Friday, August 23, 2013

So It Begins!


Let us travel to the place

Where mind set to peace,
No one can see
Feel us free

Travel to the place
Where we can breathe
Fill our desire
We wish; we aspire
Travel to the place
Where we have silence
Flower of fragrance,
And Nature to admire

Travel to a place
Where we can write
Lines of rhyme
For all our time

Divyesh J. Shah

Once upon a time, during a cold snowy East Coast and a dry desert West Coast winter, Linda and I were talking about our love of hiking and travel and how we could combine these two things into our lives, and together! Many, many emails scorched their way through the airwaves, and we had a Plan. 

We would walk the 102 mile long distance pathway, The Cotswold Way. 

The Cotswold Way goes between Bath and Chipping Campden, or depending on who you talk to, Chipping Campden and Bath. They, the all-knowing "they", say the start is in Chipping Campden, but it really doesnt matter which way you go. I read keep the sun at your back, keep the wind in your face, it's more uphill going north... how can that be? The sun direction made sense, you don't want it blasting in your face the entire day,  but I really wanted to start south and go north because I didn't want to end up in a city. I didn't want to walk closer and closer to civilization and reality, I wanted to leave it. I wanted to be in the rural bucolic countryside for the last sections and finish at the beautiful, romantic Medieval-ness that is the Chipping Campden market hall.

So we'll be doing it "backwards", no worries. 

Along on this adventure is my friend Linda, her partner Steve and my husband, George.  George has chosen not to walk, not being the hiker I am. But he will play a very important role. Without him this would have been a very different pilgrimage. We chose 5 hotels central to the CW. George the Driver, will take our bags and meet us at the end of each day. The next day he'll drop us off where we stopped so we can continue and not miss a foot.

Linda & Lauren Planning
In April we met in Phoenix, Arizona to solidify our plans and make our hotel reservations online. We agreed that neither of us wanted to take the chance of arriving at a village at the end of a long day to find there were no rooms, food, or a hot bath! Or those free little shampoo bottles. 

The original 12 day trip became 3 weeks, now totaling 23 days I know I won't want to leave.  George and I will depart Philadelphia and arrive in the UK a few days before Linda and Steve. We'll be stopping in Salisbury on a Tuesday before meeting them in Bath later in the week. Though we're as well supplied as we can be, we will need to find two Go Phones with local numbers and the appropriate OS maps. I just love maps! 

Cotswold Way National Trail

Our goal is to average 10 miles a day. We will use signposts and maps, no GPS tracks or waypoints. There will be no voice saying "Recalculating". I will have a GPS Etrex 20 but only for time and distance. We can't skip any part of the walk, rain or shine. 

To help keep us honest we've printed out a Cotswold Way "walk completion card". How it works is, you get the form ( 2 pages) date stamped at the beginning and end with at least 3 locations in between. On completion our info will be entered onto the CW website Hall of Fame and we will receive either a pin or iron on badge of achievement. I love how the form  starts "Congratulations on deciding to attempt the Cotswold Way."  Thats encouraging. We will also "join the swelling ranks" of those who have completed the walk. And a rousing Good Luck!  
I wonder if "swelling" refers to one's feet? 

Am I worried about anything? Not really. I've done a lot of rambling in the Cotswolds under many conditions. Mud will be the only obstacle. My shoes aren't leather and wet feet ruin the day. Whatever comes up, comes up, that's what adventure is about. 

So along with this pin and my certificate from having gone to Machu Picchu in its centennial year, I'm starting a nice collection of travel ephemera! 

This is our daily breakdown walking guide - approximately. We have 2 days of rest planned.

1. Bath - Cold Ashton 10
2. CA - Little Sodbury  10.5
3.  LS - Wotton u Edge 12
4. rest
5. WuE - Kings Stanley 12.4
6. KS - Painswick 8
7. Painswick to Birdlip 8.0
8. Birdlip - Dowdeswell 10.5
9. rest
10. D'well - Winchcombe 11
11. Winchcombe - Stanton 9
12. Stanton - Chipping Campden 10.5

So on to British Air, Salisbury and our story. 


This Blog is dedicated to Lucy, who waits for me.

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