Distance: 33,5 km (20,8 mi) for a total of 688 km (427,5 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 850 m (2790 ft)
Weather: Showers all day, strong gusts on the hills
Getting from my camping spot near Birdlip back on the CW required some road walking. So far I consider the stretches of road walking to be the only outright dangerous situations I got into. This was especially true this day when I had to cross at a roundabout of the A436 with the A417.
Then the path first led me over Crickley Hill with nice views, strong winds trying to blow me over the edge and an open visitors centre where I had an espresso and bought some more provisions for the way ahead. The CW followed the escarpment rounding Leckhampton Hill and Hartley Hill before again crossing a busy A road. Because of the rain it hadn’t been a day for taking pictures as the mobile phone better stayed secure under the waterproofs, but occasionally there was a dry spell and one of these coincided with this nice example of a Cotswoldian type of dry stone wall.
There was a snack van standing right at the said A road with a sign pointing to it from the footpath. I would have liked to see what was on offer, but the gate between me and the van somehow resisted my attempts to open it. Bad luck! And not long afterwards I found that as good as National Trails are usually maintained – sometimes obstacles occur.
Soon Dowdeswell Reservoir was reached. From the map I knew that there was some uphill work to do and as it was one of the drier periods I decided to get out of the waterproofs to avoid getting boiled in my own sweat. Just then a couple appeared coming down and they asked me if I wasn’t too optimistic but then agreed that they had thought of doing so themselves for the same reason.
Once up it was quite fair and level walking. The only major interruption was the re-donning of my waterproofs. I left the CW to get to some radio masts, the agreed meeting point with Neil, a fellow member from the Backpackers Club. While taking a wet way to Winchcombe we chatted a lot and Neil pointed out many interesting things in the surrounding to me. He had arranged for me to camp at the farm of a friend. The resupply parcel containing the maps for the next section in particular was waiting there for me and I got a new gas canister for my stove. In addition and without being asked, Neil had brought two provisions I hadn’t in my pack any more although a long-distance walker should never run out of them (apart from water): chocolate and jelly babies. Thanks Neil, well planned and much appreciated!
I spent some time chatting with Neil’s friend Bill and now I know a lot more about the economic side of farming in general, in the Cotswolds and the development of land and house prices there which was really interesting.
To finish a snapshot of two fellows I nearly stepped upon.