I’ve been reading Watership Down again recently. One of the cool things about the book is the locations are based on real places and various people have produced maps that you can follow. So I set out trying to roughly follow the path the rabbits took to Watership Down. Unfortunately though rabbits are not hampered by rights-of-way and other barriers, so I ended up going a rather roundabout route.
Early on I had a mildly terrifying experience where a pair of large horses decided to follow me out of their field and down a path. Luckily they were completely baffled by the stile and I made an escape.
Around lunchtime I made it to the top of Watership Down! At this point the weather decided to ignore the forecast and become very hot and sunny. Unfortunately I’d forgotten my hat and sun cream so today I am looking quite red. Oops.
I was permanently on the lookout for rabbits, and although I saw three or four they mostly hopped away before I could snap them. The best I could manage is this ultra-cropped picture of a rabbit in a distant field.
Much later on I met a man on a quest to visit the highest point in Hampshire who, for some reason, had forgotten to bring a map. After helping him on his way I realised there was an even higher point in the other direction. I pondered chasing after him but lucky I didn’t as that one was actually the highest point in Berkshire and he was correctly heading to the top of Hampshire. Phew.
That’s the highest point in Berkshire on the hill beyond the beacon. I like the idea of bagging county tops: kind of a more sedate alternatives Munroes. Something for retirement perhaps.
Downland ridges are probably my favourite walking terrain but it’s very hard to stop and walk back down before you get to the end. Something psychological about not wanting to lose all that potential energy. So I walked and walked and walked until about 8pm when I decided I really needed to get the train back and made a bee-line for Bedwyn.
I was trying some different shoes on this trip (Scarpa Vortex XCR) which are approach shoes rather than the lightweight boots I normally use. They’re wonderfully comfortable and after 33 miles my feet didn’t really feel at all sore. Time to try something a bit longer perhaps…