Well you might see me before you get this. Never mind as you might like to read about it all anyway.
At about 5.30 yesterday afternoon Michael Gurney and I arrived on the beach by Weymouth. What a welcome sight that was but I need to keep reminding myself that I have a long way to go. So far I have walked for 18 days, been through 11 counties and covered 287 miles. That’s nearly 11 marathons!
My friends and family have been a huge support, accompanying me (Michael did all the map reading and gate opening yesterday… one time up to his ankles in slurry trying to undo a Gordian knot as clearly the unfriendly farmer did not welcome ramblers) .. ferrying to and from their lovely homes, feeding me and encouraging. Loved seeing Alec and Vivi Armitage on our final dinner hosted by Nigel HP in his local and wonderful pub. I fear life may not be as easy in France.
The last two days through Dorset have been very beautiful with the exception of a couple of incidents. The first happened having walked quite a way through waterlogged fields then to be confronted with a river of slurry which needed to be forged. Having examined all the available options including calling for helicopter support we decided there was nothing else for it but to wade through. After that nothing was going to stop us. The second I have mentioned trying to undo knots ankle deep in the stuff.
But we have also enjoyed some glorious moments, as would you no doubt! Happy Conversations with shepherds and others on the route, gambling lambs on green escarpments on the Downs, and disturbing a cock pheasant enjoying a sunny afternoon with two girlfriends… one of the girlfriends headed off on a short flight in to a field of rape with the cock in hot pursuit with rape in mind when another cock alerted to the approach leapt high in to the air to defend his territory. We were not able to observe the outcome. We came upon a particularly beautiful church in Compton Vallence and spent a few minutes there in quiet reflection enjoying the birds song outside. Could easily have stayed there for a while longer. We met Alan on our way through Frome St Quentin. He was stood by a little stream, apparently the source of the river Frome and there by the pool of water was a little brush hung on a post which he had placed for walkers to clean their boots, which of course we did thinking we had a clear run through to Nigel HP our next host. How wrong we were!
Other highlights were the coffee shop in Sherbourne were we met a small group of cheerful retirees (men) who meet there everyday. I suggested they looked to me like the Dorset equivalent of ‘Last of the summer wine’ which they took in good heart but there was no sign of Nora Batty!
Its been a great couple of weeks. Challenging but rewarding. Little rain amazingly but just managing the aftermath. Time for a rest to sort out the physical niggles.
Stay with me till the next episode. Might write to tell you about The holiday in Ireland.
from your friend and master