Thursday, July 16, 2009

21 June 2009 - Day 22: Earnley to Bosham

There's been a festival nearby during the night. Music blares out between 1.30 and 3.00 am and its beat fights with the throb in my right temple where the handlebar hit it when I crashed yesterday.

Another cup of tea from Jackie, then the ritual of popping down the tent begins; Ross and Vince have front row seats. Filthy Fox has been free for 2 days now and resists restraint so thankfully they offer their help.

12.15 p.m.
Temperature and humidity not monitored.
Wind: Westerly
O.S. Explorer Map 120
Distance cycled: 9.8 miles

Lunch on West Wittering beach. In a shingle world, fine sand like this is a crowd magnet.

The beach is endless and so are the cars which stretch for about half a mile ranked back from the dunes. Many people choose to play house near their car.

The cycle path goes north up the side of one of the many channels of Chichester Harbour. It is forbidden to cyclists but there are some on it. It is stunning.

I pass and repass a group of elderly birdwatchers, and have conversations with anonymous dog walkers.

There are narrow bits, nettles and tree roots to negotiate but apart from the cycle proof gate in a neighbourhood watch area, it's the most lovely route I've taken so far.

When eventually I reach the boatyard and the Itchenor Ferry, Mark, the ferryman, hefts my fully laden bike up onto the boat. I'm the only passenger, and the journey across the channel takes all of five minutes.

Arriving at Bosham (pronounced Bozzom) where King Canute is reputed to have turned back the tide, the tide is indeed out. In the middle of the causeway, I photograph a yacht beached in the middle of the creek.

Its owners, Mike and Pippa, are passing; they turn out to have a b+b, Benbow, on the front. Mike's godson has Lebers Congenital Amerosis, a rare form of blindness, and last year Mike sailed his boat round the UK raising £27,500 for a fast light scanner for Moorefields Eye Hospital. There are only three of these in the world and they hugely increase research into a cure.

The guesthouse is high-end, with a gorgeous view from my room; it's the perfect place for two days recuperation. I haven't seen a paper for days and catch up on TV with the horror in Iran, and the joke that is British politics.

A retriever called Woody lives here too; at dusk he watches as the tide comes in.