I knew today would be a good one. Soon after I had started walking a young deer jumped the fence in front of me. It saw me and fled down an adjoining field. I watched it for some time. It came across a high (deer-proof ?) fence that it couldn’t jump and stood and thought about things. It glanced at me, I was still a threat so it then patrolled the fence until it found a slightly lower section, took a few paces back so that it had a run up, and up and over it went. A lovely display. I felt sorry for him (or her) as he must have been really frightened of me. I always feel that I’ve been blessed when I see a deer or a hare, especially when I get a wonderful display of their gymnastics.
Hadrian’s Way also became much more interesting today but also a bit harder work. There are long sections of ‘The Wall’ still standing. It is a hugely popular walk and I spent a lot of time talking to my fellow walkers. Some were kind enough to take pictures for me. Everyone was impressed with my achievement to date but I must play it down or not mention it sometimes. I was chatting to a very large chap who was making very slow progress up one hill. He was, however, walking a 35 mile section of particularly difficult long distance path on a very hot day. And he was doing it with a huge smile on his face and was enjoying himself. Good on him; his achievement with his friend is something to be proud of.
I had to laugh at some of the Americans I met, all of whom seemed to be dressed for a different climate than we were experiencing. One person was wearing a thermal balaclava whilst I was in shorts and t shirt!
As the day was drawing to a close and I was feeling a little tired my spirits were lifted by chatting to a group of chaps from Surrey who were clearly impressed by the magnificent views and scenery they had been experiencing. They had been talking about tackling LeJog so were particularly interested to hear about my route. I hope that I can help them achieve that ambition.
After my last excellent night in a bothy I thought I would try Haughton Green as it is more or less on my route. It’s a little further than I would usually walk but I wanted to give it a go. As I approached the little cottage I was watching the chimney. Was that smoke ? I half convinced myself that it was and that the bothy would be full when a beautifully dressed red and white fox ran out from the front ‘garden’ of the cottage. Now he wouldn’t be there if there were other people around, I thought. No, I have the place to myself. A pile of logs sits next to the wood burner, candles and night-lights are on the shelf and there are even some ready meals in the box. The home made bunk beds look like luxury.
I’ve washed my socks and top with water from the rain water butt and they are hanging over the roaring wood-burner. A joyful gold candle with sparkly bottom is illuminating the room and I’m having a large cup of tea with some of those little hotel milk cartons that some considerate person has donated. My only regret is that my whisky flask is empty.
So let’s have a huge round of applause for all the walkers that have achieved their personal bests today and an even bigger round for the volunteers that provide and look after these wonderful bothys.