A bit of context
After successfully completing the Hadrian’s Wall walk in June, I decided to embark on another through-hike, this time along the Ridgeway. This 87-mile journey is part of my training for a charity walk in Iceland next March, in support of Prospect Hospice https://www.justgiving.com/page/aurelie-icelandtrek2024.
Yesterday I packed my bag but decided to repack in my trusty OEX instead this morning.
With my backpack hastily repacked, I missed eating breakfast (I wasn’t able to eat due to anxiety anyway), I rushed to catch the bus to Avebury, where my adventure would begin.
Day 1: Avebury to Ogbourne St George
The Importance of Company
I had put out a call on Facebook a few days ago for friends to join me on this walk, and I was grateful to have Suzie and Craig accompany me on this first day.
Their presence was a welcome distraction from recent personal challenges, including my mother’s illness and a breakup.
I have walked 23.3km (14.4 miles) from Avebury to Ogbourne St George.
We left Avebury before 10am past the beautiful stones.
To my walking partners’ disappointment, I’d planned to via the official start of the Ridgeway at Overton Hill, past Silbury hill and West Kennet long barrow (unplanned visit but we got a lovely selfie) along the way.
The path was very muddy and full of surface water around west Kennett and there, just before Overton Hill, the walk included an impromptu tour of a field as we took a wrong turn. We reoriented ourselves quickly and carried on .
The path took us past Hackpen Hill, where Suzie got picked up, and Barbury Castle, where Craig picked up his car. I continued on to Smeathe’s Ridge before arriving in Ogbourne St George, where Craig rejoined me and guided me all the way to the pub. We enjoyed drinks, dinner, and a lovely chat about hikes and travels.
As I sit in my hotel room, soaking my feet in a bath, I can’t help but feel a mix of exhaustion and satisfaction. I’ve caught a bit of sunburn, but I hope it won’t be too bad tomorrow. I’m a bit worried about the longer walk ahead, especially since I was slower than I wanted to be today.
I drank too much of my water too quickly so tomorrow I will need to manage this better. Craig gave me what was left of his water, between Hackpen and Barbury: I don’t have refill option tomorrow.
Thankfully, Craig has offered to join me for the last part of the hike tomorrow so I’ll have company again, and I’m looking forward to meeting Sophie for dinner.
As I settle in with my book for some rest, I can’t help but feel grateful for the support of my friends and the beauty of the Ridgeway.
Tomorrow is an early rise, and I’m excited to see what this next day has in store.