Oh dear it is a little while since I last wrote. Time flies ‘when you are enjoying (?) yourself. We have covered another 85 miles since Tring and I am now staying very comfortably with Rozzie and Jonny (my sister and brother-in-law). Very sadly my companion, pace maker and navigator Tom has had to head home. His lovely housekeeper Julia succumbed to the dreaded C and as her executor there were things he has to attend to which proved too difficult from here. So I am on my own which I need to get used to anyway.
As to where I am, I have now got to the end of the Ridgeway at Avebury and the next challenge is Salisbury Plain. Memories of army exercises coming flooding back desperately trying to find the one feature on the stark landscape known as the ‘lonely pine’. I wonder whether it is still there!
Back to the trail so far, most of the Ridgeway ..at least from Goring has been great walking. You would have loved it.. miles and miles of grass land and gallops … just your scene! However the first day out of Tring was horrendous. The morning was a pleasant walk along a canal but by lunch it had started to rain and the conditions underfoot appalling. We were fighting our way across one field when we noticed signs warning us that if we strayed across a line of markers we would be prosecuted under the Serious Crimes Act which I thought was a little over the top until I noticed a sign to Chequers! No invitation to tea and cakes ring forthcoming and Having waded through mud ankle deep for 5 hours we made Chinnor and were gathered up by Ki and Bobby Wylie with whom we spent two nights. On the second afternoon Ki collected us from our finish point in North Stoke in his beautiful convertible Bentley with cream interior. As we were climbing in covered in mud we were embarrassed to encounter a passing fellow trekker, who appeared very unimpressed.
Other wonderful hosts along the route have been Alexander and Kathryn Matheson and Heneage Legge Bourke . We have been so blessed with such long suffering ( mud!) and generous hosts.
There have bee quite a lot of other walkers, mostly day trippers. The usual question is where are you heading and ‘Spain’ quite often gives rise to the response ‘So not far then!’ .. or ‘ you going in the wrong direction’ or on one occasion..’So can’t afford the flight?!’
Flora and fauna wise..(and I know you would be more interested in the latter, Humphrey) spring is still around the corner. Still pretty bare but signs of greening up. Partridges paired up. Pheasants and ducks nesting. Mum tells me the Egyptian geese at home have appeared with a large brood of little ones. In some of muddiest woods there will be glorious acres of blue bells. Saw a sparrow hawk nail a field mouse or something of that type.. you would have been most impressed. Also lots of red kites down here.
Yesterday on the gallops on the Marlborough Downs I was able to measure my paces against the furlong markers. Now remembering there 8 to one mile, I calculated I take 2500 paces for every mile. That’s something like 3.5 million steps to Compostela. That must be worth something for those unsung unseen unpaid carers. see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ6tk0LR41w&sns=em
Enough for now. Send a big pat to your hairy peke friend Coco.
Your friend and master