Distance: 13 miles (31, 954 steps or 21 km)
Weather: Pants! Boy did it rain hard today! Even my trekking umbrella did not stop me getting soaked to the bone. I was forced to frequent every pub on the route just to get warm!
Terrain: If the weather was better I think today would have been magical. Dyrham Park, Diddington Park with its massive Hill Fort, quaint villages, woodland covered in wild garlic and rolling lush green hills.
Health: My hips are very sore and going uphill is now very painful. My feet and shoulders seem fine today.
STORY OF THE DAY
I left my B&B about 8.30am and Enid gave me a lift back to the trailhead (2 miles up the road). I was very thankful that I didn't have to walk all that way before starting my main hike for the day.
It was certainly a “double glove” day and I wrapped up warm. Within five mins I spotted my first dog walker. He had a whippet thing which bounded up to me to say hello. He jumped up with his muddy paws all over my freshly washed trousers, but hey ho, I knew they would get filthy today anyway.
The morning mist swept over the valley below and it was rather tranquil. I sat watching the scenery change shapes in front of me for some time until I entered Jane’s Magic Woods. Yes, that is what these woods were called so I had to hide Adventure Geek Box number 7 in these woods. There was another carpet of wild garlic spread throughout the woods. Apparently, wild garlic is not in the same family as the garlic we use in our cooking, although they both smell similar.
One of the hidden gems I spotted today was a folly (not sure if that’s the right word?). It was a cute building made especially for owls and swallows. (See photo). It was very unusual and I had to take a snap.
Little Sodbury, A Thankful Village
As I arrived in Little Sodbury I met two Cotswold Rangers (or wardens). They look after a 5 mile section of the way and have to walk their part of the trail once a week. It’s their job to make sure that the signage is ok, that there are no fallen trees etc. They are doing a fabulous job. I grasped the opportunity to ask them why there are different coloured signs as it’s very confusing. I now have my answer:-
Yellow – Cotswold Way with regular footpath.
Blue – Cotswold Way with Bridle Path
Brown – Cotswold Way, restricted area.
He didn’t know what restricted area meant, neither did he know what the green signs meant. So I’m still a bit confused.
I am not sure that you can call Little Sodbury a village, it is more of a quaint hamlet. William Tyndale (the guy who translated the Bible and caused all the trouble mentioned in a previous blog) often preached at the small church in Little Sodbury.
Did you know: Little Sodbury is listed as a “Thankful Village” There are 52 registered “Thankful Villages” in England. A Thankful Village is a parish where all of the men who went to take part in the Great War (1914-18) returned home.
The trail went by The Dog Inn (no jokes!). I popped in for a coffee but at 11.30am it was too early for lunch.
As I left the pub the rain came down much harder than before, so it was time for my brolly. I need a name for my brolly!
You can't beat fish finger sarnies!
I eventually arrive in Tormarton at 1pm and the pub called Majors Retreat is a welcoming sight. I remove my muddy boots and leave my wet gear in the porch. As I enter this very busy establishment the place goes silent with exception to Phantom of the Opera being played through the pub speakers. All heads turn towards me. I just waved at the bar lady and said “I’ve taken my muddy boots off”. The pub goes back to normality and I order a fish finger sarnie and a glass of wine. I can’t check in until 4pm so I’ll take my time here and enjoy a leisurely Good Friday meal.
An elderly man approached me whilst I was enjoying my last few sips of cold white wine and asked me if I was walking The Cotswold Way. His name was Roy and he owned the Majors Retreat and had many stories to tell. Half an hour later I had clear directions, a plotted life history of this gentleman and also history about the pubs in the village that I was staying at. I enjoyed our chat but I really needed to get going. By 2.30pm my boots were on, my brolly was up, Nellie nestled into my back like a comforting hug and we were on our way again… in the rain!
I was only 4 miles from the b&b but it was a very wet and horrible walk. Emerging from Dyrham Woods I walk along a track and find myself heading towards my destination for the evening at Pennsylvania. I am sure there is a joke in there somewhere, but this Pennsylvania is certainly a bit smaller than famous Pennsylvania in the US! After my peaceful walk in the woods, it is a shock to the system to dodge the traffic on the A46 which had lorries racing by splashing even more muddy water at me. Eventually the Airbnb people called me to see if I was ok. I explained that I was less than a mile away and they said “stay where you are, we will come and pick you up”. How lovely is that?
Arrived in Pensylvania
Exhausted, I found comfort in a large corner bath, and a huge king sized bed. I can honestly say that this was the best night's sleep I had on the whole trail. The bed was super comfy, the room was toasty warm. I had a TV so I would watch The Pilgrimage (BBC programme that I had been following).
My clothes were drying on the radiator and I was super chilled out. Life was rather good. I then had some news that made this day one of the best yet…
My husband and daughter will be waiting for me tomorrow at the finish line! Originally they were going to drive down the day afterwards, but knowing that they would now be waiting for me made me feel rather emotional, but in a good way!