The Ridgeway

A couple of years ago Jonny, Rob and I had a cracking weekend bikepacking along one of the National Trails - the South Downs Way. For some reason, it took us two years to tackle another!

In August we hiked the western half of the Ridgeway. From the trail head at Overton Hill it looked like roughly 45 miles to Goring, where Rob had left the car. We had the weekend to get it done...

We ended up getting home less than 45 hours after leaving work on Friday evening, but it felt more like 45 years! We were broken, exhausted, and absolutely stinking after two hard days tramping and two nights sleeping out. A rapid transformation!

Even now, a few weeks later, this still feels like one of the hardest things I've done - admittedly almost entirely self inflicted due to our total lack of hiking 'training' and overweight packs. Once my shins and feet had packed up, putting one foot in front of the other for hours on end became a real mental battle, when all I really wanted to do was lie down and not move.

Not wanting to detour at all (and add to the already substantial mileage), the only supplies literally right on the trail looked like a random solitary curry house at Foxhill. We duly filled our boots, with two courses, three pints of lager and a double espresso each at Saturday lunchtime. The consensus was that the third pint was the saviour, giving us enough cheer to start the remaining mileage required that day.

This sounds like a bit of a moan - it isn't. It was an awesome weekend, we saw some awesome countryside close to our homes and had plenty of laughs. The night skies were crystal clear too from the bivvy bags.

It felt like I could barely bring myself to lift my camera to my eyes, particularly during the second half of the trudge - but on later review of the memory card I'm pleased I carried the extra weight. Click on an image to enlarge and scroll through.

Thanks for reading.