Friday, 26 April 2013

57 - Cleeve Hill - Gloucestershire - 23rd April 2013

Its been a bit difficult to get out climbing recently but now the warm weather is coming back it was time to get back out there and get climbing, I have been running out of local hills to climb so it was now time to start travelling further afield, I had been planning this trip for a while and it would involve a stop over somewhere to make things easier.

My first destination on this trip was Cleeve hill, the highest point of Gloucestershire, it overlooks Cheltenham and is about a 2 hour drive from Portsmouth. I left home and drove along the M27 and up the M3, then following the A34, then along the M4, At Swindon I turned off and followed various roads into Cheltenham and eventually I saw Cleeve hill and headed towards it.

The first trig point

The view west with my next climb in the far distance
I parked in the village of Cleeve hill in a layby and got my kit ready for my climb to the top of the hill, there would actually be a series of hills for me visit here, so I headed off up the first hill, It didn’t take me too long to get to the top, it was pretty steep but I was up there in about 20 mins, a lot of the area is a golf course but it is open common land too so not a problem to walk around on as long as you watch out for golf balls.

The High point of Gloucestershire
At the top of the first hill was a trig point and a small structure showing various sights to look out on the horizon, the view was spectacular from here, down below me was the town of Cheltenham and I could clearly see the world famous race course, I could also see Gloucester in the distance. The other thing I could see was my next hill to climb but more about that later on.

Relaxing at the high point

I now walked to the next hill, down a small dip and along in a straight line towards a trio of communication masts, this was about a half hour walk from the last hill top but this one was the highest point of Gloucestershire, There was a trig point marking the exact location at 330 meters, the views were good but not as spectacular as the last hill overlooking Cheltenham. I stayed here and ate my lunch, it was nice sitting here with very few people around.

West                                                  North                                                  East

It was now time to head back to my car, I actually walked a little towards the south and stopped off at another viewpoint, it was here I saw the Lone tree, the highest tree in the Cotswolds, it is a very windswept tree and it has a small wall around it which is used as a memorial, there were more amazing views over Cheltenham from here.

The Lone Tree
I now had to head back to the car, it was not far from here, just 15 to 20 mins walk and I was back where I started, it was an awesome walk with some amazing views for miles around.  I now headed west across the M5 and across the River Severn, arriving at my campsite where I pitched my tent for the next 2 nights. It was a nice quiet campsite, in a field next to a pub, I say quiet, the only other occupants were the sheep in the field next door but that was fine, they kept me company for the duration, that evening I had a lovely barbeque and then headed off to bed ready for my next climb tomorrow.

Cheltenham with the Racecourse
To be continued . . . . . . . 

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