Ogborne St George to Overton Hill - 12th October 2003 - 9.5 miles
The finest dry, warm, still day opens before us. A donkey
wishes us well and we pass the oddly named The
Bear and The Peacock Cottage. Circle around Og St Geo and head uphill.
The sun also climbs and gives a golden glow to a hazel
bush. Lesley continues her nature study shots with a fine Tortoiseshell
butterfly and a thistle.
Richard snaps a sheep and
we pause for rest on Bert's seat.
A butterfly resting on a flower
is almost crushed by a passing dog, intent on discovering the focus of
Lesley's attention. The Frog and Spoon tea shop appears by the wayside
and the boys testdrive a piece of cake
each. Hawthorn leaves are
starting to change colour now. Barbury Castle is filled with resting
cows but some seem keen to take it to the extreme.
Today's pub visit requires a 3.2 mile detour and descending thirstily
from the Ridgeway we chance upon a party
of brave souls, armed only with shotguns, standing motionless at the
bottom of the hill. The nearby beaters raise the final pheasants from
a low thicket less than fifty yards from the front guns which burst into
life and spray their lethal spread of shot. Punctured game birds, flapping
wildly, gasp and plunge and plummet. Even in death the enemy must still
be dangerous so they are securely strung
by their necks. Elegant grass
stands motionless in the still air as Richard and Gloria pick
a bag of sloes from passing
bushes to make a winter gin reminder of the walk. At the Bell
Inn, Broad Hinton, our thirst is finally quenched but it's hard to
concentrate surrounded by dancing lights and bouncing balls. Back to the
Ridgeway and, though tiring fast, we can't resist another detour, this
time to the stone-encircled village of Avebury.
Among the village stones
a newish lamb bounces in bootees
whilst an older lamb could
almost be heard humming 'So here it is, Merry Christmas' quietly in the
background. Pausing for a team
photo we leave Avebury by West Kennet Avenue heading for Overton Hill,
the end of the Ridgeway. A startled deer startles us by leaping from some
undergrowth and bounds across the hillside, pausing
occasionally to make sure we are not chasing it - as if! Finally,
a downhill stretch and the glorious car park at the end of the walk appears
as the sun settles down for the
night. The waiting crowds have folded their flags, given up and long gone
home. The photographers have taken down the bunting and melted away. It's
only us and a car to take
us back to the Inn with the (95') Well
at Ogbourne St George for a glass of champers and a meal.