Here is Carol's report of the South Downs Way walk:
As the Cashier in the Winchester Cathedral tea rooms looked at my boots and general state of dishevelment she questioned me: "Come far love?"
"Yes" was my hot and enthusiastic reply "Eastbourne, South Downs Way 100 miles!".
Startled at my reply and not a bit eager to process my order for a large pot of tea and mouth-watering cherry cake she quizzed me for additional information "When did you start?"
"Oh, last July, it's been quite an adventure".
The tea and cake were true rewards for the ramble that took twelve gallant trampers over some of the most stunning countryside you could ever wish to walk. We dined in places with views to sustain any appetite, the walk kept us fit, allowed us the luxury of companionship, along with moments of silence and the privilege to experience the wonders of nature as each season interchanged with the terrain. The path will for us all be synonymous with fine hot weather starting on one of the hottest days of 2006 and culminating in the hottest April day of 2007.
Each of the path's sections had its own adventure, we walked past the naked rambler, we stumbled through an investigation that made the day seem like we were in a Midsomer Murders TV drama, we benefited from free takeaway food as pheasants fell from the sky, we endured traffic problems and parking tickets but still we marched on until finally reaching the steps of Winchester Cathedral...
It's not the miles more the memories you carry back from a walk that makes it special, for me when travelling on the busy roads below the South Downs there will always be a smug sense of satisfaction, for I and twelve others know that high above the traffic din there are beautiful places that only can be reached by foot dotted with restful mounds that offer inspirational retreats and pleasurable seclusion.
Big thank you to leaders Tricia and Peter and Plan B leader Muriel.
(Photos: C Collins)