Stop Press. It’s stopped raining.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, that’s no longer true – I’m sitting at home looking out at yet another June downpour, having just heard on the radio that the Met Office has coined a new term to describe the weather for the coming months: “an umbrella summer”. Marvellous.
Those quintessentially British summer calendar events, Ascot and Wimbledon threaten to be distinctly wet underfoot, and even our chance to shine as a nation as hosts of the 2012 Olympics look likely to be severely compromised by the prospect of relentless rain.
But we did have two whole days of the kind of glorious unbroken sunshine earlier this week that shows off the British landscape at its very best. So I grabbed the opportunity to pull on my walking boots to get out and improve on the kind of mileage I’ve typically been doing so far, and to get a better feel for the toll that walking an average of 22km a day is likely to take on my body when I’m on The Northern Way.
Which is, in fact, pretty much exactly the length of this walk – starting off by the River Ouse at Southease and ending back by Brighton pier, taking in a stunningly beautiful section of The South Downs Way en route.
If you’re ever in the area and have around 5 hours to spare (and in the unlikely event that it’s not raining) I can’t recommend doing this walk highly enough – you can find full details at The Saturday Walkers’ Club website; you’ll discover the kind of scenery that, according to cliche, will ‘take your breath a way’ or, if you’re anything like me, will make you laugh out loud at the sheer magnificence of it.
And in deference to that it seems appropriate to make this post predominantly visual. Which I’m sure will also be a relief for anyone who has made the effort to plough through previous posts, which seem to be gradually increasing in length to the extent that keeping all of this up on a daily basis whilst in Spain will be completely impossible. So here are a few images and as few words as possible to give a flavour of the walk.
From the photos I’ve seen of the Camino these tracks, pretty as they are, are likely to pale into insignificance in comparison to the huge stretches of Spanish road along The Way disappearing off into the horizon. Nevertheless, I think the views on reaching the summit of this particular climb can hold their own against some pretty stiff competition: