This was supposed to be one long walk of six hours, but didn’t quite turn out like that. We drove to Exton in the Meon valley and planned a walk that would start off with some hilly bits, as close to the Andes as the South Downs gets. We managed quite nicely up Old Winchester Hill, thought about how much more out of breath we might be at 14,000 feet, admired the bronze age earthworks then down to the pub for a quick lunch. That came to nearly 6 miles, about half the walk.
As we ate our lunch in the pub garden it started to rain. Laurie didn’t have her waterproof jacket (I smugly had mine in the rucksack) but neither of us had waterproof trousers so (being a gentleman) I gave her my jacket and we decided on a 2 mile shortcut back to the car, nip home for more waterproofs and resume part two in the New Forest even if it was still raining. However it wasn’t just rain. It was a downpour with thunder, lightning, cats, dogs and probably frogs. It was raining so hard you couldn’t actually see and within 3 minutes I would have won a wet tee shirt competion. It took about 30 minutes to get back to the car, by which time our boots were full of water and squelching so we had to abandon the rest of that day as you can’t walk in wet boots and expect your feet to not disintegrate. We’ll need to do more during the week to make up.
Now we know that you really do need the expensive Goretex trousers or your boots could turn into paddling pools for the very rare Andean Poison Arrow and Panpipe Frog.