North Downs Way (NDW), long distance footpath. I said at the time that it would be a "work in progress," unlike my previous long-distance walks (South Downs Way and Weald Way). Those were all completed within a set timetable, and over the course of a couple of summers.
Fifteen months on from my intention, it dawned on me that, apart from a few occasional thoughts about the walk, I’d done nothing towards building on what I’d achieved the summer before last. This was walking a couple of sections of the NDW’s northern “Canterbury loop,” starting with Wye to Chartham, in the hills above the Stour Valley and followed a couple of weeks later by the more open stretch between Shepherdswell and Dover.
This will mean completing the southerly section from Wye to Dover, before moving on to the missing gaps in the loop. This entails Shepherdswell to Canterbury, and then if time, and my legs allow, the final four miles to Chartham.
I’ll also be walking alone as I’m craving a bit of solitude. Although it’s nice to have company, walking on my own means I can go at my own pace without trying to keep up with someone. I’m not the fastest walker in the world, as some of my CAMRA friends will tell you, and I dislike feeling that I’m holding them back when we walk as a group.
I’ll then take the train from Dover to Shepherdswell, for my second overnight stop, before continuing towards Canterbury on the last day of the walk. If, as I said before, I feel up to it, I'll continue on to Chartham Hatch, where my friends and I finished up almost exactly two years ago.
So that’s the plan, and now with rucksack packed as light as possible, and boots ready by the front door, it’s off to bed for an early night, and an equally early start in the morning.