Saturday, 2 June 2012

Every journey starts with but a single step.....

This statement (or one in the same vane) seems by all accounts to be attributed to Lao-Tzu, a Chinese philosopher in the 6th century BC.  How does this have anything to do with me, you ask? After too many years of a sedentary life in front of the TV, I have finally came to the conclusion that I need to become active and have decided to take up walking. I know, I know - I have been doing that since I was a mere, well, toddler. However the walking I wish to be associated with now, is out of the urban structures and in the countryside. Perhaps I may become a Rambler, yet I lean more towards being a Hill Walker at this stage.

The first steps were taken with a good friend, Ian, who accompanied me on a circular walk from Avebury in Wiltshire. Now many of you may never have heard of Avebury. It is rightfully famous for having the largest stone circle in all of England and one of the largest in the world.  Considering when it was all erected (sometime between the Mesolithic and Neolithic eras), it was a monumental (no pun intended) undertaking, the digging tool of the day was the shoulder-blade of an aurochs or some other bovine beast.

Anyhoo... we left Avebury on a southern trajectory and soon found ourselves wondering past yet another impressive Neolithic item, Silbury Hill.

As you can see, we had chosen a typically wonderful English summer day for our walk! This hill is entirely man-made. It is 40m high and was created about 4600 years ago. Why? Many theories abound, some more fanciful than others, but truth be told, no-one knows. Maybe an evil person, or tribe of evil people had been killed and they wanted to make really, really sure that they couldnt come back. As good a guess as any......

We continued on south and found ourselves at the West Kennet Long Barrow. Looking back from the top of the long barrow,  you would normally see Avebury but the mistiness allows only the view of Silbury Hill.

Wildlife-wise, there was not much to see. Ravens, blackbirds, jackdaws, various LBJs and this inquisitive beast who interrupted it's head scratching to inspect us closely as we wondered on by.

Most of the walk was in wide open terrain with almost the only overgrown area being at a stile leading into a veritable green canyon.

We only took a wrong turning once and thanks to my fetish for maps, we were able to discover where we actually were and get back on track. Part of the path we walked is the very beginning of the Ridgeway National Trail at Overton Hill. The walk was easy (thankfully) and without and ascent or descent to speak of, the highest point being about 225m.

This was all topped off with a fine ending at The Red Lion where we both decided that bangers and Devon cheddar mash was an appropriate choice.

Next? I need to continue to build my walking stamina and Ian and I are already talking of another, longer one in a couple of weeks. Pilgrims Trail and GR10 - here I come!

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