Let’s rename this section to Hell’s Steep Climbs and Descents. The first leg is described as 6 1/2 miles of “streneous in sections” between King Stanley and Dursley. Boy are they not kidding. Hiking poles became essential and likely a lifesaver.
The day started innocently enough with some forest trails, blue sky and more cows thrown in for entertainment.
After descending one section along a bridle path we emerged near a farm to see a large hill in the distance. And sure enough that’s where we were headed.
I don’t think the hill would have been possible without hiking poles. Here’s Linda working her way up. If it looks like a gentle slope you’d be wrong it’s a least a 45 degree angle. And the tree topped hill in the background? That’s where we came from. Gentle English hills my ass. My soon to be muscled tight ass.
At Dursley Linda wisely threw in the towel and took a taxi to Wotten. Me? I’m a bit OCD and had to continue. Unfortunately I failed to read in our guidebook that the first mile or so was also up a “steep climb.” Nearly 3/4 miles of steep forest trail.
The climb finally plateaued out at a golf course and thankfully the Cotswold Way offered up a short cut that shaved 2 miles off this 7 1/2 mile section. Since it was raining and I’m not quite that much of an idiot I choose the shortcut.
The walk took me through more forests and fields. Muddy forests and fields.
The next couple of miles were down muddy forested paths. Notice the muddy theme? I was able to enjoy walking with an older English gentleman and his yellow lab for a while. He shared some of the local history and his love for the trails. Also heard the good news that the weather would be improving!
Our paths soon diverted as I headed down to Wotten. Another muddy descent and fine views soon emerged from another monument before the final descent to the village.
Bit of wine and a bit more ibuprophen and I may rally for dinner. And of course we have to climb stairs to reach our room.