|At the start in Winchester|
Something that we both feel is close to everyone’s heart !... and like so many other people, having had family, close friends and colleagues who have lost their fight against cancer and now also having two family members currently fighting cancer. We both wanted to do something to help them and other people who have been, and will be in the future, affected by this terrible disease. So to celebrate our 40 years of marriage on 17 June - We decided that we would take on the challenge of a long distance walk in the South of England called The South Downs Way which is 100 miles long and follows the old routes and droveways along the chalk escarpment and ridges of the South Downs from Winchester to Eastbourne. We Started this walk on 20th June and took eight days to complete it. We have got as many people as possible to help us with our fund raising and by sharing this walk (which we will now refer to as the SDW) with you through this blog, we hope that you might also like to sponsor us as its not to late to do so..
You can view the walk by going to the following link:
You can also read about Cancer Research UK by going to the following link: www.cancerresearchuk.org
Alternatively you can donate online by going to the following link: www.justgiving.com/AndyBabsSDW
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving and they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the Cancer Research UK and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate We raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
Our promise is that every penny collected will go to Cancer Research UK and will not be taken to pay for our walk, we are paying all expenses for this ourselves.
So please dig deep and donate now !....
What a coincidence.... By chance we found out that the South Downs Way was opened 40 years ago.... So we celebrated a Double Ruby Anniversary as we did the walk along the Way... How fitting is that!...
On behalf of Cancer Research UKand the people that it will help to benefit in the future - we thank each and every one of you for your kind help and support !………..
Okay on with our walk and we hope you enjoy it….
On the 19th June our brother in law Malcolm drove us to our first B&B in Winchester where Babs and I intend to spend the remainder of the afternoon exploring the City and a quick visit up to the Museum of the Royal Hampshire Regiment as we wanted to see if we could get some information on her dad as I wrote a book several years ago about his service in the Regiment. We did not find what we wanted but we did have a nice long chat to the Curator of the Museum and took his details to email some information over when we finish our walk, so not a total waste of time!.. After a nice meal its back to the B&B to sort our kit out for our long planed and awaited start tomorrow…
Winchester to Exton - 12 Miles
|The Chesil Restaurant|
Starting the day with a good dollop of pain rub for my knees that I have been having trouble with for some time now, and a little worried that I will not make the grade and complete the walk, it going to be the same treatment for the next few days. After having high jacked an innocent bystander to take a photograph of us wearing our Cancer Research UK tee shirts and displaying our Cancer Research UK Banner in front of the King Alfred Statue (our starting point). We start our walk at 10:30am but first stopping at a sandwich shop to get something to eat for the day and to fill our flasks up with hot coffee, once packed into our day sacks its off over the river Itchen and turning right into Chesil Street to follow the road past the old the Chesil Rectory a unique historic Grade II listed building dating back to 1450 which is claimed to be the oldest house in Winchester having been bequeathed to the city by Mary Tudor, no less! It’s no longer a house but a very nice restaurant which we can confirm after having had a meal there last night as a special treat to us both before our walk (even though it was a little on the pricey side) after taking a photo of it we continue on up Chesil Street and at the top of the hill we turn left in East Hill and forking right into Petersfield Road then after continuing along a tarmac path we turn right along a grass path behind a housing estate and over the M3 footbridge where we leave the hustle and bustle of the City behind us and straight way start to enjoy the countryside. After five minutes walk along a field path we have some great views back over the M3 snaking through the landscape and the City of Winchester, soon we drop down onto a country lane that took us through the village of Chilcomb’s thatched cottages and village green and then up onto the downs, but just before we leave the road we catch a fleeting glimpse of two deer and they race off into the undergrowth.
The weather was good to us today with the sun shining all day. Our highest point was Beacon Hill which was 201m (659 ft) above sea level where we were rewarded with views across the Meon Valley to Old Winchester Hill.
While at Beacon Hill we meet a guy called John who was from Co Antrim in Northern Ireland, John was doing the same walk as us from Winchester to Eastbourne over seven days for Cancer Research. He had lost his wife to Cancer several years ago and as a result he had done six long distant walks and had raised £12,000.00 for Cancer Research so far (very well done John) he had our utmost respect instantly. We were to find that we had something else in common as he was staying in the same B&B as us that night. At the end of our walk 4:30pm and with a quick phone call we were all three soon picked up by Suzanne Hall who’s B&B was The Farm House at Corhampton.
|We pass a field of Poppies|
Once back at the B&B we found our baggage waiting for us that had been picked up at our last B&B in Winchester and delivered here by Paul Allshire of South Down Discovery a baggage transfer company that we used for the whole trip. Kicking our boots off at the front door we were soon in our room and after having crumpets and tea we both had our turn at a long soak in a deep hot bath!..
We had pre arranged with Suzanne for her to drop us down to a local pub at Exton called the Shoe. John joined us and we all three had an excellent meal and a couple of well deserved drinks and at the end of a great evening Suzanne picked us up and it was back to the B&B.
Exton to Buriton - 13 miles
|One of the SDW pointer signs|
After a good farmhouse breakfast and packing our supplies for the day (supplied by Suzanne) in our sacks. Suzanne drops us all where she had picked us up the afternoon before.
At 9:25am we are back on the path and quickly ascend Old Winchester Hill where the remains of an impressive Iron Age hill fort could be seen (John with his long legs now well gone into the distance). From the hill fort we could see in all directions, explaining the forts strategic military position. Well as far as the weather would let us see anyway as it was raining. As we leave the fort we meet a lady on her own who notices our tee shirts and asks if she could make a donation. We chat for a while and find out that she was waiting to pick her little dog up from Quarantine. She was from a little village just in Yorkshire and had gone off on holiday to Spain for a couple of weeks with her dog and travelling in her caravanette, But on their return to the ferry port Customs were not able to read her dogs implanted tag so they took it into quarantine for three weeks, she did not want to leave him so had decided to stay for the three weeks until her dog was released and was taking advantage of it by doing a couple of walks – hence our meet. What a sad story we do hope that they were both finally reunited once again.
We continue our walk down through Whitewool Farm to Meon Springs Fly Fisheries where we call in to get out of the rain and have a nice hot cup of tea. The guy who served us again notices our tee shirts and refused payment asking us to put it towards our fund raising. We finish our tea and after thanking the guy for his kind donation we are on our way again, but not before making a mental note of the fly fishing as it looks a nice place and I might just return one day with my fly rod!..
A section Babs has been looking forward to as we have seen it many times from the A3 (while driving up and down it) is Buster Hill which is our highest point today and soon we walk over the crest of the hill to look down on the A3. Stopping here as I have a blister that needs sorting out so it’s off with my boot and sock in order that Babs can put a blister plaster on for me (going to have to pop that later on before it gets worse). We pass under it and into Elizabeth Country Park, while walking through the Park we see our third deer just fifty yards away we all just freeze looking at each other as I try very slowly to get my camera out to take a photo. Mission complete we continue our walk.
|View across the countyside|
Our highest points today are Old Winchester Hill 198m (650 ft) and Buster Hill 270m (886 ft) the walk several moderate ascents and descents with undulating open grassy downland with paths , tracks, ridge-top and several short stretches of road.
We finish our walk at 5:45pm and again following a phone call Suzanne picks us up to take us back to the same B&B as last night. Again, same pattern as yesterday, tea, bath and down to the Shoe for a drink and some food. The Steak and mushroom in red wine pie was so good last night that I just have to have it again tonight and Babs joins me as we both enjoy the same food.
Buriton to Cocking - 11 miles (our best day so far)
After breakfast Suzanne again drops us to where she picked us up and we say our farewells as tonight we say at a new B&B.
|View from Harting Downs across South Harting just |
making out green Church spire to the left
9:40am starting with a climb we are on high ridge and the next few miles are through woodland offering shade and protection. Once we cross the B2146 South Harting road we reach Harting Down where the trees thin out and our views open out again. We happen to come across a seat that someone has kindly put in place in order that we can sit and have a cup of coffee and a sandwich while enjoying the view over South Harting with its distinctive green copper church spire. Snack over we continue our walk enjoying the views on both sides and we even get our first glimpse of the sea and the Isle of White. We do not pass many people today. For the last couple of days we have been following temporary signs for Wiggles which is Wiggle South Downs Epic MTB Ride 2012 a 42.7mile bike ride. Not sure what that’s all about, but there are lots of events going on as we walk the Way. One sign which stands out is one that is tied to a tree half way up a steep hill which says “Pain is temporary Glory last forever!” ha somebody with a scene of humour – not meant for us but we step out anyway!..
The path ascends Beacon Hill and we pass a group of mounds called The Devils Jumps these mounds are called Barrows and they date back 3000 years they are Bronze Age burial mounds. Got quite and erie feeling while standing at the top of one taking a photo there was lots of dead wood scattered in the field which looked just like scattered bones, I felt like I should not be standing there and I quickly got back onto the path of the South Downs Way and rejoined Babs. We continued through the wooded Monkton Estate and then down to Crypt Farm and the A286 where we finish our walk today. Time we finish our walk today is 3:35pm and we catch the bus to our B&B in the next village down from Cocking called Singleton.
Babs wrote some notes for the day and she said that after 40 years I now know that Andy tells fibs, he said no hills but there were more than yesterday – ridge walking in 70 MPH winds was great fun I even managed to stay on my feet!.. Guess she is on about our climb to the summit of Beacon Hill 242m (794 ft).
|Our B&B 1 Rose Cottage at Singleton|
Our B&B 1 Rose Cottage, Sharlton Road, Singleton run by Laura Muir was a B&B to sing about and we would have no hesitation in calling it a five star, because that’s what it offered it had everything we wanted and more with lots of extra little touches to make our stay a pleasant one even down to a small bottle of wine in our room and a silver service breakfast. If you are ever in the area that’s the place to stay and the local pub The Partridge is just a few yards away and they serve very good food.
Cocking to Amberley -11.5 miles
After a first class breakfast Laura sends us off with a packed lunch to feed six people. We catch a bus back to Crypt Farm and the start of our walk.
|Babs looks back at the route we have walked|
in the far distance
We were now entering the Arun Valley and then descending down to cross the river Aren and enter the village of Amberley the finish of our walk the time 3:20pm.
We headed for our B&B where we were greeted at the gate by Carol and her dog Roxy who were just off for a walk. So it was a quick about turn for Carol and Roxy and as Carol went to put the kettle on for tea and we kicked our boots off and sat out on the patio Roxy made friends with us…
Today we had planned for Dolly (Babs sister) and Malcolm (Dolly’s husband) to join us for a meal at the local pub. Malcolm then decided that he would take us all for a drive around the area and we ended up down near Butlins Holiday Camp. We all had a very enjoyable evening together and after spending a bit of time driving around we returned to our B&B where we load poor old Dolly & Malcolm up with all our dirty washing.
Amberley to Bramber - 13 miles
|The dog knows he has a tip bit in|
We leave our B&B today at 9:30 am and go straight into our walk, its been raining all night and it is very wet and muddy underfoot. Starting again with a climb views being restricted due to trees. There is a spell of easy walking today followed by gradual and gentle inclines and we soon have clear views of the sea to our right for most of the day. Trying to pick out landmarks along the way Babs is trying to work out that the large white building is on the coast when we come upon a couple taking their dogs for a walk one of which seams to take a liking for Babs walking poles and then decides to have a go at mine – full of mischief his owner soon bribes him away with some tip bits he has in his pocket. We are then able to ask what the building is.
Turns out to be the white Canvas of the Butlins Holiday Camp that we where near last night - mystery over he then proceeds to point out all the other places along the coastline. We parted company with the couple taking one of our handout leaflets for our fund raising with the promise of a donation.
Turns out to be the white Canvas of the Butlins Holiday Camp that we where near last night - mystery over he then proceeds to point out all the other places along the coastline. We parted company with the couple taking one of our handout leaflets for our fund raising with the promise of a donation.
|Fields of flowering rape seed|
As we walk down our path between the yellow fields of flowering rape seed behind us we watch a couple of guys riding unicycles towards us, with camera at the ready to take a photo I was disappointed when they take a side track. Imagine what that must have felt like riding over the large flint stone on one of those just makes my eyes water at the thought.
We could see our destination way off in the distance and tonight our B&B would be at Upper Beeding. Before we got there however we noticed a sign saying Free Range Pigs – Chickens yes, but never seen pigs before.
As we continue we do indeed come across a lots of pigs. We had to pass through their field lucky for us they were fenced off by electric wire all in small pens which had their own round pig houses and in each there was a sow with little pigs which was great fun to watch and I could not resist but to get my camera out once again and snap a few photos. We continued ondown to the river Aren and crossing a bridge we continued up a stretch of road to our B&B (finishing our walk today at4:30pm) we were greeted by a nice couple Lesley & Ron Ayling who run the Downs View B&B.
|One thing they are not and that's|
Worn out after our days walk we both took a shower and after a little rest we made our way to the local pub for our evening meal and then back to our B&B for a rest before our big push tomorrow.
Bramber to A27 near Kingston - 16.5 miles
|Andy takes a breather|
After breakfast Lesley sends us off with a packed lunch which she has prepared free of charge as a token of donation towards our walk (so we will put the cost of it in the pot later). Last couple of days we have both been caught out by the sun and got sun burn, so first thing today is to find somewhere who sells sun lotion and we are in luck as the petrol station next door sells it. So after donning a good amount of the stuff we are off again and the time is 8:50am. Yes you guessed it and after a short level walk we are soon climbing again up Beeding Hill. we have three major ascents today the first is 200 m (656 ft) and the last takes in the third highest point of the South Downs Way 248 m (814 ft) its going to be a long strenuous day today.
Weather is full sun with a lovely cool breeze and after a bit of road walking we have some nice ridge top walking, downland some short stretches of alongside quite road and two major roads to cross.
As we walk again we have some great views and way off in the distance to our left we can see several guys on top of a hill with parachutes waiting for a bit of wind to pick them up and then once up trying to stay in a thermals. A sport called Paragliding and it looks like great fun thought we do see a couple of them take off only to fall halfway down the hill where they have to collect their parachute up and walk back to the top of the hill again, they are not having much luck as we watch but an hour later we can just see them and looks like they have caught one as they are all very high up and just hanging there. We are pleased to see that they have made it at last.
About mid day we arrive at a lovely place called Devils Dyke and we can see from a distance that there is a mobile crane and some sort of large wheel surrounded by scaffolding and as we get closer we can see that there is some kind of filming going on. Out comes the old camera again for a few snaps and after we go across to the Devils Dyke pub to get a drink we find out that they are filming for some kind of telly advert (so we will have to keep our eyes open over the next few weeks to see if we can see it on telly). As we sit outside enjoying our drink we see just the other side of the road and about 40 yards in front of us an open canopy of another paraglider trying in desperation to catch some wind, but after five
|Construction of film set at Devils Dyke, look out for it|
on the telly as an advert of some kind !...
minutes he gives up, gathering up his canopy in his arms and moves around the other side of the hill out of view. Never did see him in the air go guess he was out of luck today. At nearly a mile long, the Dyke valley is the longest, deepest and widest 'dry valley' in the UK. Legend has it that the Devil dug this chasm to drown the parishioners of the Weald. On the other hand, scientists believe it was formed naturally just over 10,000 years ago in the last ice age. With a little exploring the Dyke's story starts to reveal itself: The ramparts or walls of the Iron Age hill fort can be seen when you walk around the hill. Finishing our drinks we continue down the hill with the Devils Dyke valley on our left and some while later we cross the road at Saddlecombe where in the farm there is a small café called the Hiker’s Rest. Again we stop, this time a cup of tea and slice of cake. Saddlecombe Farm, and Newtimber Hill above it, belong to the National Trust. Once home to the Knights Templar (12th – 14th centuries), it is one of the few remaining downland farms still with it’s original buildings.
We continue on the SDW through some trees and then it opens up again to give clear views as we go over West Hill and descend to Pyecombe where we have to wind around to be able to cross the busy A23 London to Brighton main road via a small road bridge. As we descend this hill we can see in the distance the Clayton Windmills which we pass later on in the day the windmills are known as Jack & Jill. Black Jack is a tower mill built in 1866 which is in private ownership.
|White Jill in front and Black Jack behind|
White Jill is post mill which is now in working order following a long restoration project which began in 1978. She open to visitors most Sundays between May and September. However today she is not open so we have to make do with a few photos. While here we stop for a coffee break and a sandwich and as we sit enjoying the view we are approached by a nice couple and their dog, they are doing the walk in the opposite direction to us starting at Eastbourne and finishing up in Winchester, they ask if we are collecting for Cancer Research UK as they wanted to made a donation, we gave them one of our handout leaflets and they pledged that they would make a donation online as they bid us farewell and continued on their way and it’s not long before we are doing the same and we the Dichling Beacon on our right at 248 m (814 ft) the third highest point on the SDW. We continue on past Weston Brow, Street Hill and Plumpton Plain at the end of which we turn right at Black Cap to take the long narrow winding and muddy path down to the A27 and finally finishing for the day. Babs and I can tell you that this was a very long and tiring day of which we were both pleased to see the end of and we reach the A27 at 7pm. After another quick phone call to our next B&B we are picked up by Vicky Myers who owns the B&B at Rodmell a five minute car journey away, it feels good to have removed our back packs and have a seat for a few minutes. At the B&B Vicky soon has the kettle on and Babs has run a nice hot deep bath to soak away our aches and pains. Vicky told us that the only pub just up the road finishes serving food at 8pm so worried that we would miss a meal she rings the pub to let them know that she is going to drop two hungry people in ten minutes and true to her word ten minutes later we were stepping out of her car and into to pub. The first drink went down quite quickly and then we enjoyed three courses of food each and a couple more drinks. Finishing our meal we took a slow walk back down hill to our B&B where our bed was calling out to us !..
Kingston A27 to Alfriston - 12 miles
After a very good nights sleep in a comfy bed and a good breakfast, armed with our packed lunches and flasks plus a donation from Vicky for Cancer Research UK we are soon back at the A27 and at 9:30am starting with another climb up to 200 m (656 ft) leaving the roar of traffic from the A27 behind us we are up walking along the Jugg’s Road and continuing on three or four miles we come out onto the road at Rodmell where we left our B&B this morning, we continue down the road and into the village of Southease where we stop to fill our water bottles at the tap in front of an old Norman Church called St Peters Church, we did read about St Peters Church in one of our guide books. This Sussex country church, one of only three with round towers in Sussex. One of the two bells in the tower is the third oldest in Sussex, c. 1280, inscribed "IOHANNES ALEYN ME FECIT". The other bell is also medieval. Southease belonged to the Abbey of Hyde, Winchester, and the church is mentioned in a charter of King Edgar, dated 966. The existing building is the nave of a 12th century church which has kept its round tower but has lost its original chancel and aisles. There are two Norman windows, one blocked, and a pair of blocked arches which once opened into the aisles. There are now no traces of the aisles above ground, except for a piscina on the outside of the north wall which would have served the vanished altar in that aisle. The walls have interesting 13th century paintings, the clearest one being on the west wall depicting Christ in Majesty and the symbols of St John and St Luke.
|St Peters Church at Southease|
The paintings were exposed in 1934-5 and are the remnants of a scheme that would have once covered the whole of the church interior. Unfortunate for us the church was locked so we were unable to go inside to see the paintings. So had to make do with a couple of photos of the outside before we continue with our walk down over the river Ouse, crossing a railway track and then the A26 near Itford Farm and then climb Itford Hill rewarded with great view again of the River Ouse, railway and the A26 road snaking through the countryside. Continuing up to the Firle Beacon 217 m (712 ft) which again offered us splendid views, a good place to sit and have a coffee and sandwich. Babs kicked her boots off to cool her feet down, having suffered a blister on her little toe for a couple of days and now getting to the point that it was giving her some discomfort, I snipped it with the nail clippers and put a blister plaster on for her.
|Babs airing her feet while having a coffee|
After donning her socks and boots we were on the move again and straight away Babs felt much more comfortable with her toe. As we start to climb Bostal Hill we see a couple of elderly ladies walking a dog and as we draw closer to them they notice our tee shits and ask what we are doing, we stop to explain and have a nice chat for a while, as we go to leave one of them wants to give us a donation. Bless her, we have both been touched by peoples generosity over the last few days that we have been walking, because they have wanted to give a donation freely without any hassling from us and this lady was just the same, telling us just what a worthy thing it was that we were doing and informing us that she had lost her husband to Cancer some years ago…
|A quick snap of us both on route...|
Today seamed to go very quick and we found ourselves coming down off the hills at 3pm and entering Alfriston. First sight at the end of the road is a pub called the George Inn and as it has been a hot sunny day all day, it’s a sight we cant ignore and we go in for a couple of long cool drinks. Bumping into a couple we had been leapfrogging over the last couple of days we go over and have a chat about our walk. Finishing our drink I go over and ask to book a table for tonight’s evening meal, that sorted we leave to find our B&B looking forward to a bath or shower. Finding our B&B we ring the bell standing there with big smiles on our faces as the lady answers the door, we are greeted with “have you read the sign” as she points to the A4 note taped to the side window., she says” we do not let people in until 5pm but you are welcome to sit on the patio at the back if you wish .. talk about made to feel unwelcome... That’s OK we say, we will go into the village and get a cup of tea and off we go. We find a nice little tea shop in the village and have a cream tea – not wanting a repeat of our first welcome at the B&B we leave it until its well past 5pm before we go back to the B&B where we are greeted with only a slightly better welcome… I think best not to mention the name of the B&B and think we shall say no more other than what an uncomfortable bed it was, we both tossed and turned all night.
Alfriston to Eastbourne - 11 miles
We did however have a nice chat with a couple (we had meet the day before on our walk) over breakfast, they were father and daughter, dad had done the complete walk in the same direction as us and his daughter had joined him for the last couple of days and were going to stay in the same hotel as us that night in Eastbourne. The day before we had seen a chinock helicopter fly over us and thought nothing of it. But they told us that they had heard on the news that the Chinook was airlifting a memorial to Beachy Head as a memorial to the men who died serving with Bomber Command. So we will make a point of finding it when we get to Beachy Head later today.
After leaving our B&B we stop in the village to get supplies for the day and then go down and cross the Cuckmere river and where we follow the river bank for about a mile and leave it to join the road through Litlington and we notice a sign for the Vanguard Way which is a long distance walk from East Croydon to Newhaven, which shares this stretch of the SDW we join it for a climb and soon following a footpath along the side of a field, we see a white horse carved in the slopes of the opposite hill called High and Over.
|The White Horse|
We continue to the edge of a Friston Forest turning left around Charleston Manor and the up a series of steps into the forest at the end of which we come out onto a road for a short distance and then up more steps 200 of them at the top of which we come to a flint stone wall and when we reach it we are treated to a splendid view of the Cuckmere river as it twists and turns it way to the sea. We head down the grassy slope to cross the A259.
|Cuckmere river twisting its way t the sea|
The Seven Sisters Country Park occupies the lower parts of the Cuckmere Valley along with its visitors Centre. We continue up the Exceat Hill on the other side of the road and join the Seven Sister a part of the walk that we have both been looking forward to as so many people over the last few days have spoken about it. However as we start to walk over the first section of the Seven Sisters the mist has started to roll in from the sea an its not long until we can only see about 30 to 50 meters in front of us as its comes in and clears again for a few seconds. We spend the rest of our walk in mist at one point stopping a cyclists and asking if he would mind taking a photo of us both sitting on a flint stone seat, and as we chat he says that he is a local and rides to this point quite often telling us that the point at which he took our photo normally has a fantastic views behind us. Well not today I’m afraid !...
View of the Seven Sisters in the mist
We continue with our roller coaster walk over the Seven Sisters without seeing anything other than the cliff edges. Eventually we come to Birling Gap where by chance we happen to see a pub so it’s in for a quick cold one before setting off again in the mist where the next stop is Beachy Head missing the lighthouse and everything else we have just walked past. We spend a little time at Beachy Head and eventually find the Memorial we spoke about at breakfast and as we read the writing on it and reflect on the words I take a few photos.
Looking it up on the Internet when we got back a local newspaper reported that this six-tonne granite memorial, which is more than six feet high, was dropped into place by the RAF helicopter on the edge of cliffs at Beachy Head close to the Peace Path. It was met by a welcoming committee including Bomber Command survivor Joe Williams, who spearheaded the campaign for a permanent memorial at Beachy Head, the last sighting most airmen had as they left their homeland to take the war to the enemy. More than 55,573 airmen gave their lives during World War II and the arrival of the Beachy Head memorial coincides with yesterday’s unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial in London by Her Majesty the Queen. Tuesday’s operation marked the end of a long campaign by Joe Williams, a former Bomber Command air-gunner with 625 Bomber Squadron. His last operation was over Beachy Head on the way to Chemitz in 1945, when his Lancaster NG 240 Fox-2 lost an engine before leaving the English shores. Joe decided to go on but his plane was later shot down by a German fighter and after bailing out Joe was taken prisoner. He escaped and arrived back in the UK on April 22 1945.
|Bomber Command Memorial at Beachy Head|
|Bomber Command Memorial |
at Beachy Head
He said this week it had taken him four years to achieve his dream of having the memorial finally in place. “It’s a memorial to 110,000 men of Bomber Command and the 55,573 who were killed in flying accidents or on operations over Europe,” said Joe. “I want it to be thought of as an ‘operational memorial’ and in the future a place where people can sit and reflect on the young men of over 60 years ago who gave so much to make sure we today are free.” The memorial was officially unveiled by the Queen’s representative the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex Peter Field on July 8.
We continue on with the final leg of our walk and its not long before we come to the official end to the South Downs Way at Meads Village where we stop a young lady and ask her if she would take our photo as we stand under the SDW sigh which tells everyone Winchester is 100 miles. What a great feeling we have done what we set out to do we have completed the 100 mile walk of the SDW from Winchester to Eastbourne. We have been very lucky with the weather with a couple of hours of rain on one day with the remainder of that day being very slippery underfoot . The remainder have all been sunny with a cool breeze ideal for walking the only blip was the last few hours where we were hoping to get the views of the cliffs. But, not to worry we have book ourselves into the Best Western Hotel in Eastbourne for a couple of days for a bit of R & R so we will have time to go back and take the views in...
|We made it !... the end of our walk and after a tube of|
rub Andy's knees held out...
As we start to walk along the seafront a young lady catches us up, we had seen her on our walk and spent a little time chatting to her she had planned to do the same walk as us in 6 days. We did tell her she was a glutton for punishment at the time. Well we were all three walking the last half mile or so to our hotels and reflecting back on our walk. She had got some real bad blisters on her heels and was looking forward to getting them sorted out, she said that would be one of her first ports of call after a nice hot bath. She was meeting up with some of her girlfriends the next day and they had all planned to stay in a cottage for a couple of days. A cheer goes up when she spots her hotel and as we part company she tells us that she is going to make a donation online to Cancer Research UK and that we should look out for her comment on our JustGive page (our online donation page) looks like she is going to be fist in the bath....
Another five minutes walking and we also find our hotel on the sea front. We book in and within ten minutes there is a hot steaming bath running...
Next morning it’s a bright sunny day so we take a walk up to the Pier, Babs want to get a couple of bits for our Grandchildren and so we drop into one of the shops on the pier called Gifts @ The Pier where we found something and paid for it, we continued talking to Kathy who had served us, telling her what we had just done. She instantly hot a button on the till and was fishing out some money as she wanted to give a donation also (Thanks Kathy). When we told Kathy about wanting to go back to Beachy Head to get some photos she told us the there were open top buses that took people up there on a tour, so it was off to find one at the end of the Pier. Hopping on a bus and buying our day ticket that lasted all day enabling you to get off and on anywhere that day, we done the complete tour seeing all the things that we had missed yesterday in the fog. We ended up back at the pier, staying on the bus for the ride back to Beachy Head. We spend some time there taking photos and then decide that we would have lunch and a couple of drinks in the Beachy Head pub before getting the bus back to Eastbourne as Babs is having withdrawal symptoms and need to go to the shopping centre for her fix at shopping and is dragging me along with her to see if she cant convert me to this shopping thing...
We have our two days relaxing in Eastbourne and on the morning of our departure Dolly & Malcolm drive down to pick us up. After a quick coffee all round we drive back past Beachy Head and Burling Gap where we stop to take more photos. Driving on to our last port of call at the Devils Dyke where we plan to stop for a little treat and have lunch before our final leg home.
|Babs and Andy relaxing on the beach catching the sun|
Well we hope that you have enjoyed reading our blog on the walk and that and feel the need to become one of those kind people who have donated to our Cancer Research UK you can online by going to www.justgiving.com/AndyBabsSDW and of course by looking at this site from time to time you will be able to the total we have all finally raised!...
We have had great fun doing it, and we wish to thank you all on behalf of Cancer Research UK and all the people who will benefit from your very kind donations.
Should you wish to comment or add anything to our blog please do so it would be great to read and share, all you have to do is click on the blue no comments or comments and when the box comes up leave your comment and fill the boxes out!..
Yours forever grateful Andy & Babs