It must now be a fortnight since I last returned to the Cotswolds. In a month’s time, I’ll be heading that way again for a long-distance walking challenge. But on this occasion, I was looking to correct and finalise the sixteen-mile route I’d plotted back in June.
My only previous visit to Cleeve Hill, the highest point on the Cotswolds, was in February 2013. That was on a group walk led by someone else; an experience that no-one of us will ever forget… Titled ‘The Spooky Walk’ and intended to finish at around 18.00 (in winter time,remember); the fact that this hike began in Prestbury, one of the UK’s most-haunted villages, was by far one of the least frightening elements of this day.
We left Bristol at 10am, by which time it was already raining and even when the weather did change later in the day, we were soon praying for shelter from the hail, sleet and even snow that followed as night dry nearer! We got lost in the darkness and it wasn’t until 21.00 that we reached a pub in Winchcombe, from which we were able to arrange a taxi to take the drivers (I was one of them) back to the cars so that we could then return to collect the others.
There are a couple of more recent walks that I would like to write about today but I’ve realised that I still haven’t shared the experience of walking the Cotswold Way along the skyline route, near Cheltenham a couple of weeks ago. This was led by another member of the Brunel Walking Group. Apparently, it was also his first walk-leading experience and I for one think he did very well (I certainly wouldn’t have guessed it). Some of the details from that day are bound to have slipped my mind in the time that has since passed but, one thing I cannot forget is the heat from that day…
We started off (after meeting up in Bristol) at a lay-by car park on the western outskirts of the village of Cranham (apparently, it’s home to Lilly Allen among other celebrities, if you really wanted to know…). From there, we climbed up through the woods to reach the peak of Cooper’s Hill, which is perhaps best known as the site of Gloucestershire‘s annual Cheese Rolling event!
If you’re anywhere near Bristol or the south west of England within the next couple of months, it would be worth keeping an eye out for three furniture exhibitions. Two of these shows follow on from similar events that took place a year earlier. Sadly, due to financial reasons, I’m unable to take part this year. But, if these show are anything like what was witnessed last year then, you won’t want to miss them, if you have the opportunity to pay them a visit!
‘Inspired’ – The Great Oak Hall, Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury.
Thursday 26th – Tuesday 31st May 2011
Of course, there is also one annual show for this region that I haven’t mentioned above and that’s the acclaimed Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design in Cheltenham. But, that’s not until the end of August.