My second floor room at Blair House in Winchcombe, UK faces due east on Gretton Road, which climbs uphill. The ubiquitous chatter of finches and urgent who-whooing of doves (some would say pigeons) greets me at sunrise. I seem to be back in my Stateside habit of rising with the sun. I notice that the rectangular patches of sunlight on the wall above my head has the filmy pattern of old glass. The honey colored glow bouncing off the walls of my room may mean a drier day today.
Yesterday’s intermittent showers didn’t put a damper on my enjoyment of walking, but it did curtail the use of my Cannon compact camera. That spent most of the eight miles tucked away in its snap top food container in my raincoat pocket. I had to laugh at my profile–my least flattering bulges were bulked up by the addition of gear stowed in my coat’s inside pickets. These pockets are a boon when traveling, and I made a mental note to add a lightweight vest with deep mesh pockets on the inside to my Goodwill store shopping list when I get home.
Speaking of gear: outfitting yourself properly can make a real difference in the quality of your trip. I’m not one to gear up or get excited about brand names by purchasing a lot of new stuff, but this trip called for a lightweight day pack and rugged but featherweight pants. Both of of these acquisitions, along with my new Keenes, have proved invaluable. I was happy to unzip the Camelbak M.U.L.E.’s dandelion yellow rain cover and secure it over the pack yesterday, and the Royal Robbin Cardiff pants are so light I have to look down occasionally to see if I’m really wearing something on my legs, even when they’re wet.
The literature provided by Contours, the booking agent I used to set up the Cotswold Way accommodations and baggage shuttle indicated that I should be prepared for rain and chilly weather, even in summer. That advice, and all their other instructions, have been right on target. They even warned about the mud.