Friday, 14 April 2017

Day 6 - Tormarton to Bath

The final stage of this amazing journey began from the Compass Inn at Tormarton by walking through the village itself then heading south over the M4 and onto the fields above Hinton. We made good use of this time to discuss life things as we looked over toward Pucklechurch in the distance.

It was quite a weird feeling being so close to home but so far away from our journey end. We continued on past Dyrham House and up through the wood before reaching Cold Ashton. This is an odd village with some impressive mansions in the centre with smaller cottages in the process of conversion around them.
We then heading down a very steep hill before rising again on the other side towards the Monument marking the famous Battle of Lansdown in 1643. It was a mile back from here we were surprised to bump into friends Martin and Jacki out walking their dog Fuggles. So good to see you and thank you for your encouragement.
They said goodbye as they had parked at Lansdown and we were heading on into Bath. We continued our walk towards the race course and bumped into other people from Pucklechurch out walking their dogs. We then were met by the Cally's just before Prospect style where we were able to see views right over Bath to the white Horse at Devizes one way and Bristol the other. 

Mal, Chriscelle and Seannah then walked with us for the last 8 miles into Bath.Thank you so much for keeping us going and for being there at the finish line! Great to catch up with you.

It was with great pleasure to walk with them on this last stage sharing stories and enjoying the different views of Bath ans we came into Weston and eventually the busy streets of Bath Centre.

We arrived at Bath Abbey around 5.15pm with great joy, relief and sense of achievement. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us in spirit, in humour, in encouragement, in donations and to get us over the line. Its been an amazing experience and we certainly could not have done it without all your help. See you in 2018....

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Day 5 - North Nibley to Tormarton

It was a very tough day yesterday so getting started today was the hardest yet. After a hearty breakfast and gear packed Rachel was fully charged and ready to go.
As you can see...

The start involved a few killer hills with steep climbs up and stoney paths coming down, however this quickly swept into more gentle valleys with timeless pretty cottages and babbling streams.

 Having passed through a field of sheep and then several of cows, along with stunning Spring blossom and new growth, it was definately a day of celebrating fauna and flora. The pinks, blues and yellows were stunning. 

We finally got to the Somerset Monument around lunchtime before heading down to familiar territory past Hawksbury Upton, and the skies created some stunning effects. Quite a different landscape from the days before. A lot of the landscape was flat -  We really couldn't believe we'd got here.

We must also mention some beautiful churches we saw today. Alderney, Little Sodbury and Old Sodbury. Old Sodbury stands on a ridge with views looking west towards the black mountains. By the kissing gate there is a slate tablet with a lovely psalm 111 - v 2 and prayer. Summed up the day for us.

After a quick stop in the Dog Inn at Old Sodbury, myself with a coke and Rachel went hard core with a tonic water, we made the final march to base camp. Funnily enough the quinine in the tonic really helped Rachel in the last few miles.
One other amazing event happened as we were walking through the Doddington Estate, James Dysons place, a helicopter swung low over us coming into land near the house. 
Rachel shouted. " I wonder if he's invited Herbert Hoover"
I visualised Mrs Dyson shouting to the kids
" Oiy Winnie and Winston - Dads home - go and polish your shoes. I'll put the Findus pancakes in the oven!"

We arrived shortly after at the Compass Inn at Tormarton, our final over night before our final leg tomorrow. Our wonderful friend Jenny Moon arrived before dinner to give us a fabulous massage and get us through tomorrow. I can highly recommend her for treatment - please see rachel if you need a treatment- Thank you Jen We can move again,
 Thanks again for all the words of encouragement and suggested tunes. I don't think I'll listen to Dire Straits 'Walk of life' or Dianna Ross ' Ain't no mountain high enough' in the same way again.

Written by Paul and Rachel

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Day 4 - Painswick to North Nibley

We set off after breakfast at 8.00am. Highlights for both of us today were definitely the blue bell woods seeing the English variety made Me ( Rachel) very happy as i didn't see a Spanish blue bell in sight which are taking over our English woodlands - the smell of wild garlic was fabulous. Scrunching through the beech wood leaves as well was a pleasure and the sound of birds was just wonderful. We heard a woodpecker from time to time and We kept hearing our friendly mascot ' Mr pheasant' as well. Seeing squirrels playing was fun. I just loved the dabbled light streaming through the very old trees and the colours - well they were stunning - Beautiful times! 

We have met some amazing people on out journey so far and today was no exception. We met two ladies who were just lovely and gave us a contribution to our cause. We have seen some incredible views looking across to Wales over the Severn and the weather was just glorious. We spent the morning talking about what we are both thankful for and what material things we could omit from our lives. We both definitely feel we are on a pilgrimage so processing and assessing where we are is a big part of this for us.
Pauls writing this next bit;
We were extremely challenged today for several reasons. The first being the length, the longest of the 6 days at 21 miles, and also the ascents and descents over 700m in both up and down. The first hill took us onto an amazing viewing point but was a challenge after 15 miles walking.
The 2nd out of Dursley went on and on forever. 
The graph above shows the days profile. 

Finally we had some challenging gates to contend with. Rachel got stuck in one and without running to help, I took a photo instead

However Rachel got her own back when I tried.

The last 3 miles seemed an eternity and it was with great delight to see the Black Horse come into view. Another amazing day!!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Day 3 - Charlton Kings to Painswick

Day 3 of 6 and another very stunning day weather wise. We also both agreed that the call of the pheasant was a call of encouragement and cheering us on rather that any forthcoming threat. Lol! 
Everything started off calmly and peacefully at a sedate pace of around 24 mins a mile, as we left Dowdeswell on our next leg. We were of course blessed with stunning views, connecting time to discuss life and time to enjoy one another's company. 
Around 8 miles Rachel made a comment that she should check Waps op. (what's app) 
We need to find the Devils chimney she said.. 
This was Rachel first sighting and whooped that we'd found it.

After a few giggles from guess who, moments later, another sighting was made...
Not much of a chimney that Devil has... 
You can only image Rachels delight at finally finding the real Macoy! 

After another 5 miles and wonderful views at Crickley Hill we crossed a crazy road of traffic, before sitting for lunch at 10 miles. 
Then the real fun happened. Some other walkers in front of us said hello before reaching to the ground to pick up some keys. Having seen some walkers pass us about 20 mins before and one of them delving into their bag at around the same place, we decided the keys must belong to that lady and set pace to hunt her down. We were on a mission as they were house keys and we were both concerned for the lady. Our pace increased to 21 mins a mile and then 19 mins a mile as my march and Rachel's trot turned to to quick step for fear we would lose them. Finally after 4 miles we caught them next to the cheese rolling hill - Coopers hill and we yelled with relief that we'd caught them. They looked rather startled as we ran towards them with whoops of delight. However to our dismay none of them recognised the keys but they would take them anyway just in case. Lovely 3 ladies who were heading for the same destination.
The last 3 miles were challenging to say the least. My knees started complaining and Rachel's feet and back were on fire!. Rolled into the Falcon Inn at Painswick at around 5.15pm after nearly 19 miles, very stiff, tired but extremely happy! 
This marked half way and 52 miles to go. Thanks to all for the moral support, with tunes for the journey.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Day 2 - Winchcombe to Charlton Kings

Lovely stay in the White Hart. Wonderful food , big bath and comfy bed. What more could one need. After a good breakfast we dropped into the local bakery to get our lunch and set off out of Winchcombe. Weirdly it was more peaceful today than when we arrived yesterday afternoon. I guess these remote Cotswold villages have a big weekend tourist trade and slump during the week.
A bit cooler today, so thanks for the prayers, but fine and clear allowing stunning views along the way.
List of funny events for today:
Kissing gate designed for dwarves, style designed for Giants, and the continual call of the killer pheasant every 1/2 hr that just made us chuckle every time we heard it!! Passed some stunning estate houses, calves in a barn, and amazing views of Cheltenham racecourse. Breathtaking!
Although a little shorter than yesterday, list of injuries grows. Pauls knees really feeling the rough stoney and steep down hill tracks and Rachel's feet pads growing some wonderful blisters. Having said that the day was filled with "laughs" at various physical challenges, "oohs" at the views, "agh's" at the stoney tracks and finally "uummmmm" at Rachel's feet on some ice and Paul knees in the bath.
Off to find dinner and maybe a beer before lights out at 8.30!
Rachel trying to get over a wall with stiff legs - she decided to roll instead!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Day 1 - Chipping Campden to Winchcombe

So day 1. Met with Julie at 6.15am in Pucklechurch, who then very kindly took us all the way to Chipping Campden. Many thanks to Julie. It was a beautiful cloud free day and could already feel the heat. Chipping Campden is a stunning Cotswold village and was even more quaint and charming in the sunshine. 
We eventually found the start point and took the appropriate picture before beginning the ascent out of the village at 8.00.
Quick snack at 5 miles and lunch at 10 miles whilst passing through exquisite villages of Broadway and Stanton. After passing the stunning manor of Stanway we headed south and passed through a field marked "Beware of the bull". With a little nervousness we sneaked in and spied the big boy amongst some fellow cows about 50ft away. They did not move. A couple of hundred yards on Rachel nipped into an adjacent linked field for a wee stop. It was here I heard yells and whoops of panic as Rachel appeared, chased by a rather angry looking pheasant. Being obviously concerned I burst into hysterics. Any further sounds of pheasants during the remainder of the journey were cues for a gentle reminder it might still be following her.
At 16 miles Rachel's feet and my knees were getting a bit uncomfortable. Although beautiful, the intense heat was not helping and we had to stop more regularly for water. The pace had dropped from about 20 minutes / mile to 24. On the the final mile heading into Winchcombe tree roots were to blame for a significant face plant as I turned to see Rachel face down on the ground yelling a few expletives. Not being a great nurse I eventually found a suitable plaster but with a sore nose, bruised and cut legs, cut hand, and jarred back the final mile to Winchcome was our slowest. Once Rachel was up she was laughing a lot in her usual way. It was with great pleasure to arrive at the White Hart at about 5.15.
Good bath soak and lovely dinner compleated the day. Amazing sunshine, gorgeous countryside , good processing.
Bring on tomorrow!!