Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Backpackers' Ridgeway weekend

The weather forecast was almost right. Relying on it, I didn't take waterproofs in order to keep my packweight down. Foolhardy or what? My pack this trip was a Golite Breeze and the only concession I made to bad weather was a Golite Wisp windshirt. There were just two passing showers on Saturday morning. My packweight (including a tent weighing just over 4lb) excluding food and water was just over 12lb which was good, but why does food seem so heavy? The Golide Stride shorts were good, despite the ribald comments from one or two others.

There were maybe fifteen or so of us but I wanted to get in a bit of LEJOG training so went off on my own on Saturday after breakfast to head for that night's camp. I was wearing trainers for lightness and did nineteen miles without too much effort. It was easy walking, a few miles along The Ridgeway, passing by others on foot, bike and horseback. At one point I found a welcome water tap, labelled as drinking water. There was a plaque next to it, marking the death some years ago of a boy aged 14. Once I left The Ridgeway there was just no-one.

Although it's not far from home, it's not an area I know that well and the views were great, even of Didcot power station in the distance.

Lambourn was a little disappointing in some ways. It's said to be the second most important place in England for racehorses (after Newmarket) and there were plenty around. However, the centre of the town/village itself was a bit down market. We only found one pub to go to that evening and it was OK but no more than that.

The area generally is full of ancient burial mounds and barrows and, in particular, the Uffington White Horse. This can only really be appreciated from above.

On Sunday, most of us set out together to walk back to where we'd left our cars at Saturday's camp. A good weekend.

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