From Down Under to South Downs
Having grown up in Burgess Hill, many moons ago, I thought it would be a good idea to tackle the South Downs Way and see the changes that have occurred since I left for Oz 40 years ago.
Despite the many offers from friends in Sydney to accompany me, I was adamant that this would be a solo effort. My wife of course suggested I was mad, or at least having a mid-life crisis, but no that was not the case. it was simply one of things that had to be done.
Commencing in Winchester, on Tuesday May 4th and with an expectation that any weather that was not cold, wet and windy would be a bonus, I set off with what turned out to be a overly -heavy pack. The wet-weather gear, fleecies etc never saw the light of day, as the weather was cloudless sky and sunshine for the entire walk.
Given the time of year accommodation in pubs was easy to find, although the walk back up the hill each morning led to serious complaints from all muscles from the neck down! The Castle In at Bramber sticks in my mind as it doubled as the local polling station for the General Election!
Is it lonely doing the walk on your own? Not if you enjoy your own company, but when you start to talking to the cows then it's probably time to drop into a local for a pint or two. The patrons in all pubs were very chatty and this made up for the solitude during the day, although by 9.00pm the body is screaming out to be laid horizontal and the band aids on the blisters need changing!
Has Eastbourne ever seemed so attractive when you are dreaming of a deep bath?!I did take a rest from mid-day Friday, when I arrived at Jack and Jill windmills, to Sunday afternoon, to catch up with old schoolmates from Haywards Heath Grammar School (as it was then known). I can recommend such a strategy especially for those of you of my vintage! It was fortuitous as that weekend saw three charity bike rides on the SDW, but I did catch the tail end of them on the Sunday; most of the riders showed appropriate decorum!
Overall, a great experience and one I strongly recommend, although I suspect I will need to accrue a lot more Brownie points on the home front before I tackle anything similar!