Sunday, June 10, 2012


I left Dursley and headed off into the weakening gale. Deep in thought and as usual first thing in the morning I missed the B road and after a while thought the road unusually busy. After a quick GPS check I was astonished to find I’d missed the Uley turn off and was on the A road. Cursing my lack of concentration I struck into the woods (Folly Wood) and navigated my way back to the B road into the pretty town of Uley.
A woman I passed asked if I was crazy out walking in this weather but I smiled knowing I was dry and warm.
Just above Uley was yet another massive hilltop fortress; Uley Bury, so extensive I decided not to walk round it but to press on. Further on was yet another barrow; Nymphield Long Barrow, some 5000 years old from the Neolithic era. A man out walking his dog chatted to me. I asked if he had walked any of the Cotswolds Way and he said he hadn’t because he ‘lived locally.’ I noted that the Cotswolds Way has been the best maintained and signposted National Trail I had walked on, in spite of its meanderings.
The trail passed through the picturesque town of Painswick where I lingered for refreshments in the one pub still trading and to take photos and pressed on to Gloucester knowing it to be a longish hike.
My final approach to Gloucester was through the Council Estate and over Gloucester’s highest wooded hilltop which I was too tired to appreciate and finally down into Gloucester to meet Kathy who had kindly offered me a spare bed for the night.
Over a lovely vegetarian dinner Kathy had prepared we discussed places we’d worked and Kathy astonished me with her experiences teaching in countries that included the Falklands (twice), Sudan, Nigeria, Poland and her other travels in the Ukraine and elsewhere.
The following morning I was just not up to travelling and knowing something of the attractions of Gloucester Kathy offered to accompany me on a tour of Gloucester town centre and the Cathedral.
In the Cathedral we were joined by a Cathedral Guide who seemed happy to spend his entire day with us there. Thanks to his and Kathy’s knowledge I can now claim to have walked in the steps of William the Conqueror and Henry VIII. I was also able to admire the tomb of Edward II (reference Braveheart the movie) and the place in which Edward III? (check) was crowned and the Chapter room that was basically the HQ for compiling the Doomsday Book. And the beautifully vaulted cloisters used as a setting for one of the Harry Potter films.
Another of the Cathedrals claims to fame is in being one of the few former monasteries left standing by Henry VIII because its associations with former monarchs.
The Guide’s information on the ambitions and schemings of the rulers and influential families of the era were just too much to take in. The Guide then handed us over to another Guide to visit the Crypt where the Guide pointed out the structural aspects the cathedrals foundations, the corruption of the Church in the middle ages (payments for monks prayers to avoid Purgatory) and the place where hundreds of monks had spent their last night on mortal earth.
Sadly no one was playing the magnificent church organ with its 4000 pipes.
I spent much of the evening planning the next few nights accommodation, but advice from local Tourist Office indicated little in the way of accommodation up ahead in Tewkesbury. I also realised that I had not researched the Severn Way and that there was oddly little to offer on the web.