THE second day of my September 2019 trip continued two themes of the previous one. The first of those was distance, in that I’d have done another 26 miles by the end of it. The second was going by road instead of footpath, though I had no idea, when I set off, that that’s what I’d be doing.
AFTER the conclusion of my seven-day walking trip last April, I had blithely assumed that the next one would happen in May, or June at a push. As things turned out, they were far pushier than that. Due in part to my own commitments but mostly to difficulty in booking accommodation, I had to wait until September, by which time the glorious summer weather was pretty much over.
ON THE third day of my last walking trip, I awoke bright and early and — just for a moment — enjoyed very much the knowledge that it was Monday and that I had taken a day off and so didn’t need to get up for work. Also, as I would only be walking about ten miles that day, I didn’t need to get up early to start walking either.
I AWOKE bright and early in my dodgy-yet-pretentious hotel room feeling very hungry indeed. I had gravely miscalculated in not stopping to eat before getting to the hotel on Saturday night, despite passing a plethora of restaurants in Torquay, and had then felt too tired to go out and look for food upon arriving there. In consequence, I had gone to bed early on a sumptuous dinner of one packet of crisps and my body was demanding calories before it conquered any more hills.
SATURDAY’S walk marked the first occasion on these coastal perambulations on which I have not completed a section purely as a day trip. A friend, whom we shall here call ‘Alice’, has asked me several times when I’ll have to stop day-tripping and start staying over, and the answer is apparently now.
YESTERDAY was a much shorter walk of only eight miles, into which I managed pack a heady mixture of pain, fear, nausea, exhaustion and sheep.
I knew from the outset that I had limited time for the walk. Kimmeridge Bay has no public transport whatsoever, which meant catching a train to Wareham and then a taxi to Kimmeridge. I asked the taxi driver for an estimate of the cost before we set off and, very reasonable chap that he was, he turned off the meter when it turned out to be more.
ALTHOUGH I very much wanted to do another walk yesterday, my finances are dwindling and so I was in some doubt as to whether I should. Imagine my surprise then, when I found that by buying advance tickets (which restrict you to travelling on a specific train) I could travel First Class more cheaply than Standard Class.
FOLLOWING last Saturday’s fun and games, in which I came interestingly close to not so much shuffling off this mortal coil as slipping from it, I decided that I would continue my excursion around the Kentish coast. After all, the weather forecast was ‘sunny intervals with rain later’ and I still had more lovely cliffs to walk, with their slippery-when-wet clay topsoil.
As it happened, the rain didn’t even try to make a showing until after I’d come down from the cliffs and for this I was glad because one or two of them were quite scary enough as it was (I don’t like heights all that much and at a couple of points there was about a foot and half between the edge of the path and a very long way down.
TODAY I learned a terribly important lesson about the White Cliffs of Dover…
Do not walk them in the rain.
I also learned that while the Met Office is one of the world’s best weather forecasters, and not at all the running joke it was when I was little, they are still not always right. Today’s forecast for Kent was mostly for ‘sunny intervals’ giving way to rain tonight. What we actually got was intermittent showers giving way to rain by about four o’clock.