Day 88: ‘Elim’ – Brown Bread Street – Battle – Westfield – Three Oaks – Guestling Woods – Hastings Country Park – Hastings (East Hill – Old Town – Rock-a-Nore Beach)
23.1 miles – The shining perfection of a cloudless early autumn morning, the cloudy restlessness of a late summer afternoon, perfection again at close
It was the most beautiful way to have started the last day of my journey home.
Will and Noa accompanied me to ‘the giraffe’ amid the gold of the just-risen sun gilding the now-turning leaves, and all made pristine and new reflected in the jewelled dew. My walk was concluding in the first true day of early autumn, the season which, since my teenage years, has spoken to me of renewal. It felt like a blessing on my final day: my walk has thus encompassed the first unfurling of leaves in spring in the West Highlands to their falling in a blaze of dancing colour like children at play.
I strode forth into golden joy!
To put a seal of joy on the day and on my walk, I was joined for the last few miles by my friends: Guy, who has brought the Route Beer page to life, my dearest Rachel, and for the final stretch by Peter, Rasj, Jennifer, Alistair and Lesley-Ann.
The choice of my somewhat convoluted route home from the eastern end of the South Downs – roughly double the distance of the direct route along the coast – was one of the most important decisions of the journey to me. I felt it was deeply important to finish the walk along the paths which are my closest to my heart, those of Hastings Country Park, the place where I walk every day I possibly can. There had been a growing sense of ‘home’ from my first view of Lewes, two days before, but stepping into the Country Park was its consummation.
Hastings Country Park
The Finishing Point
There are only a couple of stills of me on Rock-a-Nore Beach, so you might enjoy the video of the last three minutes of my walk instead. Apologies for Guy, who found my dropping the Cape Wrath stone rather amusing!