Thursday, July 16, 2009

15 June 2009 - Day 16: Into Slindon

The bothy is organised as a basic hostel, but as we are the sole inhabitants we have a room each. We start with a red breakfast,

Then when we are cleaning layers of mud off our bikes, Katie visits from her cottage next door. She is one of very few National Trust women wardens and sometimes has to push to be taken seriously. But she is committed and hard-working; the Trust should be proud to have her. Just this weekend, she has had a scout party booking, has not only rescued us, but also a stag party from the pub nearly three miles away.

12.30 p.m.
Total distance travelled: 6 miles

Izzi needs to leave so I cycle with her to Slindon. We find a sign removed and upside down on the ground. No wonder people get lost round here. At Slindon we take some happy snaps then Izzi carries on to Arundel where she will get the train back to London.

and I return to Gumber, cutting through to the Stade Street track, the Roman road which alluded us last night. At Five Ways crossroads I come across Ian and Miley who assure me I'm on the right track to the bothy.

It's a treacherous narrow path uphill, with protruding tree roots and nettles, but it finally reaches the bothy, and I'm triumphant and a little less burdened by Sunday night's SHAME (Should Have Already Mastered Everything).

8.05 p.m.

There are no shops for miles so I put together a meal from food people have left behind: pasta, Lloyd Grossman sauce, stale cheese and nettles foraged from the paddock nearby. It tastes wonderful and the farm dogs seem to agree as they appear from nowhere, four at one time, and wait patiently.