The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Day 3 - Dunn St Farm to Bluebell Hill

24 March
Distance: 22 miles
Number of extaordinarily fluffy cats: 1

When we first started going on multi-day walks, I always found that Day 3 was the killer. The body was tired from the first couple of days, everything hurt and both body and mind objected to another full day of pounding. By Day 4 the body would settle down into acceptance that the abuse was going to continue no matter what.

As we started doing more walking, Day 3 Syndrome lessened, with no such protests being felt.

Perhaps it was a yearning, in my subconcious, to return to such Day 3 discomfort that made me throw a 22-miler in for today.

Given that my mind tends to protest at carrying a full pack for anything over 20 miles in a day, I can't claim to have been looking forward to it.

Now that it's through, I'm pleased to say that it was a Good Day.

We couldn't quite face getting up early enough to achieve 10 by 10, but thanks to the ease of the Pilgrims' Way, we sped along and I was shocked (and delighted) to find that we had covered 11 miles by elevenses (which fell at 11.15 today).

That was at the village of Hollingbourne, where the route left the Pilgrims' Way and went off uphill. In glorious sunshine we fairly skipped along, glad for the dry weather as some of the paths gave evidence that they would be horribly muddy and slippery when wet.

We then found that the route makers were having a laugh. Down a hill the NDW would go, only then to climb up again, with the only thing stopping a shorter route sticking to the ridge being the lack of a RoW. Again and again it did that, until the legs started to grumble that ups and downs just weren't fair on top of the mileage expected of them. And it had started to rain...

The rain came down with a bit of a vengeance whilst we were enjoying a splendid lunch in the pub in Thurnham, but by the time we left an hour later the sun was just breaking back through.

Having opted to take the Pilgrims' Way for the next couple of miles, rather than backtracking from the village to rejoin the NDW, we had only 6 miles left to cover. Pity that the couple along a very tiny lane turned out to be a rat-run for just about every white van in the South East.

Just as 'last half mile syndrome' kicked in our attention was diverted by Kit's Coty House (neolithic burial site remains), and then it was only half an hour to the Robin Hood Inn, which we had earmarked for a drink, a sit down and to top up our water for tonight.
It was shut! Eeek! We needed water! Fortunately, the owner saw us and opened up for us - and very grateful we were too.

With sundown approaching we ambled back off up the road until we found a corner of a field that's not quite as out-of-the way as I would like. I'll probably be awake half the night fretting about being caught by an angry landowner!

(Note to Alan: 2 pubs today - surely that's enough for you? And we walked past one other.
Martin: the cloth is not a threat, but I must remember to buy a new one ASAP. It's not the watch battery at fault - just that all of the buttons have ceased to function.
Robin: Have a good trip at Easter! Carneddau, is it?
Sophie: don't drink too much of that wine on my behalf - I don't want to wake with a hangover!)
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  1. The Carneddau is the plan at the moment. I'm hoping the weather is better than my last two trips! I'm already dreaming about it! Charlie is restarting her JOGLE from Edinburgh (where she retired hurt)on 12th April.You'll cross route somewhere but probably won't meet.

  2. Two pubs. That's more like it! Just for the rehydration, you understand. And the sit-down. And the lovely warm fire.

  3. I shall keep your wine drinking to a moderate amount for now...I'll look forward to that celebratory bottle of red when you finish (just for you of course).