The Ridgeway National Trail from Avebury to Ivinghoe Beacon is 87 miles and I left the last four or so, between Tring Station and Ivinghoe itself to complete early one morning. I walked the Ridgeway over the course of six days but because I was about to finish it on a busy Saturday and the experience had been so fulfilling and profound for me I wanted to complete my trek in the spiritual calmness of early morning.
The Lovely T got up with me very early on the Sunday morning and drove me the ten or so miles from my home village to Tring Station and I completed the last few miles as dawn broke.
The climb up to the top of the beacon was not difficult after the fitness I had acquired in just walking for a week. I was alone as I mounted the summit. A couple of red kites flew overhead. These birds had been my constant companions on day four of The Ridgeway and also on day five of walking the Ridgeway) and well-wrapped up against the cold I took the view.
I felt fulfilled that I had managed this trek alone. The signposting had been good and I had found my way with no difficulties. I had faced days one and two – those long, long walks for seemingly endless miles without meeting a soul happy in my own company. The birdsong and my own voice keeping me going. The whole experience had been amazing and one I would recommend to anyone. It has given me determination to attempt some longer walks and to attempt more things that are slightly out of my comfort zone.
Walking the Ridgeway National Trail alone was for me deeply meaningful and an achievement of which I am proud.
(The following year I went on to walk The Pilgrims’ Way from Winchester Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral as a Gratitude Pilgrimage – I was featured on Radio 4’s Programme “Ramblings” presented by Clare Balding. I now give talks about my experience along the Pilgrims’ Way. My book “The Woman Who Walked Through Fear” will be published shortly.)
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