And it had all been going so well.
Apart from the brief hiatus in my training schedule caused by lack of liquid refreshment mentioned in an earlier post, I was beginning to feel pretty confident about my upcoming walking challenge. My new walking boots were wearing in nicely, I’d been letting my body slowly acclimatise to the rigours of long-distance walking by gradually increasing the mileage on each walk, and there hadn’t been even the hint of a blister so far.
But I think what I was most chuffed about was that I seemed to have finally discovered a sense of direction; which is not to say that I had experienced some kind of grand epiphany about my true vocation, but that I was simply enjoying the rather more prosaic sense of being able to accurately differentiate between left and right.
As I mentioned at the outset of this blog, my navigational skills (or complete absence of them) alone should have been a very convincing argument for not even contemplating walking The Santiago Way, and yet somehow I’ve been confidentially negotiating an eclectic and largely unfamiliar mixture of urban and rural walkways without even thinking about resorting to my iPhone sat nav. Until now.
Perhaps it was just that there was a bit of complacency creeping into my walk planning. After the extravagant beauty of the last walk (see previous post), I thought I’d explore some more of the immediate surrounding area and via a brief bit of Googling found what looked like pretty gentle 9 mile countryside stroll along another section of the River Ouse, starting and ending at the heritage railway Lavender Line station in Isfield, East Sussex. Given that it looked like there were only minimal diversions from a single public footpath, I didn’t even bother to download directions.
And I’m not going to even attempt to provide any here because I somehow managed to turn 9 miles into 14, most of which involved walking the same sections of the footpath twice. It never ceases to astound even me that if I’ve got the option of going in two different directions, I will set off in one of them with utter conviction that I’m going the right way and get it wrong every single time. Something tells me that I’ll be seeing considerably more of Spain than I’m planning to (and quite feasibly bits of France, Portugal and Morocco as well).
But then again, with a bit of time to spare, I can think of worse things to do than getting lost in the English countryside on a summer’s day.