We met on possibly the most beautiful Friday evening of the year, enjoying a quiet drink on the terrace, New friends were being made almost immediately and any nervous angst wase soon lost as the chatter steadily increased in volume! But the group was amazingly sensible and soon only the guides were left in the bar!!!!
The first day of the trek dawned bright, not a cloud in the sky, sounds great but the reality was that we were all in for a very hot tiring trek on the hotest day of the year so far! Not to be deterred we plastered on the sun tan lotion, loaded up with lots of etra water, grabbed sun hats and sunglasses and set off! Leaving the coach behind the hard work began, we climbed up to the summit of Painswick Hill, and we were all sweating and it was only 10.00am, but the panoramic view from the summit was amazing. Shocked by the strength of the sun we dived into the shady bliss of the woodlands, where a multi coloured carpet of blue bells, wild garlic was lit beneath the open beach trees. Along the way, early purple orchids, rare birds nest orchids, tway baldes, early purples and toothworts provided interest and colour. We climbed Cleeve Hill, of Cheese rolling fame, then strode out to Birdlip Common, another stunning view and a chance for a quick lunch.
By now the sun was taking its toll, temperatures of 27degress, meant water was running short and blisters were starting and we were only just half way! After a few running repairs we were on out way again, ascending up to Crikley Hill, then skirting through the oak woods to Lekhampton Hill before continuing around the escarpement high above Cheltenham to finish day one in the Hungry Horse; a lovely pub with a mellow beer garden, lots of liquid refreshments and shade ahhhhh bliss!!!
Day 2, and after a good nights sleep, everyone emerged looking remarkably refreshed and ready to go! Any aches were treated and we were all eager to get out again.... before it got too hot!!! Back to the Seven Springs, but this time there was no time to relax, we wanted to get moving before the heat built up, but the sun beat us too it. Our energies took an immediate beating as we made our way out before seeking shelter amongst the woodlands. The shade revived the group and we made good time through to Langset, were a lovely couple recharged the group with tea and squash...you have no idea how welcome that was!!!!-thanks a million.
Now a long tiring climb began as we ascended up towards the summit of Cleeve Hil. What a day, amazing and the view from the top was just out of this world....and best of all we could see the end, an oasis, a mirage perhaps, no it was the beer garden of the rising sun!!! So off we went, positively charging down the hill, 50 thirsty trekers nothing could stop us now!!!
And so it was to come to an end, boots off, drinks in hand, smiley satisified faces, Well done to you all, I know the heat made it hard, but everyone stuck together, helping each other through each individauls' low points, but the satisfaction (or was it relief!) at the end was fantastic!!! But lets remember why we were doing it, to raise money for breakthrough, so get the money in and lets help breakthrough continue with the good work. But from they guys at Walkwise can I personaly say a huge thank you, I think you were all amazing, it was a pleasure to meet you all. Thanks for coming and thank you for being yourselves, it was a pleasure