Compared with last weekend, this might have been a bit easier. We walked along the Pilgrim’s Way from Winchester to Upham and back, a round trip of only about 14 miles. No, no, no. It turned out to be either walking up hill or downhill. Even the level bits seemed to be hills (see photo – and yes, once again I had to run ahead to get the picture). So quite good preparation for the Andes (although I imagine the air isn’t quite as thin on the North Downs), but what with some very rugged and slippery slopey terrain undefoot we were beginning to feel we were progressing from ramblers via hikers to trekkers. But then you have to respect our predecessors the pilgrims who used this very path without Scarpa boots, Goretex or Compeed.
We managed to get lost again just before lunch (becoming a bit of a theme). This time we ended up in a field where a bunch of cows suddenly formed a line and stared at us menacingly. True to walking mythology we suddenly realised they didn’t have udders. Luckily they weren’t actual bulls, as Laurie pointerd out, they were steers and in a sort of macho adolescent kind of way were doing their best to be aggressive, nudging each other and saying “go on, you gore them to death”, then realising they didn’t really have the balls for a fight they moved off sideways. Later on we met a deer suddenly right in the middle of a field.
Apart from the foot pains (which I’ll discuss separately), we both got home feeling completely exhausted and aching from head to foot, on account of the amount of gradients involved. We also woke up feeling the same which was a bit disheartening: the trek is only 3 weeks off now. However it seems that this happens: you wake up thinking you can’t possibly even move for a day, but once you haul yourself out of bed and stretch a bit, the aches sort of subside. (But only “sort of”). I feel I could have gone on another walk today, but it wouldn’t have been easy. Next weekend is the 2 x eight hours. Aaagh, still I’m very grateful we are keeping up with the prescribed training schedule. And it’s great to see some of the best bits of rural England. Here are some pics of just a couple of the sights that helped the Pilgrim’s feel it was all worthwhile:
Especially this after a long walk uphill getting lost in the rain: