Dick & Gloria & Lesley & Michael's
Ridgeway Walk - 1st Anniversary
Overton Hill to Broad Hinton via Barbury Castle - 13th November 2004 - 6.5 miles
A crystal clear, blue sky morning and we set off from Overton Hill into the face of a bitter-cold, north wind. On this day before Remembrance Sunday scarlet poppies bobbed by the barbed wire boundary and scarlet-clad cyclists splashed gaily on. Richard spotted a fossil embedded in the Ridgeway's muddy-puddled historic track. Lesser mortals might have walked on by but Amersham's answer to Time Teams' Phil Harding prised and prodded until, finally, he clutched his weighty, well-won prize in his hand and had to carry it for the rest of the day. Hunger beckoned and we dined on sandwiches and hot coffee on a fallen hawthorn trunk watched by an eerie face trapped in the bark. By rocks and fields we marched on north, past hawthorn berries stacked on trees, while buzzards soared on freezing thermals and beetles dug beneath our feet. Fallen autumn leaves soaked peacefully in chalky puddles and sheep lay camouflaged amongst outcrops of grey Wiltshire stone. Arriving at our Broad Hinton turnoff ahead of schedule, we salivated further north, to the well-remembered tea shop at Barbury Castle and tiredly sank onto hard chairs whilst teeth sank into soft, assorted cakes. Freshened, we turned south and a Hercules turned overhead for RAF Lineham. The sun was setting swiftly as we left the Ridgeway and descended for Broad Hinton through a field of cooling horses. Finally, in the almost darkness we robbed an ancient blackthorn bush of two small bags of sloes and headed for warm baths and hot food in a warm inn.