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Day 1 - Walking from Chipping Campden to Broadway

6 miles/ 9.6 km. Looked out my window this morning to see grey and overcast skies… rain is forecast.

overcast 14 °C
View Cotswold Way, England on Laura Walking's travel map.

I’m sure it seems like I fell off the face of the earth these last few days… well it feels like that to me too! Let me just say… that I’m writing this (on Mon Oct 24th from my B&B in Painswick) from notes I took longhand, after four days/ evenings with very unstable or no Internet whatsoever, because of the torrential rain rain we’ve been having! You’d think they’d have sorted such a thing out by now! The Cotswold area consists of hills and valleys, so when in the latter, the Internet doesn’t seem to work in inclement weather! Who knew?!
So bear with me here, as I get my days sorted out!

This morning (Oct 20) I woke up early, in fact I had a restless sleep last night. It could have been the prospect of starting the walk today… yippee!… or it could have been the Earl Grey Tea I had at 9:30 last night - not the greatest of ideas! In any case I got up and dressed and packed up my mountains of things in my big back pack, and took it down to the designated spot near the front desk, well before 9am. It would be transported to my next stop! (I arranged this before leaving Canada). This place also included breakfast, so I went into the dining room and had a lovely breakfast - which included both hot and cold things. I try and eat as much protein as is reasonable and available to keep my energy up. It was a great start to the day.

I meant to say yesterday that the greeter at St James Church mentioned that it was also a wonderful music venue. She said that in addition to a community choir, they had a great music program. (There was a really big piano, as well as a pipe organ - so I had asked about music). She said that they had several concerts a year, because the acoustics were wonderful with the great vaulted ceilings and concrete pillars. She also said that this particular church attracts world famous musicians, again because of the sound. She mentioned a couple of names, but they were not people I had heard of.

Back in my room I packed up the remaining items into my day pack - looked out the window and saw a few misty raindrops starting to fall. I had kept out my rain gear, (from my big pack), so I was prepared! I was still feeling stupidly optimistic and encouraged (remember the woman from Australia who finished yesterday without a day of rain?!), and set off in the misty rain. The path takes us out of Chipping Campden, by the church I had looked out on my first night in town, and winds right up into fields and through woods. I crossed through an area called Dover’s Hill where several people were out walking their dogs. Very friendly people, too! Always interested in what I was doing, and where I was off to today. I crossed paths with a couple of farmers who were also very happy to chat. It was a lovely walk - even in the misty rain - the colours on the trees were changing and I picked up some yellow and red maple leafs. I was finally able to exhale.

I managed to get my little GoPro camera going - it was attached to the backpack strap on my chest, so it (quite amazingly!) recorded lots of snippets of footage as I was walking. Like wearing a BodyCam I guess! There’s sound too, so I talk about where I am and what I’m seeing. I had no idea it was so fun to use! I can watch the footage later on my iPhone via Bluetooth. Most of it is pretty boring… but fun for me to see!

Anyway, it started raining harder, and the camera was cutting in and out - battery issues apparently. (The camera is totally waterproof - these GoPros were made for action sports, surfing among them - so I figure a few raindrops is no big deal!) Unfortunately though, this was right as I was approaching one of the landmarks on the path called Broadway Tower. It is a smallish castle-like structure, originally owned by royalty - you can Google it! - although now privately owned. You can buy a ticket to go in and look around at certain areas, but I wasn’t really interested in doing that. In the meantime, I dug out my phone from my pack (it was safe in a plastic bag!) and started to take a few still shots. This is the second highest point on the Cotswold Way, and I certainly understand why! I huffed and puffed to the top of this hill… the sheep within hearing distance were really baffled, I’m sure… although only gave me passing glances as they continued to munch on their delicious grass.

Once at the Tower (which can be seen from miles around; I continued to see it on my walk the next day), the rest of the way was a steep descent into Broadway. There was the sound of thundering hooves for a moment, and I looked around, but no horses. Pretty soon I came upon a paddock, with a gate at either side, where these horses were walking around. I think it might have been part of an equine centre of some sort. The path went right through this area, and the horses just looked at us (a couple of other walkers were passing through as well). I could see the town of Broadway from way back at the Tower, so down and down we went. The rain had stopped and the sun was desperately trying to come out! Of course! Once the walking is done! I finally made it down to the High Street. Many of the shops had pumpkins out and were decorated for Halloween. Very pretty little town. I went into the first coffee shop I saw, called Hunters, and had a hot drink and a sandwich. I was still a bit too early for my accommodations, but felt suitably replenished to look for it. A great first day!

Posted by Laura Walking 19:24 Archived in England

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