Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Big One - Day 4 - Keymer to Brighton

Distance: 8.49 Miles

The Black Lion - Brighton, The Station - Brighton, The Engineer - Brighton, The Caroline of Brunswick - Brighton, The Hobgoblin - Brighton, The Caroline of Brunswick - Brighton (again)

Walkers: Timmeh, Matty, Moo. + Jon, Dave from the Black Lion and loads of others from the CazBar.

Terrain: Up the downs, along the downs, down the downs, Brighton roads.

Weather: Very Rainy, a bit rainy, really rainy

Notes: Never ever bloody anything ever!

1 comment:

Timmeh! said...

Chicken arrives in the morning to pick up the camping gear and relieve us of our packs. He also brings coffee and meat-filled breakfast pastries still hot from the bakery. We love Chicken. I've got another toe turning into a blister, so rather than suffer the agony of another explosion it's out with the knife and antiseptic spray again. This is a whole bunch of no fun. Apply another ten quid's worth of blister plasters, strike the tents and we're off.

Leg 4.1
This is a long leg, and arduous. It's drizzling when we start, and doesn't look like it's gonna get better. Matty and I opt for full waterproofs, while Moo goes for just the waterproof jacket, which he will later come to regret. Matty rather foolishly predicts that the weather will be better the other side of the Downs. It starts off pretty flat, some nice fields, slowly rising to the base of the downs proper, then it get murderously steep. I have to stop about 10 times on the climb to get my breath back and have a drink. I run out of water before we reach the top and I'm really missing the other pole :(
Just as we crest the hill it starts to really chuck it down. It's so foggy, or possibly cloudy, that we can't see much further than thirty feet around us. Matty, not having walked this way before, had it in his head that the trip down the downs would be as short as the trip up. Unfortunately, not so. We walked the three or so miles across the downs in absolutely torrential downpour. Matty and I get pretty wet despite the waterproofs, and Moo get drenched through to the skin from the waist down. Texts are sent to have dry clothes brought to us at the next pub. Thankfully the rest of this leg is a fairly gentle downward slope to the A27 and into Patcham. It rains with varying ferocity all the way.
We arrive at the Black Lion, which is as soulless as ever, soaked to the bone. They have ice-cold Old Speckled Hen on a nitro sparkler swan-neck arrangement! Strangely I rather prefer it like this; I find it too treacly at normal ale temperature from a hand-pump. So, we've walked nearly fifty miles, half of which in our bright green charity shirts, all of which in the charity hat, and this is the first place where random strangers have donated cash to the cause. Gawd bless ya Brighton folk.
We share some more platters of chicken wings, onion rings and the like.
Eventually John arrives, followed by Dave, who has brought Moo's change of clothing. A couple of pints later we look out and it's stopped raining, so decide it's time to make for pub two.

Leg 4.2
About 3 seconds after we leave the pub, it starts chucking it down again. And we all start getting a bit wet, or wetter in some of our cases. Along the London Road, moo tries to get motorists to splash him, but no one's brave enough. Cut up into Withdean, blimey there's some money up here! Dyke road can kiss my arse! It's amazing, you walk fifty miles and find parts of your hometown you didn't know existed.
The Johnny-(and Davey)-come-lately's start asking how far it is to the next pub as they're getting a bit damp. I tell them I will only take complaints from those who have walked further than me and have more blisters. The GPS is getting a bit wet now and won't respond to the touchscreen, so I switch it off and manage to find the next pub using only instinct and the power of my nose.
The Station (near Preston Park Station) is a funny little place. The barmaid appears to be Matt Lucas dressed up as Pippa. We are dripping so we stand outside under the marquee erected in the beer garden in readiness for tomorrow's smoking ban. I got my first stamp of the walk in my now soggy ale-trail passport. We decide that we can't be arsed with any of the other pubs we'd planned, and just to head straight for the CazBar.

Leg 4.3
As we're walking along the side of Preston Park, the heavens really open. We thought it had been raining before, but apparently that was only a light shower. So we change our minds about our destination and head for the nearest pub: The Engineer on Argyle street; I've never been in here before. The guv'nor in here had seen our article in the Argus, and gave us a load of beer towels to dry ourselves off with. And they have Summer-Lightning. We will definitely visit this place again.

Leg 4.4
The last little bit to the Caroline is uneventful, we arrive to cheers and applause. Blimey the place is busy for this time of the day. My lady wife is here, as is the Draven (AKA Mr A). We are eventually joined by Yola, Heidi, the other Timmeh, Chicken, Susi & Ben, Pippa, Chris & Armanda, Peter von Sleaze, Krister, Shanu, Cliff and Debs, Johnny Nonsense, Christiane, Octavia and probably loads of people I've forgotten to mention or possibly forgotten were even there due to being rather "tired and emotional" by this point. What a joy fresh blister plasters, dry socks and trainers are. For some reason the Cazbar had no food, I think the chefs weren't on today or something, so we got special dispensation to bring in grub from Grubbs. No one else will go for us, so Moo and I slug it to Grubbs and Back.

Leg 4.5
In our opinion, there were a few too many girlies here for a stag night, so all the blokes did a runner to the Hobgoblin for a while. The (admittedly rather short) walk was uneventful, and the pub was as shit as ever. Although Dollar-Sent were playing in the next room which almost made up for it.

Leg 4.6
Stagger/hobble Back to the Cazbar.
Get very drunk indeed.
Eventually, a taxi home, our first ride in a vehicle for four days. It's all over. It's done.
Never again... till next time.

Oh yeah, we raised about £1000 in total for Macmillan Cancer Support, which can't be bad.