Many remarkable people found their identities on rivers: Cleopatra on the Nile; Lewis and Clark on the Missouri; Mark Twain on the Mississippi; Jeff Bezos on the Amazon. This is the story of my 600+ mile walk along the waterways of southern England in the summer of 2014, and the remarkable people I met along the way. It is best read in chronological order, so I recommend starting with the earliest posting in the Blog Archive list in the right margin.
Walk completed August 16, 2014
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
July 15, 2014 -- Day 30, Battle to Rye, 15 miles
walk was long, but once again, the pleasant weather, diversified terrain and
route-finding challenges made it a wonderful day. Once leaving Battle, the
trail dropped into a lovely woodland. Initially a bridleway, the trail was
rutted and post-holed, the result of cyclists and horses having use the trail
when it was very muddy. Today, the trail was mostly dry, with small muddy areas
and a few pools of water that required some delicate footsteps.
I was on a minor footpath (the “1066 Country Walk”) mid-week, I didn’t expect
to see any walkers. The first people I saw were three heavy equipment operators
who were replacing drainage pipes. As a result of the winter floods, the
existing drainage pipes filled with mud and debris. It wasn’t clear to me whether
they had already been filled, and therefore didn’t effectively drain the
runoff, or if there was so much run off into the River Brede that everything
backed up and plugged the drains. In any event, the drainpipes were plugged and
needed to be replaced. I asked the workers how much of the area was flooded,
and they waved their arms pointing to the field in front of me. “The whole
field was filled with water. You couldn’t walk through it.” It was a large
field, and impressed upon me the amount of flooding that had occurred. Upon
leaving the field at a road, I noticed a “For Sale” sign. (There was also one
at an abandoned house on the other side of the field, but I didn’t pay much
attention to it, because I’ve seen many “For Sale” signs.) What really caught
my attention was the real estate agent’s description of the property.
footpath continued on delightfully through woodlands, across pastures, through
farm fields, rising and falling with the rolling terrain. It couldn’t get any
better than this.
actually it could. Up ahead, I spied a large group of walkers coming through
the rye. (Actually it was a crop of beans, but folks coming through the rye
sounds better than passing through the beans.) This was the largest group of
walkers I’ve encountered since Much Wenlock. They described themselves as the
U3A, or University of the Third Age – which basically means they are old folks
who act like they are young. Hey, I’ve already cornered that market, although I
suspect that they think of themselves as older than the 10-year-old I am.
10-year-olds get tired, and before very long, my feet were getting sore, and I
started thinking about arranging another mode of transportation. So far I
haven’t had very good luck; yesterday’s Rolls Royce Silver Cloud came close –
it was just a little out of my price range. Today, I came upon a vehicle I can
afford. If this doesn’t attract the babes, I don’t know what will.
those of you following along on maps, today’s walk went from Battle, though
Westfield, Icklesham, Winchelsea, to Rye. From Icklesham, I left the 1066
Country Walk, and headed south to pick up the Royal Military Canal into