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|WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GILBERT WHITE Selborne to OxfordSULHAMSTEAD TO GORING
Today we walked 11 ½ miles, which is nearly the longest distance on the walk (tomorrow is 12 miles) and so we have broken the back of the journey having notched up nearly 45 miles since the start, the whole route being 75 miles. So we have only three more days and 30 miles to cover. We had a good day, lunching in the beechwoods of Sulham Wood south of Pangbourne, crossing the river at Pangbourne over the newly-restored toll bridge, and then tackling the long run down back to the river from Whitchurch to Goring. The weather was overcast, but good for walking, and everyone made the whole distance, even those who wondered whether they really would (which includes yours truly, having failed to do her warm-up exercises now has a pulled muscle in her leg – but better me than one of my walkers). We ended up in The Catherine Wheel pub in Goring, weary but triumphant.
The only bad bits were marching on pavements through Theale (trespassing a bit, but promising not to do it again) and the crossing of the M4 and its 5 minute aftermath. We set that against the delights of the Kennet and Avon towpath, the Sulham lunch spot, the meadows near Pangbourne and the superb run down to Goring through the woods watching the meandering river getting closer and closer and knowing it would be our companion for the rest of the journey. Red kites increased in frequency as we crossed the border into Oxfordshire and ladies smocks abounded in the fields.
The start of the walk made it onto the front of the Alton Herald yesterday – fame at last. I know you won’t be able to read the article from the photo below, but you will be able to see Gilbert White on Mouse and Captain Oates leading Christopher, just in front of the sign (and its bearer) that Richard has so much enjoyed transporting around the countryside. I was able to tell a drinker in the Catherine Wheel about Gilbert White, of whom he had never heard, so publicity has been well served.