> SDW Introduction

> SDW Day 1

> SDW Day 2

> SDW Day 3

> SDW Day 4

> SDW Day 5

> SDW Day 6

> SDW Day 7

> SDW Last Day

> SDW Final Thoughts

> SDW Accommodation


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Ashley Heeley's South Downs Way Diary

My South Downs Way Diary 2008

After completing the West Highland Way last we started thinking about what we would like to do the following year. After completing the C2C the year before we really enjoyed the coastal parts of the walk and all of us wanted to have some coast involved in this yearís walk. We looked at a number of options with the Pembroke Coastal path being the favourite. However, it takes 2 weeks and it would be difficult to find time off work and the family for so long so a 1 week walk would have to suffice.

The South Downs Way became a favourite possibility as it seemed to tick all the boxes. It was in a different part of the country, the scenery would be different, it had hills, it had a coastal bit at the end, we could do it in a week. After much umming and ahrring the South Downs Way it would be. We chose July as Dale was a new daddy in Feb so it would have been hard to do the walk any earlier. Also, we thought (wrongly as it turned out) that July in southern England should mean better weather (ha ha) in fact our main worry would be the heat (wrong again).

Karen and myself were put in charge of the itinerary and we planned a 6 day walk ensuring that the last day would be easy so we could savour the coastal walk on the cliffs. By doing this however, meant that the other days were quite long and we all found it harder than we thought.

As far as training was concerned, having done Long Distance Paths the last 2 years and air of complacency took hold and although I still went to the gym although not often enough, and walked the dog everyday constituted my training. I did do my usual warm up walk in Wharfedale with Kieran this time but the fact that I was knackered at the end should have told me something.

Dale and myself used a bag carrier, Footprints of Sussex, and this worked well. It was quite expensive £175 for up to 4 bags but it mean that we could add 2 additional bags later in the walk without costing anymore which really helped. Thanks to Keith at Footprints.

With all the B&Bís booked, I stayed at Daleís on the Saturday night and we met up with Karen, Mike, Matt and Mark in Winchester on the Sunday, fit (well perhaps not) and raring to go.

Like the previous 2 years, the diary was done at the end of each day before going to sleep. It was then sent round to various friends and family daft enough to read it. The style reflects this and Iíve just amended all the typos and added a couple of things I remembered subsequently, but more or less it is as I originally sent, so the opinions are honest and how I felt at the time.









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