The Pilgrims Way 1976

Day 2: Midhurst to East Meon

Our second day started fairly flat (Wealden country, Bill tells us) across Midhurst Common

and along an old railway line. This brought us to the Three Horseshoes at Elsted, another pub we've visited since. I'm fairly sure that at the time it was so small that only a few pilgrims could get into the bar at a time - not good for a rainy day. But this was no rainy day: as you can tell from the pilgrims clustered in the shade, it was a scorcher.

And after physical refreshment, we move on to St Paul's for spiritual refreshment (and the blessed coolness of an ancient stone church).

The day may have started flat, but now we were climbing again, back onto the South Downs, specifically up to Harting Down. Here Paul and Sheila met us with the motorcaravan, and supplied us with fresh water - literally a lifesaver in the conditions. Ever since, drink stops have been a standard (and essential) feature of our pilgrimages.

From Harting we followed the downs through Queen Elizabeth Forest towards Butser Hill. Our way was interrupted by the main A3 in its cutting - you can see that at the time they were making the deeper, wider cutting that the road now follows. We had to follow alongside the road, cross two carriageways and a construction site, then start the ascent of Butser Hill.

But the effort was worthwhile (isn't it always?) and the views from the top of Butser Hill were supreme in the evening sun. Here we are looking back at Queen Elizabeth Forest with Harting Down and Beacon Hill beyond.

But there was still another hour's walking to be done, over Ramsdean Down, before we reached East Meon Village Hall (I might be wrong, but I'm fairly sure that several of us slipped in for a quick pint in the village before concluding the walk. I'm sure it was well deserved!)