A great day today.
After another spiritual breakfast with the lovely Antonette and Camilla, who’s from Sweden (free dives with Whales and likes football), I headed off with a plan to find somewhere roughly near stonehenge; beautiful weather, clear skies but very cold so great to walk in. My body seems to be adapting a little more to things as my legs don’t ache so early in the day as they did initially, my bergan is starting to settle in and I’ve distributed the weight better. So improving. You know when you misjudge a step and it’s a few inches lower than you thought, which jars the knee? Yeah had one of those today, so first Ibuprofen have gone down the range on day 4.
Set off walking from Avebury towards Devizes and really enjoyed the morning. Eventually decided to stick my thumb out and see what that had to offer and after about 20 minutes Rob and his landrover stopped alongside me. Unbeknown to me at the time, but whilst hoisting my bergan up into Robs Lanny, my water bottle and pouch must have detached from my kit and are now a permanent feature of that part of the road. This is a problem I’ve had a couple of times already so it was only a matter of time and my own fault. I still have a spare 2 litres in my bergan so need to consider a better way…maybe a camelpak once in London. (Any one know of better / newer options).
Once in Devizes I stopped for a scone and tea, and sat next to a guy who I got chatting to. Turns out he is ex Hercules pilot from the Brylcream Boys (RAF), and had also the author of a book called “seven short lives”. The Book is about 1 particular Lancaster Bomber crew, of which the pilot was Steves dads cousin. The crew were shot down and all killed in 1944 over France and Steve spent years investigating the circumstances to the aircrafts loss, from both sides of the conflict, as well as tracing and visiting the living relatives of the fated crew. This journey took Steve all around the world and is a magnificent and moving tale of the fragility of life during those dark times.
The link to The books website is:- www.sevenshortlives.com I think it would be a very interesting read.
Steve and his lovely wife Alison then drove me to their gorgeous home, showed me the book and articles about it in flypast magazine. He offered me a copy but we agreed I would get it on my return from the trip in a couple of years. Steve then drove me further onto the Salisbury road, dropping me at a military cemetery, which we both went to have a look around. A lot of Australians who had died at the same time in 1916 were buried in this cemetery and Steve informed me it was due to a flu outbreak that had occurred and which had decimated an Australian unit before they even set foot on French soil. As with all these locations, I felt sad at the waste of such young lives but a small part of me kind of wondered that, if it was their fate to die at that time, then just maybe the flu was a small mercy compared to the Western front? RIP boys.
I then walked from there down towards Amesbury, visiting wood henge on route. This is a monument exactly like the Sanctuary at Avebury and it is about 2 Miles from stonehenge and again must have had some link to that site.
As I walked I could see the barracks where I was first stationed back in 1987, whilst my Battalion was on the Arctic Warfare Role and bugger me if it didn’t start snowing at that exact moment! I used all my arctic survival training and decided ‘nah bollocks to that’ and headed to a B&B, leaving my tent secure inside my bergan. I spent the evening in Amesbury which is where we used to go fighting, sorry drinking at the weekend when we were off duty. I saw the new generation of squaddies in the pubs and was tempted to go in and join them, but knew it would probably end up with me naked on a table, doing shots with some burning toilet roll hanging out of my backside, so gave it a miss.
Video of the day