After a good night at the Swan and a full English early the next morning, the landlord kindly drove us up to the the car park where the previous day's walk had putatively ended. We were grateful to avoid the climb on foot. You can see how remote the car park is. Fine views though . . .
We then set off along the ridge of the hills. It was clear that this was Newbury racecourse country.
As if further proof were needed.
The footpath then led over Watership Down.
Not a very interesting scene, especially since the wind was now distinctly blustery and chilly and all the rabbits were presumably nestled in their warren. After the downs, the path led up to some lovely old beeches.
After which it became distinctly bleak and the wind even more penetrating.
We paused only to lay our stones on the cairn.
When we did eventually come into the shelter of some trees, it was clear they had suffered in the winter storms.
After a pleasant walk through a short dale, we were supposed to follow the footpath and run across the notorious A34.
We elected to take a detour along a permissive path and through a farmer's underpass, although it looks as though the flood waters would have prevented this a week or so ago.
Safely on the other side, we now we came across this memorial stone.
Back over the hill, the path led through a pleasant hazel grove.
Where we passed the castellated entrance to Highclere Castle, the home used as Downton Abbey.
The views were quite extraordinary along the whole of the day's walk. The countryside appeared to stretch for 30 odd miles in almost every direction without a sign of any townships.
Finding a spot out of the wind (and no pub!), we stopped for a short break to eat sandwiches.
We passed through the highest point of the Wayfarers Walk (about 260m) and now in Berkshire, just after this. Strangely, in this remote spot, there had once been a house - now just a chimney stack.
Although maybe not so strange - here was a new house, in glorious isolation.
Where do they go, if they run out of Sugar Puffs? Or, worse, Marmite? From here, the beacon was becoming visible. Some horses on the hillside.
A vehicle gate with horse access. I don't think I had seen one of these before.
But before emerging from the woodland, we had one further obstacle to negotiate.
And then we were there. But where? There were no signs, no structures of any kind, apart from this seat. (And no champagne either, if you look closely!)
And no signs of life apart from the sheep.
But our taxi soon arrived to take us, chilled to the marrow, but triumphant, to the nearest rail station for the journey home and on to our next adventure.
(to be continued)