I caught the bus to Stratton Post Office, just North of Cirencester this morning, with the aim of walking back home from there. In the end, I cheated somehat, by descending from Crickley Hill Country Park to Little Shurdington, and catching the bus back from there. But it was still a reasonable workout in preparation for Spain - 14 miles/22.5 kms. Even though I carried very little, I'm exhausted this evening! Am I mad, planning to walk this distance every day for three weeks? Probably.
It couldn't have been a better day for a long walk - sunshine and practically no wind. The first half was much the more beautiful: I visited five wonderful Cotswold churches as I walked up the Duntisbourne valley - dedicated to St Peter, Holy Rood, St Michael, St Peter again and St Bartholomew. Though there's no church in Middle Duntisbourne, this picture of the hamlet with its lake seems to me to capture the spirit of today's walk.
Until I reached the doggy domain of the Country Park, I saw not a single other walker. And spoke to just two men - almost the only people I saw in the Duntisbourne valley: one was a 74-year-old, working on his allotment, the other, 78, scooted up on his electric power-assisted bike whilst I was eating my sandwiches, to clear out the area round a spring, till 1954 (he told me) that village's water supply.