Day Two: Sparsholt Firs to Streatley
I woke up well before the sun and donned my headtorch, without which I'd probably have left most things behind! Setting off in the dark was fun: sleeping in the woods is great but in wet, wintry weather I couldn't wait to get back on the path and keep walking and soaking up the scenery...
This first section, as dawn was breaking, was wonderful. The Devil's Punchbowl and Crowhole Bottom are stunning, forming impressive craters in the land. I met many people up on the wide chalky path out for a post-Christmas walk and it was lovely to be out so early.
The views really open up too.
After 5 hours of walking, my feet were starting to hurt. I had blisters from the day before under my heels so I naturally adjusted my gait, the result being that now my calves and the balls of my feet ached! I tried to walk normally ignoring the pain each time I placed my heel on the ground, but I'd forget and continue walking with a slight limp. The way down into Streatley itself was really painful and I walked a bit like an old Japanese lady wearing geta after a long day in the rice fields. Everything overtook me.
When I finally reached the Thames at Streatley I was exhausted but happy. Unfortunately it was another 5 miles or so to my campsite! I was tempted to just book into a b&b for the night but managed to find a bus that could get me there in 20 minutes. After downing a bottle of Tango, a Bounty and a packet of Squares, I boarded this wonderful invention.
I pitched up at my campsite just outside Wallingford, had a hot shower then went and had a beer at a lovely pub by the river.
It's a nice feeling, strolling into a cosy country pub after a long and tiring day on the hills. It really felt like I deserved my bottle of beer.
Miles: 18.5 on foot. 5 by bus.
Day 3 coming up...