>>  Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The day started near Ullenwood  and crippets long barrow, the first of many ancient monuments of the day.  The Cheltenham area seems to be strewn with them.

We basically walked the Cotswolds Way the whole day.
We went through Crickley Hill Park with its glorious views.

and huge skies

And an Iron Age fort, a big battle took place here.
The rain poured in the distance but it blew around us and we managed to miss it although other groups in the club walking nearby got soaked.
The Cotswolds Way is easy walking and a lot of it was through woodland.

Easy except when it isn't and I had another trip (seems to be one every walk at the minute) and landed flat on my face again.

I rested my pride with lunch in Witcombe Wood.
We went past the bottom of coopers hill,  this picture really doesn't do it justice for how steep it is.

The roof of the house is where we were.  We walked up the side of it.

This hill is famous for the annual cheese rolling.

An event probably as old as the hills and not one to let health and safety stand in its way.

Thank goodness health care is free here!

 It is well worth the climb for the views over the valley to the Malverns.

We headed onward across a golf course past another for towards Painswick
A well attired local gentleman (who was stood watching a mouse!) pointed out that our method of bus drop off and finish is the same rules as a shotgun start golf tournament.

The last time we were in this area we saw a slow worm, there wasn’t much fauna around today but a special shout out goes to the very flat snake spotted on the road.  I think is was an adder, hard to tell with the tyre marks over it!


The church In Painswick has 99 yew trees.

I already knew that yews grow in church yards because they are poisonous to grazing animals so before the enclosure act they kept animals safe and that we had to grow them to make bows and arrows.

What I didn't know was that yew tree clippings are a good source of the basic raw material for the anti-cancer drug paclitaxel. Specialist contractors go to this churchyard to collect and ship them off for processing.

So it was a lovely 12.5 miles with 1700" ascent and perfect walking weather.

Another really good day.


Maze 2019

>>  Thursday, September 05, 2019

This year's maze design was an Astronaut to mark 50 years since the first man on the moon.

But Cog has been too tired/busy/not today to go, so I dragged HWMBO along this year.

We walked every inch of path, marking it off with a highlighter pen as we went and we used the map without clues never once looking at the map with the boards marked on.

It was a very hot day, pushing 30C, so I used the sun-brella. This one, whilst quite heavy, is a really good one, creating UV protected shade and vented.

There is always a mixed reaction to walking around with an umbrella in the sun and it really is a 50/50 positive to negative.  I wonder that so many people feel it appropriate to comment or think I can't hear their jibes.

There was a lot of bind weed in amongst the maize.
And the usual sun flowers, lots of them had had faces picked into them.
The great thing about mazes like this is that they really 'swallow' up crowds.  The car park was rammed but you rarely get into crowds in the paths.
So it was a lovely couple of hours.

Pleasant married couple time with the never to be forgotten quote "I'm not a fucking grumpy old man"  said with no hint of irony or joy de vivre.

As always my tips for visiting a maize maze are:

Call in advance, they will tell you how muddy (or not) the paths are and if you need wellies, trainers or sandals. And then stick all 3 in the boot anyway!

Take a small backpack, with waterproofs, hats, and bottles of water.

Take cash - ours is on a farm and this year for the first time they accepted cards but I still recommend taking cash or be prepared to drive a long way to find an ATM!

Take a couple of pens - they will charge you for a pen.

If you want to make it easier, take a highlighter pen and mark off the paths as you go round.

Ours is totally wheel chair and pushchair accessible unless it was really really muddy. They have lots of viewing platforms and helpers, you won't lose your children (for long) no matter how hard you try and they have quick exits so you can get out to the loos and then go back in again without having to walk a million miles.

At ours there are lots of other games and mini mazes to do as well, picnic tables and plenty of parking. It is an easy, fun day out and I thoroughly recommend it for a family few hours of togetherness and exercise....oh yes and yelling at each other debating about which way to go!

I really missed my 'little' girl this year do for my own viewing pleasure, as maze post tradition now dictates, here is my maze gallery:

2018 - NHS Ambulance theme with Australian friends and Cog not long out of intensive care.

2017 - A hot year and a good crop

2016  was a bad year all round but points to us for still making the effort to go.

This was a good crop year and a fun afternoon with friends.

The weather couldn't make up it's mind, warm, sunny and wet at different points of the walk.


This was the best crop they'd had in a long time.

Dreadful crop year. But the sunflowers meant it was still well worth seeing.


The owners said it was a bad crop year. It seemed pretty tall to me, but maybe it's about the size and number of the maize itself, not just the height of the plant.


The height was there but the plants were rather lame


A wet year I think as we are wearing wellies.

2008   Again not too bad a height.

Looks like another bad year.

Cog  always reminds me that 2006 was the 'alien' year and she went with her father, not me.


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