South Down Way

Day Five - 10th April 2007: Bury to Bramber – 14 miles

I still had my friend, and by that I didn’t mean Rachel. I pressed it a couple of times while still in bed (my blister that is) and it didn’t seem too bad so I was taken by surprise somewhat when I swung my legs out of bed and attempted to stand up. Agony is a good word, a descriptive word, an accurate word, a very, very apt word at that particular moment in time. Now I was annoyed. Why the heck hadn’t I stopped to take the grit out the day before, why, oh why, oh why? It was too late now, and so I was faced with the decision to burst or not to burst. I decided to leave it alone and see how I got on.

Breakfast was very good with a huge selection of cereals and jams as well as the full English. The packed lunch was equally good with a slab of cake that we didn’t ask for but was very welcome. The weather was good once again but quite cold and so we put our fleeces on before setting off. We bade Carole goodbye and set of for the River Arun and the bridge that would take us over to the other side. I felt that we were on home turf to a degree. We knew Amberley quite well and had often driven through on the way to Portsmouth and the channel ferries but we had never walked there before.

Contemplating the day ahead beside the River Arun

Amberley Castle

We passed the sewage works and then began the climb up Amberley Mount which gave us glimpses of the Chalk Pits Museum, housed in, funnily enough, an old chalk pit. As we made it out onto the open hill side I had to stop and somehow try and make my heel a little bit more comfortable, but failed. I had already placed a Compeed plaster over it before we left the B&B but all the padding on the dressing did was to magnify the bubble. We continued on until we reached the top and decided to have a short break as the coffee from breakfast had worked its way to our bladders. I sat down and set about the blister. I decided to pop it and drain the fluid off. I then built up a layer of dressing all around it but nothing on the top of it. That way every time I put my heel down the padding took the full force not the blister. I felt it was a work of art and Rachel agreed that it might work; only time would tell.

Running repairs!

Talking of art, (and this is where those of a nervous disposition should perhaps move on to the next paragraph) we had chosen to stop for our wee near a patch of bare earth. Rachel did her business and it ran through the grass to the bare patch where it stopped. We then realised that it had formed a really lifelike shape of a camel, which obviously meant a photo opportunity!

We set off and the padding did its trick and although not totally pain free it was manageable and a great improvement. It was starting to get warm again and so fleeces were dispensed with which meant that we got off at a good pace. The track was pretty good with few ups and downs and so we made good progress, only stopping at Chantry Post for a while before continuing to the A24.

Highden Hill

As we were descending gently down to the road we could see Chanctonbury Ring in the distance and decided that it would be our next stop. We crossed the road and then through a car park and then the incline kicked in. We stopped about half way up for a breather as it was very warm before rounding the hill and not long after arriving at Chanctonbury Ring.

Chanctonbury Ring

We plonked ourselves down and had our main stop of the day. It was a lovely spot on soft downland turf with expansive views to the south. We took our boots off, as we did every time we stopped, to let the air in and dry the insides of the boots as well. Our zip off trousers allowed us each day to walk in shorts once the early morning chill had evaporated. So there we were in shorts and t-shirts with no boots or socks, sunbathing on top of a hill, it was bliss. I re-evaluated my heel and topped up the cushioning before setting off once more.

As the crow flies we weren’t that far away from our final destination, but the route took us further away along the ridge before coming back on itself. As we continued on the main path it was quite frustrating but had we not been staying in Bramber then the route would have been fine. Even so the walking was easy and downhill. Just as we got near the River Adur our route to the B&B meant going roughly north, so creating a bit more of the loop.

Our bed for the night was the Castle Inn at Bramber about a mile from the route. We were now firmly on home territory as we had walked here a few times when doing our longer training walks but we were probably still about 25 miles from home.



The Castle Hotel

We checked into the room which was fairly basic and had the smallest shower room we had ever seen, but it was clean and a bed for the night.

We went down to find something to eat and were shown into the large dining room which was empty although a couple of other diners did appear later. We thought we would have a bottle of wine which seemed a reasonable price but no one could find it so we were given another bottle which was completely different but at least the right colour! The meal was fine but there was no atmosphere so we went back to our room as soon as we had finished and slept surprisingly well.


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