Two generations of useless explorers



More adventures from MPS!

An update from blog author Matt today on last week's fitness activities!


Last week - which was the final (official) week of Commit to Get Fit 2015 - I was visited by my mum who wanted to get on board with the healthy activity.

She suggested taking a bus up to the Devil's Dyke for a view of the city and a walk.

When checking the bus timetables, I saw there is a route from the Devil's Dyke down towards Patcham, where I live.

"It's only six miles! How hard can it be!?!"

Ridonkulously hard, as it turned out.


Promising start

The day started well, we got the bus from the seafront and disembarked on the hilltop.

At the top, we were a little concerned that there weren't any routes signposted - only the South Downs Way. "It'll all become obvious when we get over that rise....", I thought wishfully. 

On the top, we bumped into a couple who were walking their ponies, just because (see photos).

We followed the very limited instructions we had "walk East along the South Downs Way" until we reached the start of Saddlescombe.


Where to then?

At this point, we got stuck. The South Downs Way seemed to head into the village, where the directions were guiding us down the main road. While we may have done better just walking along the road, there was no adjacent footpath and cars were obviously racing or something because they shot past at warp speed 5.

With the road looking dangerous, we turned back on ourselves and headed up a bridlepath. This was not the way to go, as it ended up looping us back towards the Devil's Dyke. Bummer.

We considered crossing a field to get back on track but couldn't see a way to get out of the field, so decided against.

Instead, we wandered down the main road for a few miles, still concerned at the life-threatening nature of the walk but now a bit lost so we just threw caution to the fumes and marched on.


Fields of brown

The next milestone was a gate that mum spotted on the opposite side of the road.

"A footpath! We are saved!"

Our optimism was short-lived as the footpath led up a dirt track to a closed-off field.

We considered backtracking, for maybe five seconds, then decided to keep plodding on by crossing that field.

Getting into the field was reasonably easy, and we cut across towards the Golf Course in the direction we needed to go (roughly due South).

Our first aim was to keep going direct - but the field was lined with gorse bushes that would have cut us to shreds, so we went back a little to try a different corner of the field.

Halfway across the field, we spotted a herd of cows eyeing us up. No panic, just keep on going, avoid eye contact....

A sentry positioned at the far end of the field tracked us to make sure we didn't cause any trouble - its eyes seemed to say "I've got your number, humans" but all it uttered was a quiet moo.

We reached the other end of the field in one piece, checking over our shoulder to make sure the udder inhabitants of the field weren't in hot pursuit. We could see the Golf Course, with its cowpat-free paths and unsecured gates. We were so close! No giving up now!

We were a bit stumped when we saw quite how barby the fence was. It was a mess of rusted wire and thorns to catch out tresspassers (with a 100% success rate as far as I am aware).

That determined spirit filled us up again and we lifted the fence out of the post to allow each of us to roll under the fence. It was a move straight out of Mission Impossible and would have been a total success had my mum not caught her rucksack on the wire. D'oh!

Oh well, freedom beckoned.


Final furlong

The next field was the last barbed wire prison we had to escape. Another lift-and-roll maneuver got us out onto the road and Hove was in sight.

The last part of the walk did actually have a footpath, so we ambled alongside some sheep for several minutes before meeting back up with the main road.

We reached Hove, then down Tongdean Lane into Withdean and home! 

I can tell you that the cuppa and rest when I got home was desperately needed - my feet still have not recovered.

Can't give a precise estimate of the mileage but was more like 10 miles in total - plus the extra calories from our "Great Escape" routine!


Pics below - hover over the image and use the arrows to scroll through the gallery.

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