Ohiopyle Hiking Trails Map

A few minutes later I was tucking into breakfast – with homemade baked beans none the less -plus an Americano with an extra shot. Sunday shoppers milled around in body warmers confirming it wasn’t just me who thought it was cold. Before long I had walked through the centre, past the old city walls, past wonderfully twisted and contorted buildings, through the outskirts and then spilled out into the Kent countryside once more. I still had twenty-three miles to Dover, not a place I wanted to be searching for somewhere to sleep so I racked up more miles during the afternoon shift, keeping to the plan of getting through Dover.

At 6pm I crested a hill to be met with the sight of the English Channel, glinting in the sporadic afternoon sun. I descended through narrow country roads and tracks, past farms and smallholdings. Cows looked at me strangely as they chewed from side to side; lambs still young enough to jump and spring did just that. The green gave way to Dover itself, where uninspiring buildings but occasionally wonderful architecture saved the day. It was getting late. I knew I’d be shattered at camp, ready for nothing but sleep, so I wolfed down some chicken and chips and did my best to avoid several individuals sitting on the path asking me for money.

Ohiopyle Hiking Trails Map Photo Gallery

The ferry ports buzzed with departures and arrivals and truck engines moaned up the steep motorway out of Dover. I was out the other side at least and as the houses gave way I passed under the main road, eyeing up a steep hill to the top of the cliffs. I shouldn’t have worried – after walking for fourteen hours I was flying, although tired beyond belief. I sped up the ascent on the home straight. The occasional bout of vertigo kicked in as the path moved mere feet from the edge and I gazed down a few hundred feet to the shore below, separated by a flimsy steel fence. The sun was setting, streaking the sky with a good omen of orange as ships sailed in the channel. I passed pillboxes and World War Two artillery emplacements guarding the waters, eerily silent but still commanding. Placing a groundsheet in the lee of an old building I was too tired to do anything but glance at the mileage on my watch. I smiled at the screen – just over forty miles – and promptly fell fast asleep.

For eight miles the NDW hugs the coast from Dover along an uninspiring section, often next to the road, before twisting north-west to head back to the trail split and finish line. As I headed inland, the road noise faded and, if I ignored the railway lines serving the channel tunnel, I was back in gorgeous countryside. Passing more ancient hill forts, I relished a warmer day when the wind relented. I reached the charming village of Wye and grabbed a quick coffee before the cafe closed for lunch (how can a cafe close for lunch?). Deciding to head for Boughton Lees, a village just short of the finish, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the Tickled Trout pub hunkered up next to the River Stour. An old stone bridge arced over the water, a few drinkers sat by its banks and it took little to get me inside for a pint and food. I promised to come back and visit Wye, and the other places I had walked through.

Those final few miles to Boughton Lees summed up a great few days. Like a final mixed farewell summarising the highlights I made my way through woodland, bright yellow fields, along the tops of rolling downs, over tinkling streams, and along shaded tracks before coming back to the trail split. I had completed 156 miles in four and a half days, the farthest I had ever walked in that time. I placed my pack down and lay on the cricket green waiting for a taxi to take me to the rail station, and then I smiled – tired but satisfied after a very healthy fix of English countryside.

Ohiopyle Hiking Trails Map Photo Gallery

Leave a Reply

forty five − thirty seven =