King Stanley to Wotten-under-Edge

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.

The somewhat gentle and easy in hindsight  hills quickly turned into steep climbs that rewarded with incredible views.

While the views are fantastic the wind whips so strongly that it’s difficult to stand and admire the scenery. Almost comical in how strong it gusts!

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.

Soon after the rain started so away went the camera. Plus I was too busy focused on breathing. Eventually we made it into Dursley. Overall we made excellent time of about 6 1/2 miles in four hours.

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.

Very muddy slippery fields! The field before the one pictured was so slippery that my first step almost took me down. Again my poles saved the day. Soon I was covered in mud from the knees down.

I slogged along carefully picking my way up and down hills until it was time to climb yet another steep hill to Tynedale Monument.

More wonderful views from the top and the rain was pretty much done.

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.

Soon I was trudging down streets to the hotel and oddly enough ran into Linda exiting as I was removing my filthy boots and rain pants.

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.

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