Four days walking in Wiltshire, three different B & B’s, six of us who frequently walk together, coordinated and organised by Carol, our ‘Leader’.
It rained on the first day, exactly as forecast. I had my waterproof over-trousers with me (they are the most hated item of clothing I possess) but I couldn’t be bothered to put them on. So my legs were soaked. As was my rucksack. My feet were dry (new boots) but Barbara and Dave had leakages. We were a pretty sodden sight. Still, it was only eight miles and the rain eventually stopped. We went to Barbury castle, an iron-age hill fort, and ate our homemade cake.
There were a few navigational issues and when we realised we had gone round in a complete circle, revisiting the sights we’d seen a few hours earlier, eight miles turned into twelve. Neville blamed himself and insisted on buying the wine at dinner. We were well lubricated by bed-time.
The following day, it was Avebury and Silbury Hill. We walked to the Long Barrow and went inside.
The sun shone for the Autumn Equinox. This attracts interesting people. One girl played her guitar and sang beautifully. As we left, she blew us kisses and said we were angels. She wished us a good trip. I think she and her friends were already on theirs.
We passed a couple lying close and immobile on the grass and another girl cutting herbs outside her decrepit caravan. There was the sound of haunting music around the Avebury stones and peaceful people soaking up the energy. It was a good day.
Unfortunately, the landlord of our B & B for that night kept us waiting around an hour on his doorstep as he’d needed to shop for our dinner. This was worrying but the food was good even if the service was slow. Minor problem when Tony failed to notice the shower head in the bathroom filling his wash bag with water. Oh, well.
The following day was lovely. Good weather again, we walked to the white horse at Alton Barnes.
The dyke that separated the old counties of Mercia and Wessex centuries ago was still clearly visible. Rolling hills, easy going.
‘I wonder if we can see Stonehenge from here,’ Carol said, as we gazed at the view.
‘Not if you look in that direction,’ said Tony. ‘It’s north from here.’
‘No it isn’t, it’s south.’
‘Bottle of champagne on that.’
I asked Tony if he was sure. ‘Would I bet a bottle of champagne if I wasn’t?’
It’s comforting to know my husband’s super sense of direction occasionally lets him down. I don’t feel so bad about mine. He’s off to buy the bubbles.
Final day, and a walk around the Chutes. It was the sloe walk. That isn’t a spelling mistake. There were loads, an additional weight in the rucksacks but we look forward to tasting Barbara’s sloe gin at Christmas. It was meant to be a short, easy walk. Something went wrong again, we missed the path and ended up plodding uphill through a rough field with holes to grab the unwary foot. This brought us to a road but no gate or stile. Fortunately the wire fence was neither electric nor barbed. We clambered over it inelegantly, only one of us falling. No damage apart from wounded pride.
We’re looking forward to our next walk. Carol insists we’ll take the champagne with us. That’s bound to help the navigation.