Monday, 19 December 2011

Review of 2011

The number of walks I have managed was more than last year and a clocked up a total of 300 miles. Here are a few of the highlights (and lowlights).

Lowlights

These have often gone unrecorded. I managed to lose my way and had to totally replan my walk on only one occasion, I just followed a road withour checking that I should have turned off a couple of miles before: Riseley. On two walks I found I had no water to drink, this can be a bit scary on a hot day in the middle of nowhere. At Chieveley the path was blocked by the M4, I was almost tempted to try to cross it as it required a dramatic change of plan. As it turned out I did not have enough time to do the intended longer walk in any case: Chieveley M4. The paths were sometimes heavily overgrown, but none were totally blocked off. The Lambourn Valley Way proved a disappointment for all but a few miles of its course. I only got rained on once, and that was only for the first hour of the walk at Lambourn.

Highlights

As deer are such secretive creatures it is always good to spot them before they spot you, so the fallow deer near Ewelme Park was a highlight; also discovering Rose Chafer beetles in my garden in May; and finding a young and brightly coloured Peacock butterfly that stayed put: near Hurley. I am getting a bit better at locating orchids, and was very pleased to see dozens and dozens of bee orchids at Bramshill, and where I had expected to find them. The best villages that I explored were Chilton Foliat, Ramsbury and East Garston. There were many interesting churches that were not locked and the best of them were East Hendred, Long Wittenham and Ramsbury.

Looking forward to 2012

There are plenty more walks to do, but I doubt I will have the opportunity to do quite so many in 2012. As a foretoken of Spring, I was delighted to find snowdrops already in bud in my garden:

snowdrops