A year almost to the day after setting off from the Cathedral City of Winchester to walk the Pilgrims’ Way I returned to the City with a different adventure in mind – the 100 mile South Downs Way from Winchester to Eastbourne.
The tombstone to the “Hampshire Grenadier” is still there; the Cathedral is still a place of beauty and wonder and King Alfred still commands his position – the weather, however, was slightly different!
I have fond memories of eating scones and strawberry jam sitting outside the Cathedral Cafe last year and lazing in the sun listening to a busker at the Buttermarket. This year my wandering was done well wrapped up below the threatening black clouds overhead. However, the City is still beautiful and I took the opportunity to visit The City Mill and its S Downs Way display to prepare myself for the challenge ahead. The 100 mile route from Winchester to Eastbourne was detailed on a large scale map.
Last minute changes to my plans meant that the lovely T had travelled down with me and was unexpectedly available to transport luggage and support me if I ran into difficulties. I also hoped that he would be able to join me for some parts of the walks.
We stayed the night in accommodation close to the village of Exton where the first day’s walking was due to end and the plan was for T to transfer me back to Winchester for an early start the next morning and then meet me back in Exton late that afternoon. We both did that thing of checking every single weather report we could connect to on the internet to try and find one which did not show a thunderstorm forecast for the next day – without success.
Never mind. The weather cannot always be perfect. Our farmhouse B and B was superb and I rested well before the first 12 mile walk the next day.