Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex

Dawn on the Downs

I woke very early this morning and felt restless so headed into the Downs for a walk. I listened to the Shipping Forecast in the car on the way, feeling instantly integrated into the fragmented dawn community of fishermen and farmers.

There were some spectacular sights as the sun rose and fought back the mist over the Arun Valley. The views were filled with colour experiments too as the pinks and oranges of the sky rose in a crescendo that battled with the whites and greens closer to the ground. In the end the orange clashed too grossly with the yellows of a field of rapeseed and I had to look away.

Yesterday afternoon I received the following email from a young navigator called Luke Hardy:

This Saturday, just gone, myself and two friends went on our local walking competition – the Charnwood Hike.  The aim is to complete the 20 mile hike in the fastest time possible. (you are allowed to run)  Unfortunately it is in the hike’s rules that we must take a map and compass.  There are various checkpoints along the route.  We were awarded points for speed and map reading- I’ve finished reading your book by now- so at the check points we showed our map reading skills to the officials, found the direction in which we had to travel (eg.SE) and, with a bit of persuasion, we put the map in David’s bag- when the officials weren’t looking- and set off looking for natural clues.  David and Sam (the two friends) were completely inspired, especially when they found that we got a better score this time than when the map was used last year. I told my two little converts that if they want to see the book they have to buy one – so there is another two sold!  I could have let them borrow it, but I have two nicknames for my copy already, “second holiest book” and “the fourth emergency service”.

What an email to receive, but take care Luke!