Hewitts: 18
Sub 2000: 35
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Borders Abbeys Way    Cateran Trail    Dava Way    Fife Coastal Path    Great Glen Way    John Muir Way    Speyside Way    St Cuthbert's Way    Rob Roy Way   



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Statistics

2018

Trips: 22
Distance: 851.4 km
Ascent: 17960m
Munros: 6

2017

Trips: 69
Distance: 2130.8 km
Ascent: 43147m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 1

2016

Trips: 61
Distance: 1611.9 km
Ascent: 38788m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 22
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 10
Sub2000s: 1

2015

Trips: 65
Distance: 2192.25 km
Ascent: 64016m
Munros: 25
Corbetts: 15
Donalds: 3
Hewitts: 9
Wainwrights 11

2014

Trips: 67
Distance: 1816.7 km
Ascent: 51209m
Munros: 30
Corbetts: 8
Grahams: 2
Sub2000s: 6

2013

Trips: 53
Distance: 1012.75 km
Ascent: 29007m
Munros: 18
Corbetts: 9
Grahams: 12
Donalds: 7
Sub2000s: 21

2012

Trips: 5
Distance: 271.7 km
Ascent: 1740m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 1


Joined: Sep 06, 2012
Last visited: Sep 23, 2018
Total posts: 1710 | Search posts