Mick wasn't impressed by my car park choices on this trip as we arrived at our start point and, for the second time out of two, a height barrier was present. Fortunately, there was a spot we were able to leave Colin just outside of the barrier. Unfortunately it was on a bit too much of a slope to make morning coffee a comfortable affair.
We could have approached this one from the nearest road, which lies only 100m or so from the summit, but I fancied the walk in, along the South Downs Way, from the windmills known as 'Jack and Jill'.
My resolve for the longer walk was tested as rain started on the drive there and became increasingly heavy as we lunched (Colin was masquerading as a horsebox at this point as, once again, the car park bore a height barrier, and the signage was quite clear that the spaces outside were for horseboxes only. As those spaces were all empty and the weather foul, we didn't think it was a problem to take one).
It was in the same heavy rain that we set out, me fully waterproofed, Mick in running gear. He had soon trotted off into the distance, next to be seen as he passed me on his return.
It looked like it would be a lovely walk on a fine day, but with the rain lashing and the cloud brushing the path, it was one to be walked as fast as my little legs could carry me.
I was quite soggy by the time I got back to Colin, making me pleased that, two days ago, I finally got around to putting some hooks up on Colin's wet room walls. I bought the hooks about 3 years ago. It took me five minutes to fit them. Always the way with those little jobs, isn't it? (The lesson was learnt a while later that it is wise to remove the toilet roll before hanging wet clothes above it...)
With the wetness getting worse, I would undoubtedly have called it a day after Ditchling Beacon if it hadn't been for the fact that Cliffe Hill required a trespass across a golf course and it seemed to me that two hours before dark on a very wet day with visibility down under 100m was probably a good time for a bit of solitude for my tortious act.
My ploy worked. Can't say it was fun, though, particularly the bit when I had to put my wet stuff back on and the bits when I had to get myself over an unstable double-barbed-wire-topped fence which had chicken wire on the lower section (i.e. nowhere to put your foot for the leg-up bit of the process).
The other two hills which had been pencilled in for today didn't happen. Aside from the weather, there wasn't enough daylight. So, we joined the horrible Friday afternoon traffic on some flooded roads with the windscreen wipers on their 'crazy speed' setting.
Total mileage for the day was around 8.5 miles. Off the top of my head, I've no idea how much up there was.