South Downs Odyssey
Odýssey n. a long, wandering and eventful journey!

So today, the travel arrangements sorted, we drove for an hour and a half to Southease via Pulborough and Shoreham to avoid the queues at Chichester and Worthing.  A small moment of concern on phoning for a taxi – no signal on the iphone so Samsung to the rescue!  The taxi arrived within 15 minutes and we were in Alfriston just after 10:00.  At this point there was quite a lot of low cloud so we kicked off the day with coffee at the Singing Kettle, what a great café we must go back!

South Downs Way legs

Leg 19

Southease to Alfriston
7 miles

Early alarm and out of the house at 7:30, just like the former life and the beginning of the Autumn term, but this is now retired life and we are going for a walk!  We have continued the training and most enjoyably, this has included several evening walks on Southsea front, but we have also for us, done a couple of distinctly off-piste walks. These had reasonable maps and written directions which resulted in just a slight detour on the first and a little more road than was planned on the second!

At 10:30 we started walking.  We knew we had about 3 miles of uphill walking at the start.  There were some wonderful houses and gardens to look at as we climbed up Kings Ride out of Alfriston and on to a chalky path. This was the hardest part of the walk but on the whole it was a fairly gradual climb and we reached the promised grassy downland. There were 2 trig points on this walk today and in places we really did have 360 degrees views. Sometimes the clouds were low and there was quite a haze, but we didn’t feel that we were missing out on stunning views. Perhaps we need to go again on a very clear and bright day with blue skies.

Today was a vintage day for animals, there were sheep, cows and horses. Many of the sheep were lying down which gave rise to the joke that they were recovering from being in the baa the night before!! We had another stand-off with sheep blocking our path but with cries of “mint sauce” we made it through. The agricultural adviser said that it is fairly unusual to see cows and horses in the same field, they were certainly keeping well apart from each other.

A very strange sausage-shaped building was constantly in our sight towards Newhaven, Veolia’s Energy Recovery Facility! Another landmark was the radio masts at Beddingham Hill and once we passed these we were definitely on the downwards slope.

Veolia’s Energy Recovery Facility!

Our walk today (from East to West) finished with a long looping downhill that would have been quite horrendous to walk up. In fact we would probably still be there gazing at the view and puffing frantically. We were delighted to find a bridge that had been built over the A26 and were back at the start.

The Courtyard Café provided restorative home-made lemonade while we checked and planned the next leg. Our walk today was 7.1 miles, which interestingly was exactly the mileage recorded on both Fitbits. The end of evening data showed that we had both burned off over 3,000 calories! Calorie intake is not recorded here!!

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