South Downs Way – notes from day 5:

(Houghton to Truleigh Hill)

Oh dear! Worst nights’ sleep ever. My first night in a hostel – with 3 more nights in a hostel to come… I got back from dinner to a totally empty, blissfully quiet, place. My roomies had arrived while I was out and perfumed the room with Lynx body spray – haven’t smelled that since my boys were in their teens! Window open until flying things started coming in; window closed.

Ear-plugs in; eye-mask on; slept from 9.30pm for a whole hour…and then I was awake for the next three while all around me doors slammed, room-mate snored, showers ran, toilets flushed, hand-driers whined and the bathroom extractors hummed FOREVER!!!!! Honestly the sound of the fans nearly drove me to start walking at 1am but it finally went quiet around 1.30am all the way through to 4.49am! 

In the middle of all the goings-on, I realised around midnight that I had left all my walking socks on the washing line earlier on, so it was out with the ear-plugs, off with the eye-mask and out to get them in just in case it rained overnight. Walking in damp socks would have been a bad, bad start to day 5.

So here I sit, 5am, cup of hot water by my side, room-mate still snoring, looking forward to my next hostel night tonight, where apparently I’ll be sharing a room with participants from the ‘Big Church Day Out’. I pray that they will be a quiet bunch, although have since found out that it is a music festival so maybe not?!

crossing the River Arun – half way to Eastbourne!

On the road just after 7.30am to take a detour via the local(ish) shop to buy provisions for lunch to save me going off route later today. I need to eat less bread today so no problem that they didn’t sell any vegetarian sandwiches! I opted for a piece of cheese, apple, dark kit-kat, fruit pastilles and extra strong mints – the latter two to help my gut settle down a bit as I walk. 


Once on the road I made steady progress although it felt like I was continuously climbing for the first two hours. Came across some cows and calves being sent onto a new pasture, thankfully off the route, but I walked uphill with them for some way before they reached the end of their field. 

Today has been all about:

  • the skylarks who have cheered me on nearly the whole way;
  • the spitfire that flew directly overhead, looped down behind some trees and then soared above me again – just incredible (I cried!!);
  • lots of road/track miles
  • lots of piggies near Bramber and
  • loads of wind whipping in off the sea

It finished with more cows & calves right across the path – I climbed over the fence into another field to avoid them, only to find I couldn’t get out of that one, so I cried, climbed back over the fence again, got a grip, walked on my way, and cried again when I got safely to the other side!!! 

I’m not coping very well with vertigo – funnily enough it gets worse the higher I go (who knew??) – and it’s made me really worry about the Seven Sisters section on Tuesday. I’ve decided to cut myself some slack by taking the decision to walk inland via Jevington instead, although I’m planning to walk to the Cuckmere estuary first and maybe once I’m there I’ll just carry on…a decision for Tuesday!

Tomorrow is my longest day (20 miles) so I’m hoping for good sleep tonight and an early start in the morning. Wish me luck Jx 

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