This weekend we almost reached the extreme limits of human endurance – 6 hours walking the South Downs Way without a cup of tea. At one stage late in the afternoon we arrived at the top of a very steep hill where there was a lane. All we had to drink was two teaspoons of water in the water bottles (we’d frozen them but they hadn’t thawed out as it wasn’t as hot as expected so they were still mostly ice). “I could really kill for a cup of tea right now” I said. At that exact moment a car pulled up right next to us and 3 old ladies started pouring themselves cups of tea. I looked at the old ladies, then at my stout and sturdy trekking pole (aka stick). Then back at the old ladies slurping their tea without offering us any and back at the stick. Their lives were saved only by the arrival of a couple of miserable boy scouts. (Walkers in the country usually say “morning”, these ones just scowled and looked down at the ground).
This walk was basically the one we should have done last weekend if our boots hadn’t filled up with water. Except we did it backwards. (The route, not the walking). After a brisk 3 hour walk in the morning with lots of “up-hill-and-down-dale”, we stumbled across a very dead deer. Knowing that Jim (our 6 year old) would appreciate it, I packed its skull (complete with antlers) into my rucksack and headed on to the pub for a ploughman’s. (Hoping the deer’s head didn’t smell too badly). We’d actually seen a ploughman earlier so it seemed to be appropriate to eat a Ploughman’s. I just hope it wasn’t the last one as he might have been hungry.
We then set off for the afternoon. Laurie, feeling brave, thought we should also do a hilly walk in the afternoon so back up old Winchester Hill, but the steep route. It started to rain and of course this time we had our waterproof gear. Just as we almost got to the top of the hill we both realised how tricky this trekking malarky can be. Laurie’s feet swole and she realised that she should probably have bought some bigger boots, and my knees started to hurt. Blisters were there on the soles of my feet but a pain in the knees can be a real pain in the a***. Luckily Laurie had some anti inflammatories and I made it down the long long descent in one piece. I expected the worse and thought I’d wake up the next day needing crutches, but surprisingly I felt fine. Can’t wait for next weekend which is two 6 hour walks. That’ll be the real test.