We had more days of rest than we needed but we didn’t want to arrive in Bath on a Friday or Saturday night when the hotel prices are higher. Also travelling home on a Sunday was no good as the buses don’t run from the railway station to our home town. I was eager to get going again, and it was difficult being patient.
We ditched a lot of gear from our backpacks, including all of our cooking equipment, before returning to the trail. Even the mini playing cards didn’t make it 😦 we were ruthless. Every gram you take away makes that backpack more bearable.
We continued walking from where we had left off in Painswick. It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed the views from Haresfield Beacon as we sat down on a bench to eat our chorizo and cheese baguettes. This was familiar territory as we’d already walked some of the sections around here.
On day 7 we continued on to Cam Long Down, which was one of my favourite places along the trail. The hill was steep but we loved the wonderful 360° views. It wasn’t much further from there to Dursley where we were glad to find that there were plenty of places to get food! That night we stayed at the Black Horse Inn at North Nibley, instead of camping on the grounds of Nibley House as we’d originally planned.
We left the village early, and saw the Tyndale Monument in the beautiful morning light, its cross was shining brightly. There was nobody else around, and it was magical. We climbed to the top of the tower, up a spiral staircase of 121 steps, but it was worth the effort as the views were amazing.
Wotton-under-Edge is only 2 miles from North Nibley so we were in good time for our best breakfast of the trail at The Edge Cafe. We had poached eggs on toast with bacon, and great coffee. After tackling a challenging hill up out of Wotton-under-Edge, the walking soon became surprisingly easy along farm tracks and lanes. We passed the Somerset Monument, but it is privately owned so we were unable to climb its tower.
On reaching Horton we stayed at Oakfield Farm campsite. The grass was so well kept it was like camping on a tennis court. We could see the Somerset monument in the far distance and could hardly believe we’d come all that way.
On day 9 we walked from Horton to Cold Ashton. We got caught in heavy rain that morning and our shoes and boots were drenched and uncomfortable. The walk through Dodington Park was very peaceful, so it was a shock to suddenly arrive at the noisy section that crosses over the M4 motorway. We passed through a seedy car parking area, hurrying on as quickly as we could through the woodland and out across the fields again.
On the last day my feet were pretty sore, but this time it was the balls of my feet rather than my heels. I felt as though I was walking on burning hot coals.
The way to Bath was prettier than I’d imagined, and it wasn’t too steep a descent. The guide book made it sound like Everest. However, the last bit of the walk through the city was really steep, and we weren’t prepared for that as we thought we’d done it! We met a man who had walked the Camino de Santiago (500 miles). It is beyond me how people do it. I sat down on a bench to apply talc to my feet and change into dry socks. I hobbled into Bath, it wasn’t quite the glamorous ending I’d wanted it to be.
We turned a last corner, and there was Bath Abbey in all its glory illuminated in the sunlight. I felt quite emotional as we approached, but I kept a stiff upper lip. After all I am British 😉