Well, it's that time of year: when the days reach their longest extent and midsummer madness strikes. And the thought strikes me: it's been a couple of years since we took full advantage with a marathon walk. To this end I present to you: the western reaches of the South Downs, from Petersfield to Winchester.
Remeasuring it on the map, I actually find it's not quite a marathon: at 23 miles (36 km) it falls slightly short of that Olympic goal. But once you factor in walking to the station in the morning and back...
And with a good few ups and downs (the South Downs are famed for their ups), this is not a walk for the faint-hearted (-or legged). But with fine views, glorious green fields, chocolate-box villages and some very nice pubs. (Despite the length of the walk, there will be pubs, including the inevitable one for lunch, which is a real corker: http://www.theshoeinn.moonfruit.com/#/exton/[masked] ). And ending up in the lovely cathedral city of Winchester, with its ample opportunities for R&R.
But it would be remiss of me not to take this opportunity for a few passive-aggressive notes. I do like the occasional passive-aggressive note.
- Please don't sign up for this walk unless you are sure of covering the distance. There are few if any public transport connections along the way, so if you can't you'll probably end up in a taxi.
- Given the length of the walk, you'll need to do it at the pace I set, which will be a committed, but eminently do-able, 3mph (give or take, I don't (yet) have an inbuilt speedometer).
- This will be a long old day! Don't make any evening plans.
That all said, it's gonna be great! NB I am going to be out of the country and away from email until the week before the walk, so there might be a delay in responding to any queries. I will endeavour to do so on my return though! As ever I shall get group tickets for the train when we are all assembled. The train fare will probably be a little more than usual - I estimate around £20.
Marvellous - see you there!