Monday, 21 April 2014

Walk No 3: Where the Cocking Down is it?!

I don't know where the hell I am, but it is pretty

Today's trip out started at around lunch time again and the direction of travel was west towards Cocking, located on the South Downs Way again. The plan was to ascend to the ridge, in much the same vein as the Chanctonbury episode. Ominously, I was in a similar condition to that aforementioned day and so was babalu; a right grumpy pair we were. I can nearly always get a smile out of her though - I can crack through her gloomiest of visages as long as the right combination of kisses, funny faces and exiting of wind (hers) can be brought together.

The Easter bunny

I had no map, no satnav and today, no sense. I navigated my way along the country lanes without mishap until Midhurst (the non-commissioned sister series to Midsomer Murders) and then used my phone to get my bearings, but that was OK because it gave me the option to include ferry crossings. 

We arrived into the snigger-worthy Cocking village and from memory I went up a lane which I knew to run close to the South Downs Way. Annoyingly there was no way through that I could find (there was, it just eluded me). But no matter, madam needed feeding and so we parked up under an old viaduct on a leafy lane, the landy crushing a large patch of aromatic wild garlic beneath its wheels.

Wild honeysuckle
Back in the village again I parked up by the church which I KNEW to be right near the South Downs Way. I recognised it from when I did the SDW before. But where the Cocking Down was it? It started to rain. Rather than waste any more time on what was probably going to be a fairly short scamper anyway, I bundled babalu into the Baby Bjorn, complete with 'rabbit with ears' hat for Easter and we began our walk in what my newly acquired compass told me was an easterly direction. 
Friends en route

It really didn't matter though - the countryside around and about was lovely and the rain shower (which we jointly sheltered from beneath my polka dot green Jack-in-a-Pack) passed quickly. We walked across crop fields, hugging a line of oaks that ascended a gentle hill. The walk was probably no more than three miles or so; taking in fields, woodland and streams; the dog availed himself of these for dual cooling down and refreshment purposes.

My route also took in a B&B that my pal and I stayed in when we did the SDW walk. It's called Moonlight Cottage and although perfectly pleasant, I gleefully recall it as being a kind of chintz-on-acid scenario of floral pottery and relationship meltdown between the hosting couple. They were charming, really.

Who doesn't love a ploughed field? I do!

Babalu was starting to make strangulated grumpy sounds, so without delay I completed my loop which, with the best will in the world, I cannot tell you exactly where it was and returned to the start. A quick detour to the village shop for some ice-cream (there is a definite post-walk theme developing) one of these ice creams as it happens, and we were back on the road.

Thank god that's over!

I had to pull over at Goodwood racecourse to feed and change madam, but there are surely worse places to do these things. And what's more, I was lucky enough to spot one of the finest examples of a man in red trousers that I have seen in a long time! Just look at this exquisite example! I am particularly enamoured of the extra pizzazz the yellow shirt and tank top adds to the outfit. I wonder if he votes Labour? (Clue: he doesn't).

I got home to the glorious sunshine that had evaded us all day! Another walk walked.

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