Following in the footsteps of some real bona fide adventure bloggers who champion the ‘micro-adventure’ idea such as Al Humphreys and Tim Moss, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s plenty of scope for something exciting to be done over the course of a few days or a weekend. The much-anticipated Royal Wedding came along last weekend and I can honestly say I was absolutely thrilled. Not about watching the wedding of course, I’d rather eat off my own leg, but rather the fact that it provided a 4 day holiday for most of the nation. The perfect chance for a micro-adventure, but what to do?
At 6am on Friday morning, while Britain was still dreaming of flag-waving a bunting-shaking, we were on a train bound for Rochester. It was a rather uninspired start as Will got a penalty fine for not buying the correct ticket. If there’s one way to get over a problem however, it’s to tramp it into the ground and so we walked the issue into insignificance.
We chose to follow a section of the North Downs Way - 153 miles of National Trail tracing in part the ancient Pilgrims Way between Canterbury and Winchester. In keeping with this theme we began at Rochester Cathedral before heading off into the Kent Downs.
At the 15mile mark Will and I walked through our first real village of the day, Hollingbourne. Fortuitously there was a pub, and despite my budget of £20 for the whole trip (including train ticket) we decided a pint was in order. And a picked egg, of course. As you may have guessed I’m not exactly the most British person you’ll ever meet (especially because I come from Ireland) but there are some traditions that are very appreciable. The early evening pint is a favourite with me.
We started the next day with breakfast on a bench in Charing, which is possibly the most quintessential middle-class English village I’ve ever seen, adorned with bunting, flags and the statutory elderly gent in a tweed jacket with eyebrows growing out of his cheeks. To be fair though, he was very pleasant despite the way we looked (and probably smelled) after a night in the woods, and so our beans went down as well as ever.
Including my train ticket to Rochester, the 2 day, 45 mile walk cost me £19.80 pence. I managed to completely miss the Royal Wedding shenanigans and had a real eye-opener to the beauty of the rolling English countryside. Best of all, it felt amazing to be back out in nature and spending a night in the fields. Some things really can’t be bought with money, and waking up to the sun rising over a hazy Kentish hill is one of them.