I nodded again. She fetched the bottle of Tabasco she keeps just in case I show.
She loves a harmless little banter and, bless her, cooks fine eggs on toast. When she enquired where I’d been walking, and where I’ve stayed, I told her the South Downs Way and I’d spent two nights in the tent with no shower.
“You tramp! Started on Saturday? You’re going quickly! It’s ten miles to the finish. You going over the Sisters or past the Long Man?”
She referred to the Seven Sisters, a set of chalk cliffs that line the English Channel, proving one hell of a tiring finale to the Way; or the Long Man of Wilmington, a chalk figure carved into the north side of the Downs. It was once thought to have been created as far back as Neolithic times, but recent archaeological evidence suggests it may be as recent as the 16th or 17th centuries.
“I did the Sisters last year and I’ve never taken the route past the man so I’ll try that,” I replied, sipping on my coffee.
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“Well, you have a good climb from Jevington but after that you’re up on top ‘till Eastbourne.”
She was right, it was a stiff climb, seeming to go on forever but fuelled by my eggs and toast I made short work of it.
Arriving at the eastern terminus at 3pm, I had skimmed five hours off my time from last year and once again experienced my favourite English trail up close and personal. Eastbourne was bustling as always. A taxi took me to the rail station and I was back in Winchester at my car by 6pm
I love my local trail, you should come take a look.