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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Four Marilyns and two hundred and ninety two miles motoring

My intention was to have a day off and view Salisbury Cathedral, but invigorated after a good sleep I was back on the M trail again by 7:30 am.

Even after delays on the M27 I was up and down Chanctonbury Hill (TQ 134 130) by 11:30. Situated on The South Downs Way, with cropped turf, cloudless blue sky and warm sunshine it was an idyllic start to the day. I even removed my zip off legs and walked in shorts for the first time - what a feeling of freedom. A local, well educated guy of similar age to myself provided pleasant conversation on the top ranging from mutual wartime memories, the construction of dew ponds, WW2 aircraft, dog walking, and the advantages of walking alone amongst other subjects.

So far I have taken these hills one by one rather than having a fixed plan. Research established that Leith Hill (TQ 139 431) was only about 40 mins. drive so off I went. A steep ten minute climb through woods brought me onto a pine scattered plateau and a grand tower. I had a long chat with a cyclist who lived closer in to London and thrived on getting out into the country. The tower had a kiosk (coffee and shortbread for me). The lady told me the tower was built by a guy in the 1750s for his own visitations, not only as a folly. There were a few people about enjoying the glorious weather, and it is obviously a popular spot, but compared with recently visited Butser Hill which was like Blackpool, Leith Hill would have to be compared with Harrogate.

I was conscious of getting further and further east from my caravan, but reckoned I could squeeze in Botley Hill (TQ 396 553) because it was actually on the side of a road. It turned out to be about three metres from the road on the other side of a barbed wire fence which was easily straddled.

It was now decision time. North Downs (TQ 804 586) is the most easterly Marilyn in south England and logistically a problem. If I tackled it now it would probably save me a whole day later but it was a long way - not far off The Channel Tunnel !

Hard driving on the M25 and M26 eventually got me to this popular dog walking spot perched in the top of the North Downs.

More hard driving for over two hours saw me back at Salisbury and welcome beers, thoughtfully stashed in the fridge before departure, with accomplishment of the statistics shown in the title herewith.

Dew pond on Chanctonbury Hill

Chanctonbury Hill summit looking along The South Downs Way - I reckon that must be a good walk.

Approaching the tower and summit of Leith Hill

The kiosk in the tower can be seen

Botley Hill trig. The road is just on the others side of the hedge

North Downs summit and trig

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


afootinthehills said...

Dakota air crash information here Conrad:

Phreerunner said...

Following our last exchange of comments:
Oh dear, I think you are an addict! There are of course far worse addictions...

Sir Hugh said...

Afoot - I knew the info would be out there somewhere. Thanks.

Phreerunner - I think the novelty is wearing off a bit at the moment. I will do some sort of summary about this at the end of this mission.

welshpaddler said...

I admire your dedication. Covered in fog and mist here in West Wales.

Do we have any Marilyns in South/West Wales?

Anonymous said...

What a day Conrad!! 73miles per Marilyn - could be a record.
I know why you appreciated the hills on the North and South downs - good walking and spacious views in the good weather you experienced.
In the last couple of years I've walked both the Downs long distance paths and found the upland areas surprisingly isolated.Lots of interesting archeology along the way.Good pubs. Make great routes for anyone.
Where to next I wonder.

Sir Hugh said...

Welshpaddler - hi . There are probably about 50 Ms in south and west Wales. Suggest you buy the book . It is one of Cicerone's - the Relative Hills of Britain by Alan Dawson , but don't blame me if youbecome addicted.


Bowlandclimber - I agree. I can see these Downs walks being worthwhile. There is a great atmosphere of space and friendly freedom on those tops.


For All - I do not have a good enough WI fi signal to post From new site but will keep trying as I move around during the day today (Thursday).