March 12 - Hike #4
Amberley - Rackham Hill - The Burgh - Wepham Woods - Burpham - North Stoke - Amberley
11.6 miles

Six boys and 2 leaders started off in pouring rain, wind and very low cloud from Amberley at 10am with full waterproof gear needed. From the old stable block in High Titten we saw a Peregrine fly past, a great start.

On top of Rackham Hill the weather was very poor and we took shelter in amongst the trees for a while. The boys felt tired but they hadn't warmed up yet so they had a small snack to get their morale up. By the time they got to the Burgh they were feeling much better and they had already done several compass bearings to make sure of our route. We didn't see any Hares (one of our target species), possibly due to the bad weather which by now was actually starting to improve.

We did get to see a buzzard and a red kite though and we could even start to see the views, which they all really liked. By the time we got to Wepham Woods and lots of lovely mud the weather was much better but still cloudy, we didn't see any blue sky all day.

By Burpham church everyone was feeling a little bit tired but we had an hour's lunch, brewed up a cuppa and they all started to feel much better, all warmed up, fed and happy. Back up onto the downs and carefully down the "steps of insanity" onto the floodplain and some were beginning to tire again. We were behind time and I contacted the parents to say we would be later than planned. They had already been warned before the hike that this might be the case. Due to the time we decided to miss out the church at North Stoke and head straight back to the station. We arrived there at 6:19 as the sun was going down and missed the train by about a minute. We watched it pull away! The next one was 40 minutes later but we used the time to organise ourselves, pack properly and generally clean up.