This morning I had to wake two of the girls up at 07:20, which is unheard of, mostly. TW was sleeping in, because she had been in A&E until 2am (but that’s another story), and to be honest I was starting to panic – how was I going to feed the girls and make sure that they had lunch with them before they left for school?
The reason was that we took a long walk up Chanctonbury Ring yesterday. We had discussed it on Friday night, when we were round at a friend’s house; as it turned out, there were four families trekking up the hill yesterday afternoon. I was feeling a bit jaded, and thought a walk and some fresh air might do me some good. I was expecting a 45-minute stroll, and home for a nice cup of tea, but I was wrong. Two and a half hours later, we headed home.
It took about half an hour to get parked, because the car park was full, so we had to wait for a space before we set off. A family had come back to their car, but then decided to dry off the dog, and change their boots, and clean their footwear and take off their coats before vacating their space. That took about twenty minutes, and the hordes were getting impatient. But eventually we gathered and started up the hill. Apparently on Facebook it’s classified as a mountain, but I don’t think so. It was a bit steep at the start, but we found the rope swings and the children (ten of them) played for a while. The rope swing was a bit of a death trap, but everyone managed to survive, so we headed on with a full complement. The youngest then got a bit grumpy (he is only two) and he went back to the car with his mum. The rest of us headed on. It is quite a nice walk; it’s noticeably steep, but it is through woodland, and at this time of year it’s lovely. Lots of brown leaves blowing around our feet, falling off the trees. It was quiet and still, and we passed several families all walking their dogs on a warm autumn day.
Once we got through the woodland, we hit the South Downs Way. It was open fields then, and the wind was blowing something fierce. I had a coat with me, because I’m cautious like that, and I kept putting it on to keep the wind off and then taking it off because I was too hot. Ah well, some people, eh? We strode to the top and sat for a while, while the kids frolicked around and ate sweets.
We were quite proud of the fact that our three kids made it to the top without whinging. I guess because there were so many children with us, they were distracted and didn’t realise how far they walked…
On the way back, someone suggested we go the steep way, as it was shorter and quicker. What I didn’t realise was that it was a hell of a lot steeper, to the extent that when I kicked a couple of stones, they built up their own momentum, and didn’t stop (I think) until they got to the bottom… I couldn’t walk straight down the slope myself, I had to track horizontally across the incline and hold on to the trees as I went, to stop me falling over. Several of the group resorted to going down on their bums, which would have been the easier option, but I enjoyed the challenge, I suppose I have to admit. I am aching in several places I never knew existed though; I really need to exercise more often. And once we were back at the bottom, we headed back home for a tea of gammon, roast potatoes and cauliflower cheese (with yorkshire puddings, beans and carrots). A brilliant way to finish the day. And that explains why the kids were sleeping in this morning, I think…

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