Thursday 6th September 2018
Here it is, then. Almost three-months after I began my walk to follow The Ridgeway, I was in to my final day along the trail and to be followed by the inevitable return home.
An entire month had passed since my previous outing (Days 2 and 3) along this National Trail. August had been a fairly busy month and for a number of reasons (mostly, walking-related). I was also fearful of heading out at a time when the majority of school kids and working parents were likely to be outside… Overpopulating spaces, crying and congesting public transport systems.
In the first week of September, I decided that the time was right for my return to complete my final two days of walking The Ridgeway. Everything had been planned out in advance and it began with a drive to Watlington.
Hopefully you’ve already seen that I’m now two-thirds of the way along with my walk of The Ridgeway National Trail. Days two and three were tackled with a considerably lighter pack-load, as I would be staying overnight at a youth hostel in between.
In this post, I’ll share some of the essentials (and non-essentials) I carried with me.
This was the first in what was intended to be a five-day backpacking expedition along The Ridgeway National Trail.
From the start of the trail at Overton Hill, I follow The Ridgeway for twenty-three miles as far as White Horse Hill, from which I would descend to reach my campsite for the night.
This walk began in the village of Chew Magna, where free use of the car park is available, provided you get there early. It’s an area I’m quite familiar with and a popular ‘commuter route’ linking the A38 with the A37 and beyond.
Bearing in mind this is less than a thirty-minute drive south of Bristol, it commands appreciation. My walk was to begin by following a portion of the local Three Peaks Walk, before looping back along previously unexplored footpaths.
By the time of writing this post, I had expected I would be coming to the end of my fourth day backpacking along The Ridgeway National Trail…
I set off on Saturday morning. Slightly later than intended but I was on to the trail soon enough. Within the first three miles, I noticed a pain down the outside of my left leg and, even with stretching, it remained with me for the whole twenty-five miles of day one. I made it to the camp site that evening but was safely and generously ‘extracted’ on Sunday morning.
At 18kg (according to my possibly-unreliable luggage scales), my rucksack was far too heavy and it made little sense for me to press on through the pain. I’ve spent this afternoon weighing everything and taking notes, all of which I’ll share below.
Following a two-month absence from the trail, I returned to my walk along the Severn Way long-distance footpath, which I’ll be following as far north as Tewkesbury.
This walk would begin at Frampton-on-Severn in Gloucestershire, which isn’t precisely where the previous walk ended but, reasonable car parks are hard to find, as someone who doesn’t know the area overly well. I can fill in the brief void of towpath another time.