Way, way back in May, I was supposed to be doing an organised sponsored walk. Then I got ‘flu. Then I got a chest infection. Being quite ill prevented me from even starting that walk. However, I promised myself (and my sponsors), that I would still walk 20 kilometres for Parkinson’s UK, just… later. And in Hampshire, as opposed to Sussex (hey, even the environment wins: no need to burn diesel to get there).
Fortunately, our bit of Hampshire is on the edge of the North Downs, so the terrain is roughly similar to the organised walk, which was to be on the South Downs. For my disorganised walk, I have selected the hilliest bits that I could find locally, and incorporated them into a circular walk that is just over 20 km. As a bonus, the walk includes one of the most famous hills in the South of England: Watership Down.
Aside: Watership Down is famed for its association with the eponymous novel by Richard Adams (published in 1972) and the animated film, based on the novel, made in 1978. It’s about rabbits. But it’s not all cute and fluffy; the rabbits – while anthropomorphized enough to talk amongst themselves – live in the real world, where nature is red in tooth and claw. This story doesn’t pull any punches. It’s not a tale suitable for young children (she says, having read it for the first time aged 8, and having watched the film – through her fingers – at primary school).
But the place is pretty fantastic in its own right. It forms a ridge with Cannon Heath Down, and is one of the highest points in the area. A local racing stable maintains gallops along the ridge, which run alongside the splendid public footpath. There are fabulous views from the ridge, and Watership Down also boasts a trig point.
I have plotted my route; it’s 12.75 miles or 20.5 km. I’ll be posting the full route map, along with photographs, after the walk… which will be on Sunday 10th July. My intention is to walk regardless of the weather (or of the pollen count!), much as I would have done for the original organised walk.
I’m looking forward to it.
And you can still sponsor me…