Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Castle Rascals

I love it when they get the weather wrong. Clouds and rain, they threatened, for Bank Holiday Monday. No, said Mother Nature, I shall grant you glorious sunshine and cloudless blue skies. Thank you, said we.

Off we sped to Castle Combe for some rambling. I’ve never been much of a rambler. I have some friends who ramble on every weekend. I’ve always been half jealous, half ‘no thanks, see you in the pub.’ But as I seem to be ageing with the speed of light, suddenly a six mile walkathon seems more appealing to me on my bank holiday than the bed – sofa –bed – sick bucket routine that used to be my hungover days.

That’s the old Kim. I even bought some rambling shoes to carry me through my six miles. We downloaded a map from the good people at Google and set off. First stop, the Castle Inn, where we might have started the day with a chilled and perfect pint of Stourpress cider. Well, old habits die hard…

In the wind pocket that was the pub garden, my skin warmed under the blazing sun. I had to keep reminding myself it was April. Who’d have thought it. With the cider giving us the energy we needed to commence adventure, and the pub garden beginning to fill, we set sail.

The ‘we’ in this tale, is my boyfriend Gareth, and I. Gareth held on to the map. With all his might. What is it with men and maps? I wasn’t even allowed to peek over his shoulder. He’d whip it out at every turning and junction, sneak and peek while turning it slightly away from my preying eyes, then demand ‘Over here, to the left,’ while jumping over a turn stile, the map sinking quickly back into his pocket.

I was quite happy to leave him fussing over his new GPS system and trying to plot our route on his phone while I breathed in the lovely country air and thought about how many calories I was burning just by plodding along. Loads, was the conclusion I came to.

After about 15 hours, Gareth’s GPS system told us we’d covered 1.6 miles. Only 4.4 to go! Twenty minutes later, it informed us we’d now covered 1.4 miles. Ok. We’re somehow managing to back track while only going forwards. Perhaps it’s time to put the GPS back in your pocket, Gareth, and just enjoy the scenery? He did, begrudgingly.

We passed couples with dogs. We were jealous. We passed eccentric country estates and cosy cottages. We were jealous. We passed over-energetic, sugar rushing children and exhausted parents. We were not jealous.

It was a blissful walk. Six miles flew by. The only bit I did not enjoy was the 100M or so you have to walk alongside a busy main road in the middle of the hike. But it soon passed and we were back in the glades and fields in no time.

Yes, Castle Combe is a tourist trap and yes, I did pay £3 for a lemonade when we got back to the village. It hurt. It hurt my wallet and my pride. We also splashed out on some overpriced scones (I’d burnt enough calories to justify it, I decided) and they were scrumdiddlyumptous.

I don’t think walking is something I could do every weekend, but on a day of sunshine such as this, I’d have been a fool not to. The views were stupendous, people actually said hello as we crossed paths, and I learned what a kissing gate was and what the history of the village was. (Something about red wool. I might not have been listening.) Plus, it was free. Which was lucky, as it meant I could afford the lemonade.



Mrunmayee said...

Among some beautiful views to be enjoyed in ambience of Pub Garden, Ragged Cot from Gloucestershire is ultimate combination of cost efficiency, local favorite & stunning views. Pot kiln from West Berkshire looks over Balmy garden from redbrick pub grub. Olde Bell from Berkshire has magnificent verdant garden of natural beauty & cute outside furniture. In Britannia from London, you can chill with beer overlooking lawn, scene of Victoria Park. For more, refer: http://www.travelfront.com/best-pub-gardens-of-britain-and-ireland-part-iii/

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