Today I’ve been exploring with a friend around Blockley, Bourton Wood and along part of the Heart of England Way surrounding Batsford Arboretum. My companion for the day and I have once again had some luck with the weather. It’s been a little overcast at times – but otherwise when we arrived in at our staring point the little Cotswold village looked genuinely lovely.
Initially my cartographically obsessed friend had planned a ‘circular’ walk.
I’ve learned from experience during our recent exploits to take this term with a pinch of salt, and instead just trust that we will eventually return to our place of origin one way or another – and that in the process there may well be quite a few instances where we go ‘off piste’ or re-trace our steps.
In truth I love the intrepid nature of our walks, and the fitter I get the more I enjoy getting really stuck into places without any obvious paths where we need to trudge through the undergrowth and bracken.
Initially our starting point in Bourton Wood simply looked like a really nice place to explore, with a good variety of gradients on established tracks for some much needed exercise.
It soon became apparent though that a lot of the routes were more than a little boggy – and that if we wanted to avoid some deep, boot sucking mud we’d have to head away from the obvious routes and find new ones from A to B.
(Wait – what was that in the bushes? It sounds like something running away… Can’t see anything… Must have imagined it…)
After a bit of a false start we doubled back on ourselves and found a new way – heading off into unexplored territory.
This makes Davey HAPPY.
It transpired upon my return home that surreptitious photography had been taking place that documented my clambering through the undergrowth and my ginger reluctance to press on when faced with boggy conditions…
It was at the top of this particular hill (always looking for photo opportunities) that I decided to take some pictures of a particularly impressive wasp’s nest – and learned the hard way that they don’t like having a camera shoved in their faces.
The little swine that stung me made me drop my camera in the undergrowth – and (having never been speared by a wasp before) I was amazed at how much it hurt. It’s still throbbing as I type – around 6 hours later and feels like I slammed my wrist in a door.
It’s not a pleasant sensation and I doubt I’ll be quite so inquisitive when I find a wasp’s nest again…
(There’s that noise again… what’s in the bushes? It sounds like a bird…)
As we moved on I couldn’t help but stop and look at the fantastic little incidental details everywhere. There were some really really interesting bracken like leaves with furry growths on the back that felt just like the heads of bull rushes.
I’ve never seen them before and they’re great!
(Rustle rustle… What is that noise?!)
Soon after (with a bit more off piste navigation and a few moments to stop and look at the Ordnance Survey map) we exited Bourton Wood and found the small country lane leading to a field with a path to Batsford.
It was here, in the field, where we finally came across the culprits responsible for all the noises in the woods.
Armies of them.
After watching these wonderful creatures for a while we stopped to nibble on our packed lunches – and then moved on to the nearby village of Batsford – deciding as soon as we entered to stop at the homely looking Horse and Groom pub for a coffee.
Once we’d had a leisurely drink (and my friend had helpfully consumed my evil complementary shortbread biscuit for me) we moved down the hill toward the Arboretum – stopping on the way to have a look at the lovely old St Lawrence church – which dates back to 1206 (it’s first recorded mention).
Since I’m currently extremely skint going into the arboretum wasn’t on the plan for the day – and instead we were going to walk around the outskirts of it on the Heart of England Way in the hope that we might still catch a glimpse of the tree lines that people had paid to walk through.
Sadly we didn’t – but that didn’t really matter, because the views MORE than made up for missing out on a few pretty leaves. We also got to look at chickens.
And lets face it – who doesn’t love a chicken?!
It was at this point that my companion and I decided to try out the new ‘augmented reality’ element of the OS Maps application on my iPhone.
I have to say – I’m pretty impressed! It shows you where you are in relation to lots of other landmarks and makes finding out what you’re looking at REALLY REALLY easy!
This is one of those instances where I have to say my skepticism about what initially appeared to me to be a gimmick intended to get Pokemon obsessed nerds out of their houses proved to be unfounded.
I think I like augmented reality! In this kind of context it can be a genuine game changer for exploration!
Shortly after this we were back in Blockley – and the sun was now shining – making the whole walk back an even greater pleasure than we expected it to be. With a few detours along the way we’d travelled around 7 miles and had (as usual) conducted some excellent twalking along the way.
It was almost sad to be going home – when the place we were leaving looked so damn twee and English country garden!
Anyway – it’s been another smashing day for calorie burning – and I’m hopefully still on track for a good loss on Saturday!
Turn over to the channel of your choice NOW internet if you’re not interested in what I’ve been eating and doing for #onplanoctober!
Here is the breakdown for Wednesday 11th
(Toby Carvery nutrition link)
- 5 roast potatoes (10 syns) 430
- Slice of beef, turkey, pork and gammon. 200 (?)
- boiled cabbage 21
- Mashed swede 20
- Onions in gravy 30
- sliced boiled carrots 24
- 4 spoonfuls of mint sauce 40 (2 syns)
- Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
- 100g ham 119
- Slimming World hifi bar x2 146 (HE)
- 500g grated carrot 210
- Yellow pepper 30
- 3 small tomatoes 30
- Half iceberg lettuce 20
- spoonful of mint sauce 5
- Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
- 15 pitted green olives 60
- Can of tuna in spring water 120
- Can of mackerel in tomato sauce. 190
- Third of a cucumber 11
- 100g blueberries 43
- 250g frozen Aldi summer fruits 84
- 250g natural yogurt 154
Total calories consumed – 1970
- Active/total calories burned – 1217/3852
- Cardio minutes – 61
- Steps/miles walked – 18,526/9.54