Tomorrow we start to walk the Cotswold Way, a 102 mile long distance footpath that runs from Chipping Campden to Bath along the Cotswold escarpment.
This a challenge for us, a long distance adventure, up and down hills, with walking days from 9 to 15 miles, short distances for some but quite long walks for us, especially day after day. It’s going to be an adventure, a physically challenging one.
We’re currently basking in a heat wave, with temperatures today reaching 30 degrees, which is going to add to the challenge. It is beautiful, blue skies, endless sunshine but much hotter than we are accustomed to. Grass is scorched brown, trees look tired and it’s going to be hard to stop us drooping too.
I’ve been in two minds about this trip, excited one minute, terrified and anxious the next, worried that I am not up to the challenge, that I will find it very hard, especially in this heat. Last night when packing, tired, worried and way too hot, I had a bit of a melt down, frustration and anger winning through. After a restless night’s sleep, it felt more achievable.
Today we’ve travelled to Chipping Campden, by bus, train, rail replacement bus service and taxi. A long hot journey! As we got closer the Cotswold honey coloured stone started to appear, a taste of what’s to come. Chipping Campden is beautiful, glowing in the sunshine.
After a mid afternoon visit to the pub to watch England secure their place in the World Cup semi finals (and a few drinks to celebrate) we had a wander around the centre of town.
The old stone houses and shops are dotted with interesting details, remnants of times gone by.
The bee sits above the door of the Woolstaplers Hall. A woolstapler was a person who traded in wool, I was confused about the significance of the bee, but an online search showed that the building was refurbished by a gentleman named Ashbee in the early 1900s so I guess this is his symbol.
Chipping Campden really did delight, with beautiful old buildings and even a hidden garden, dedicated to a Victorian plant hunter. It’s a wonderful introduction to the Cotswolds.
Today has been a lovely gentle start to our adventure. Now that we are here, ready to go, the nerves are receding, I feel like this is something I can do. And, if the heat gets too much, then we can do shorter days, rest longer, relax. No one is judging me but myself.
A meal in a beautiful old pub, and some time to relax and prepare in the pretty rooms above the Bantam Tea Rooms, overlooking the market hall and the start of the Cotswold Way, where we will begin tomorrow and I am feeling relaxed and ready to go.