Now....I hate the rainy/cold/overcast weather with which the green and pleasant land I was born into is blessed....and I become rather grumpy and melancholy when this delightful gloom resists the factor that it is in fact supposed to be summer....grrrrr.....the last two week however have resembled something on par with those summer days which you remember from childhood....obviously most of which has been viewed through the glass from my till point. But I do get days off and a wonderfully well trained father who jumps to attention when I shout 'walkies' at the first sign of sunshine.
Dad goes beating during the winter months...this, for those not in the know, involves trudging through woodland and fields in wind, rain and snow persuading pheasants into the air so blokes with guns can shoot at them.....the plus side of this is that dear 'ol dad knows all the interesting routes up on the Downs (yes I’m aware of the contradiction) of which we made a beeline for twice this last week.
The first walk, an easy 4 mile I was assured, began with a gradual climb to the top...during which we were passed by several 'serious' cyclists, complete with spandex togs (not exactly what one wishes to see on a Sunday afternoon)....a few minutes later a straggler who had given up trying to cycle the hill asked as to the location of the South Downs Way to which my father kindly pointed out he was already on it...'and how far does it go' the puffing cyclist inquired....'all the way to the pub' my ever helpful father assured the man.My main stipulation as to the location of our route from me to dear 'ol dad was to see some 'wildlife', because the glorious English countryside aint enough for a fussy madam like I. So at the top of the track we clambered over a fence into a field (something incredibly difficult to do whilst looking ladylike) and ventured across a field to a hidden style positioned in the corner…dad assured me this was still part of the maintained route and that there would be a short walk through a fairly steep wooded area in which we would possibly see some deer if we were quite…..dad’s first mistake here was that when he usually ventures down this track it is winter and therefore devoid of the foliage currently growing around the style (which was also ridiculous high)….he’s second was the pair of shorts he had decided to wear as he jumped down into a bed of brambles and stinging nettles.
The ‘fairly’ steep wooded area actually turned out to be ‘ridiculously’ steep and involved much grasping of tree limbs whilst less than elegantly sliding across loose soil on hands, knees and occasionally arse, much to the amusement of the small herd of deer who passed effortlessly across the track a few yards in front of us.
After pausing for sustenance (consisting of sausage rolls, pork pies and cheese) eaten while balancing on a fallen tree trunk…we slid (dad deciding to use the trunk of a dead tree as ballast…providing the comedy moment of snapping and the flash of pensioner plus tree part overtake me on the slope) our way down to a barb wire fence, which dad insisted included a hole….right up to the point I tore the crotch of my jeans while clambering over the darn thing….’guess they fixed the fence’ dad surmised…..merciful Zeus!
So, anyway….the return to the car was uneventful, wandering past so less than bothered cows in a field and then down a couple of country lanes before heading back to the car the final half mile uphill….joy. Here's some pics from that day:
The view from the top of the Downs
Coming out of the woods
That was walk one…walk two a few days later was considerably hotter though less eventful…..but still provided many postcardy type moments…..see below (again I've marked the route...gotta love Google Earth):