Today, as I drove down the roads through Storrington and the turn-off through Amberley to Arundel, I could see the ridge that I had walked the previous day. The rolling downs were beautiful in the spring sunshine. The views from the top must be spectacular. I never did get to see them as the clouds rolled in yesterday. My colleague and I were lashed with wind and rain; of the variety that comes from the side, so powerful that it stings the cheeks.
This was my third section of the South Downs. The path climbs up to the ridge from a small village south of Hassocks called Pyecombe. The track follows the ridge across downland with the famous Devil's Dyke on the right. Up to this point, the weather remained bearable: scudding clouds and the occasional spatter of water.
It is hard to say what the South Downs looks like after this as I saw very little of it. The track is easy to follow in the gloom of mist and rain. There were occasional trees. I remember those. The path does drop down to a village on the A24: Washington, which looked quite friendly in the sun, and bleak yesterday. The final stretch from Washington to Amberley is marked by agriculture: a piggery and long fields of tillage, already planted unlike their counterparts north of London.
One sight remains with me: a hawk or crow hovering at the stretch of vision in the mist: a haunting silhouette.
Eventually, after 23 miles: (including the trek from Hassocks to Pyecombe), one reaches Amberley and the dry shelter of The Bridge Inn. Thank God!