Day 3 of the Cotswold Way began in Dursley, earlier than Day 1 & 2 as the forecast was for even warmer weather and for once the reports were correct! I had chosen to run with Donnie again, as I knew the mileage was going to be quite high until the changeover point and he is the youngest and fittest of my dogs.
The first 3 miles out of Dursley were steep uphills, followed by even steeper downhills, then uphill again, the hills being a recurring theme over the 3 days so far. After a relatively slow start due to the humidity and the difficulty of the ascents, we started to move a little bit quicker along the top of the ridge. We enjoyed a bit of sight seeing too, with plenty of local, ancient monuments including the Nympsfield Long Barrow.
Lots of the section following this was along the side of the hill, shaded under trees and there were bluebells everywhere, making the next few miles very pleasant. We made our way down into Stonehouse and crossed over the A419 and back up the other side of the valley through fields to take us to Standish Wood. It was at this point it really started to warm up and luckily there were some natural water points and troughs on the route for the dogs to cool off in.
The trails along through Standish Wood were absolutely stunning, relatively flat and again filled with bluebells. We made our way through the woods and then out into the fields to see more monuments, this time the Haresfield Beacon. I was getting really warm and we were stopping regularly, every mile or so, to keep checking the dogs were ok. Needless to say they coped far better than us humans did, never once showing the signs of being too warm. The regular stops did slow us down a fair bit though and so it was a welcome sight when we saw the stone marker which told us we had completed 55 miles of the whole route so far and 47 miles left to Chipping Camden, the finish point.
Once we got through Painswick, we had a dog swap and I paired up with Judo for the next leg of our journey. We had completed 17 miles in getting to the other side of Painswick and had another 10 to go but it had cooled down considerably, so we set off again intending to get some more running done. The wooded section we travelled along was again set in the side of the hill and afforded us some natural shelter from the sun, until we came out at the top of Coopers Hill, well known locally for the cheese rolling competition held there annually.
The last part of the journey was again down wooded trails set into the hill, until we reached the viewing point by Birdlip and we had to cross a very tricky section of main road from the Air Balloon pub across the A417 to Crickley Hill Country Park. The sun was out in full force and it was lucky we were nearing the end of the days miles so the dogs didn’t have far to go once we got into the park. We climbed the last mile to the top of Crickley Hill and posed for a quick photo to mark the end of a gruelling 27 mile day of canicrossing.