This is my 4th formally organised trek for charity (raised almost £10000 altogether now) including Venezuela, Cuba and Mount Etna, but only 2 days’ walking so clearly considered more achievable as an oldie of 71!
Never done much in the Cotswolds, but there are several way-marked paths so it is a perfect choice for two circular walks.
Bourton on the Water is a typical picture-book village, rich yellow stone cottages and boutique shops alongside streams and centuries old pubs or Mills. Our guide Gideon pointed out that many visitors never explore far enough to see the lakes and wetlands the village gets its name from.
Hammond Hotel is a wonderful Tudor building right in the centre of Bourton so just a short walk from the bus stop if you came by public transport (train to Cheltenham and 801 bus from there.)they are specifically set up for walkers, whether as groups or individuals, with a wet room to store your walking boots plus an extensive choice for a packed lunch.
So, day 1 started at 9.30am, walking through the village and around the lakes, then off to Stow on the Wold, 12 miles in all. Though billed as a walk on undulating hills of Cotswolds, some sections were quite steep and a bit of a struggle for a couple in the group. Great thing about a charity trek is that there is always a ‘back stop’ person, and everyone is there to help and encourage each other so we all reached our destination together.
Free time for lunch and to relax with time to explore the shops if you are willing to carry your purchases! Definitely ready for a shower, drink at the bar and an excellent dinner at the end of day 1. A great system at this hotel where you order your main choice beforehand against your room number, so you don’t have to try and remember what you ordered!
Day 2 11 miles, again a circular route but a different direction. While we were lucky with the weather on Saturday, there was a lot of rain on Sunday which meant some very muddy sections of path.
Everyone achieved their goal of 23 miles over 2 days, each raising over the minimum £250 for Breast Cancer Now. We all received our certificate to prove we did it and enjoyed meeting a great group of positive people and hearing their individual stories. However, my boots did not survive this final onslaught so were ceremoniously binned in Bourton on the Water. Bought a new pair following week but when I got them home, one was size 40 the other 41 so back they went!
If you have never done a “charity trek” before, it is definitely worth giving it a go whatever your age! The organisation was great and the guides excellent and, of course, the location this time was beautiful.