"Excuse me! Excuse me!"
Fee and I had been walking for about half an hour on day one on the Ridgeway.
A man in his early 40s, with a mop of blond curls and a large camera, was walking really fast in order to catch up with us.
"Excuse me, are y'all up here looking for the crop circles?"
The man had an accent from the southern states of the US.
He was in for a disappointment as in every field the crops had already been harvested and all that was left was stubble. If there were any crop circles they were long gone.
I organised the trip including deciding what time we would leave. For some reason I got mixed up and thought the walk was much longer on the first day than it was. I booked us on a train leaving Paddington at 8.30 which meant I had to get up at 5.30. It was just as well I gave myself plenty of time as the trains from my station were all cancelled so I had to use an alternative route taking an extra 40 minutes. This made me very stressed indeed.
We got the train to Swindon, a particularly grim small town with a very ugly bus station and then a bus to Avebury.
I had never been to Avebury before. It is basically a small village inside a henge which apparently is more impressive than Stonehenge. Never having visited Stonehenge I wouldn't know. Fee and I were there at 11 in the morning as were a huge group of European bikers. They were all sitting outside the closed pub wondering why England had such odd opening hours.
After a minor panic about which way to go we found the right path and slowly climbed up to the Ridgeway. The path is quite chalky so slippery when it is wet. It was overcast to begin with and there was was the odd skiff of rain. Apart from the crop circle man there were very few people around
This part of the walk is all big skies and big fields. There are stunning views in every direction and the sound of birdsong and wind. I saw lots of birds of prey but couldn't identify them. The rabbits that we saw were probably destined to be dinner for passing kestrels and buzzards.
The clouds got thicker and it began to rain very heavily. For about ten minutes it poured. We trudged along. Eventually we reached a car park with a toliet. We sat on a bench and had lunch and then realised we were only two or three miles away from Ogbourne St George where we were staying the night.
It took us about an hour to get to the village which meanders down a hill and has more picturesque cottages than an episode of Midsomer Murders. I was hoping that we would be staying in one of them. We kept walking and walking until we came to the newer end of the village. The "cottage" we were staying in had been built in the 70s. It wasn't really a B&B. The B&B was full and the woman we stayed with occasionally let out a room. It was a bit like staying with an aunt you didn't know very well and who you would probably dislike if you knew her better. It was fine though as it was clean and there was a good shower.
There was absolutely nothing to do so we did what you always do in these circumstances and went for a walk. On the main road we saw three vehicles that had crashed into each other. We walked up a lane to look at some especially cute houses but by this stage it was raining really heavily and I didn't risk getting my camera out.
By the time we got back it was time to go out for dinner. There were only two place to eat and we chose the pub. It was a bad decision we had a really horrible dinner. The only good thing about it was they undercharged us, despite Fee telling them that the bill seemed too low.
After dinner we walked the the 20 meters back to the house and went straight to bed. Fee started snoring immediately -we were sharing a very small room - and I assume I started snoring a few minutes later. We woke up 9 hours later ready for the next day's walk.