Bob and Ian’s Successful Walk

Of the South Downs Way































Rotarians Ian Hunt and Bob Hamblyn

walked the 106 miles South Down Way

– from

Winchester to Eastbourne - over 5 days –

14th to 18th June 2011.

Averaging  over 20 miles per day.


The ‘Friends 2011 Special Project is to raise £127,000 for a Clinical Information System for the Intensive Care Unit of the District general Hospital., Eastbourne.




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Day 1  Tuesday


Hi Bill, We have just got back to the cottage having walked 24 miles from Winchester Cathedral to the A3. Three seriously challenging hills in full sunshine seriously sapped our strength.


We saw a buzzard soaring over the Meon Valley and a 4lb 7oz rainbow trout landed at Three Springs – the source of the River Meon, where we stopped for tea.


Ian has a small blister and Bob a sore toenail. We are both sitting with our feet in baths of salt water whilst the girls prepare supper.


We have only taken one wrong turning so far at a cost of about 200 yards. Ideal walking weather today with another fine day forecast for tomorrow, before rain on Thursday so we may put in a long push tomorrow. I will try and send you a photo or two from the iphone but I forgot the lead to transfer images from my camera to laptop.


Best wishes and thank you to all our supporters.


Ian and Bob


Day 2  Wednesday


Queen Elizabeth Country Park adjacent to the A3 was our starting point for a 25 mile leg to Amberley. The forecast had changed to  fine with possible showers in the afternoon. The terrain was far kinder than yesterday with much of the route through rolling farmland, and wooded slopes. The stunning blue flowers of fields of linseed were a memorable sight as was the delightful village of South Harting from the top of the Downs.


A few minutes after midday it started to rain - lightly at first. We donned our waterproofs which proved not to be, as the rain with increasing intensity with strong winds poured continuously until we were picked up at 6pm.


With water running out of our sleeves and squelching in our boots we eased into the back of the car and at the cottage stripped all possessions into the bath. Bob’s camera was a casualty not just from the rain but from an unscheduled extra rinse and tumble dry.


Tomorrow we have a short walk to recover, but only after we have bought waterproof ponchos!


                    Click on the video button to view “Ian has Style”

                                To exit the video click the ‘Back Arrow’ at the Extreme Top Left of your screen.



Day 3 Thursday


With the weather forecast as rain in the morning, we settled to start our shorter day after the rain stopped and plan for the forecast downpour due tomorrow. Worthing was the source of two ponchos each big enough for Pavarotti to get in twice! Ian pulled a muscle or tendon in his leg jogging to the shop and struggled hard to walk at all at first.


We resumed at Amberley, Ian’s determination prevailed and although we held a slightly slower pace, all went well until within an hour of the end of the day’s task and within sight of Lancing College and the old Shoreham cement works, we didn’t believe the signage and set off in the wrong direction. This was aided by reading the wrong map. 20 or so minutes later we realised something was wrong and retraced our steps – and added about 2 miles to our so called short day.


We had a real life hare and tortoise walk having caught up with a slower pair of walkers 3 times in all! The flint roads are hard on the feet and relief of the springy down land turf was a long time coming. We side stepped a dead wild boar on our way down and were soon over the River A run and to our pick up point at Beeding.


Early start tomorrow as we have a long leg to Southease and heavy rain is forecast from about midday. So we are in for a soaking and ponchos will be worn

                         This is a fresh water tap provided by Rotary Clubs in the Amberley/

                                                 Storrington area  as a centenary service project for walkers on the                                                  South Downs Way. Good idea?

                                                 Next photo is of the plaque




Day 4  Friday


With the girls up before 6am and the cottage cleared, we started our walk from Beeding at 7.40. All went well for about 3 hours until we were just over the A23 walking up to the ‘Jack and Jill’ windmills at Patcham. Then the rain started, so time to don our new ponchos`. Bob had bought a heavyweight ex WD type which weighed about 5lbs. That proved to be the only one in stock, so Ian bought a nylon poncho weighing about 5 ozs.


We fought against torrential rains and high winds for the next 5 hours. Stabbing the bottom of the ponchos with our walking sticks was the only way to keep them down to cover our shorts and away from our bodies.


Ian’s strained leg was much the same as the day before but he pressed on and we made good time. A hot all-day- breakfast, baguette and tea at the roadside cabin near the Newmarket Inn at 1.30pm renewed our spirits and we set off for Kingston Hill. After a brief respite of lighter rain, torrential rain returned with a vengeance in a gale force wind. At times Bob didn’t know whether to set a jib or put in                                                                              a reef.


                                                                             In a nutshell, Ian was as dry as a bone and Bob might not                                                                              have been wearing a poncho at all as the rain drove straight                                                                              through it. No wonder the British Army are described as                                                                               being ill equipped Our boots had been swimming for hours                                                                               but Bob’s sodden shorts and top  soon led to sore thighs.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                              With 22 ½ miles completed as planned we were met at                                                                              Southease by Pat and Claire at about 4.40. Bob stripped off                                                                               all in a farmyard and donned dry clothes kindly brought by                                                                               Pat. Ian had his sodden feet patted dry by Claire!


                                                                              Despite the challenges thrown at us and the obvious gaps                                                                               in our planning, we thoroughly enjoyed our battle with the                                                                               elements and will finish the job tomorrow as planned.

Day 5 Saturday.

A night in our own beds saw us refreshed but both slightly the worse for wear and having to manage Ian’s blistered feet  and Bob’s chaffing thighs. After driving through a heavy downpour we met at Southease to start our last leg at about 10am.


Being kitted out with full proper waterproofs was sufficient to convince the rain gods that it wasn’t worth dropping their product on us, so we had a dry walk all the way. Toasted teacakes at Alfriston and a pint of Harvey’s best at the Eight Bells, Jevington were our minor rewards in anticipation of completing our challenge.


Tony and Rosemary Cameron with black spaniel Jensen joined us at Butt’s Brow for the last 2 miles. The sight of the bunting and ‘welcome home’ party outside 41 Compton Drive prompted  us into a spontaneous sprint for the last 100 yards.

We were joined by  40 or so family and friends for tea and cakes. Peter Nash gave a vote  of thanks and Ian thanked all those who had supported us, especially our logistics team of Claire and Pat to who Ian and Bob presented flowers.

 It remains for us to sign off and thank everyone once more for taking   an interest in what we have been doing and for supporting us with sponsorship for the Friends of Eastbourne Hospitals. The money has been rolling in and we are optimistic that over £2000 will have been raised for their Clinical Information System Special Project 2011.


                                                                        Ian and Bob

Bob-Ian styleIMG_0069.MOV Today’s Start By the river At Amberley

 Worthing was the source of two  Ponchos each big enough for Pavarotti  to get in twice!


Click to enlarge


ROTARY CLUB OF EASTBOURNE