Of the South Downs Way
Rotarians Ian Hunt and Bob Hamblyn
walked the 106 miles South Down Way
Winchester to Eastbourne -
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.
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 -
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”
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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-
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
Worthing was the source of two Ponchos each big enough for Pavarotti to get in twice!