We’ve been dragging our unwilling carcasses out of bed at some ludicrously early hours, not out of any burning desire to watch the new day dawn but that’s a happy side effect. We get up early because we’re not meant to be there and I’m terrified we’ll get a bollocking off an angry local. I’d like to think I’d smile and apologise profusely and assure them we’d be on our way but in reality I’d probably just cry because that’s just what I do when I’m being told off. I’m a pierced tattooed skinhead. They will not expect it. It’ll be awkward for everyone involved.
Tarrant despises an early start, I think she’s finding it a lot harder than me. I’m a postie so I’m all about those 9pm bedtimes and 5am breakfasts. This morning though our eyeholes were greatly rewarded when the fiery skyball made a spectacular entrance stage east as we munched a princely (assuming royalty isn’t that bothered about nutritional value) breakfast of Mug Shots and Frank’s Red Hot sauce atop a fuck off great big hill. What a cracking start to the day.
We headed back to the trail and I frantically checked the map for a toilet stop. The thing with my bowels is, they’d really rather not shit in a hole. I don’t particularly enjoy it but given the amount that falls out of me every morning, twice a morning, at home there’s not enough room inside me for all of that and my organs so something has to give.
But I could dig the most perfect hole, a feat of woodland engineering, and they’d still rather wait until I found a loo. Sometimes though, there isn’t a loo so I’m left scrambling to dig a hole in whatever woods I can find whilst the contents of my colon tap impatiently on my sphincter. This was one of those days, the first of this trip, and of course I was frozen mid-shit when a bloke wandered past with about eight dogs and Tarrant had to distract him.
We meandered to where we turned off for Amberley where there’s a shop. We figured we’d stock up on enough supplies to last until Monday, tomorrow was Easter Sunday and we had no clue if the little village shops would be open, better safe than sorry. They always have such good bread in these little shops. It’s only day four and I’m already finding joy in anything edible that isn’t fucking Super Noodles.
Bugger me, you notice that extra weight when you’re dragging it back up the hill though! That’s the thing about the South Downs Way, it only passes through a few villages, if you want to resupply you need to leave the trail and that shop/pub/toilet is invariably at the bottom of a fuck off great big hill which you’ll then need to get back up afterwards. Oh hello, calf muscles.
I’m not going to lie to you, today was bastard hard work. You know those days where you’re like, must have done about 15 miles by now! And you check and you’ve done 10 and a little bit of you dies inside. It’s been beautiful but it’s been more of the same sort of stuff, but you can’t get into a rhythm and just cruise because you’re slogging up ridiculous hills just to come back down it just to go up another one.
Obviously we expected hills, it’s the South Downs Way, it literally consists of rolling fucking hills, but they felt relentless today. Add to that the heat. The weather has been spectacular but the heat can be absolutely sapping. I sound like I’m complaining. I’m not. (I am).
At one point we found a lovely shady tree which practically beckoned us over for a nap. Who are we to refuse the nap gods when they provide us with such a wonderful opportunity? I fucking love a good nap, me. We shut our eyes for twenty minutes, I woke up feeling refreshed a few minutes before the alarm went off. I’d like to say it was my impeccable internal clock but the truth is I have no concept of time and I just woke myself up snoring. God that nap was life changing! I can do anything now.
We left the trail again to go into the lovely village of Cocking which I will never not find hilarious. For a lesbian I’m way too easily amused by place names with a bit of cock in them. There’s a really nice pub there called the Bluebell, we wandered in and were immediately welcomed by the manager who showed us to a plug socket so we could abuse her electricity supply. We chucked a couple of Cokes down our necks thus cementing my need to get up several times a night for a wee and washed some socks and knickers in the sink in the toilets. I’m going to have to perfect the art of polite conversation with strangers whilst scrubbing my gusset.
That two hour break was exactly what we needed to power back up the hill then walk until the fiery skyball started to think about fucking off. Maybe the key to this long distance shit is Take More Breaks? I tried to gather my lady-balls for what might have to be quite an exposed campsite. There were some woods, and I fucking love woods, but they were fenced from what we could see, so Tarrant found us the flattest piece of grass she could in a field by the fence and we pitched the tent as I pointed out all the ways we could be seen by literally everyone in the whole fucking world. I really need to stop worrying about this shit if we’re going to do this until September hey.
Day on SDW: 4
Distance walked today: 20.7 miles
Total walked so far: 75.1 miles
Coldest temp last night: 9.88°C inside / 7.63°C outisde
Trigs bagged: 2
Trigs to date: 10
“Have you read ‘The Salt Path?'” (Running Total): 1
Jump to “Useful shit to know…”
Storrington, West Sussex to Didling Hill, West Sussex, England
Stayed at: A field at Didling Hill
Useful shit to know…
- The water tap just after Amberley wasn’t working when we were there but I’ve been told since that it’s functioning again.
- There’s a water tap at the turn off for Cocking.
BUDGET for one person
Cokes at Blue Bell, Cocking: £5.69
Grand Total: £22.82