Day 85: Manorfarm Down – Graffham Down – Bignor Hill – Amberley – Rackham Hill – Washington – Chanctonbury Ring – Upper Beeding – Truleigh Hill

27.6 miles – A thick mist, thinning towards noon, heavy rain in the afternoon

Early morning on Graffham Down

A long and perhaps unexpectedly rather lovely day.

I set off at 06:02, by a whisker the earliest start of my (3 minutes earlier than Day 51), and, also by a whisker the longest day of my walk (0.2 miles further than Day 58). And, despite the mist and rain, enjoyed the gentle sweep of the hills.

I was helped by the large plateful of scrambled eggs and bacon, a slice of cake, and six cupfuls of tea, which restored me at Amberly, not to mention the four perfectly-kept pints of Dark star Hophead and massive ‘roast beef dinner pie’ at the Rising Sun at Upper Beeding.

Given the weather conditions, stunning pictures of the ridge of the Downs were out of my scope. I can tell the day’s story in just a few pictures.

Thick mist; the tree is less than 100 yards away.
A spider’s web etched with dew drops.
I’m not sure whether the corn or the sunflowers is the crop.
Three hawthorn trees, now almost entirely taken over by ivy.
A Southdown sheep in a field of goosefoot and poppies.
An oak and hawthorn sculpture.
Some cheery and energetic young walkers overtook me; they are training for the ‘100 K Challenge’.
The rain had become heavy, but I risked pointing my camera into the wind to take this picture of Chanctonbury Hill from Barnsfarm Hill. After that photography was impossible for a few hours.
Upper Beeding with Truleigh Hill rising behind it.
Autumn encroaches into summer. These chestnut trees are already softening into golden richness.

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