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Where I stayed
Somewhere in Savernake Forest
Tuesday morning : 4:15am ! I was excited enough to wake up 2 minutes before my alarm :) shuffled to the coffee stuff, scratched my nuts sleepily and looked out the window ... Rain! buggerit. Sipping coffee a check online revealed the weather wasn't as pear shaped further west, which cheered me up a tad. One final check of my stuff, trying unsucessfully not to wake ben haha, I flung it in the car and hit the road. Driving anywhere, especially motorways at 5am is bliss, there are far far less barely qualified homicidally inept retards in cars than in the day. The trip was about as exciting as it can ever be trundling down motorways, at least the weather cheered up a bit about halfway down the M4.
Marlborough, ancient market town and situated right on the north tip of Savernake forest, perfect spot to grab a few last things I needed and head out into the foresty bits... that is if I had arrived at 9am when the shops open, sadly I arrived about 7:30 because I forgot in my haste to get away early and enjoy lovely clear roads I would get there stupidly early :) Rolled out plan B, and headed south down the A436 just inside the western edge of savernake and had a looky, pulled into the forest edge about a mile later and had a short wander about collecting some useful tinder stuff on the way, mainly silver birch bark and some really dry old bracken stalks which when rolled between your palms become a lovely fine fibrous tinder. A quick trip back to Marlborough to snag a 1:25,000 of The Vale of the White Horse, some more baccy and some food. In waitrose I discovered a nice range of pouch sealed stews and stuff which turned out to be really tasty and low weight, a little expensive at £2 - £4 per 300g packet, but all natural and no need for keeping them cold.
Right, my trusty old fiesta had got me here, now I needed to plop it somewhere safe and bugger off into the forest. Postern hill campsite is a little way down the A436, I parked up just outside, and grabbed my rucksack outta the boot. A little wiggling and faffing about and it was comfortable, but a tad heavy [or i'm more out of shape than I think :) ] Finally... the whole reason I was out here was to get away from life and stress and get some space to reflect, relax and have fun, without further ado I headed off down the nearest track and into the green canopy of savernake forest. The main trails are bigass solid bedded forest tracks suitable for like trucks n stuff, luckily it wasn't long till I spotted a side track and slipped off into a much smaller path. Savernake has some absolutely stunning ancient trees, especially oaks and beech, I intend to concentrate more in the forest next trip there and hopefully get a load of piccies of them, and capability browns 4 mile long avenue of trees. Eventually after a bit of fascinated wandering I spotted a lovely spot to plop the tent, which was a relief because its not as light as i'd like and was adding a fair bit to the weight making itself felt from my rucksack, it's been 20 years or so since I hiked like this.
Happy the tent wasn't visible from anywhere but damn close and topped up with hot coffee I bimbled off into the forest again. Savernake has a rich variety of wildlife, a lot of it relatively fearless of people, made spotting and watching a lot of common and not so common creatures. During my afternoons meander there were buckets of wood pigeon, grey squirrel and various species of crow also nice to see was a magnificent cock Jay who obligingly sat nice n still not 15 metres from where I was, letting me get a good look, I really need to rescue my binos from the ex's place before next trip :). Heard a couple of cuckoos and some rustling in nearby leaf litter was likely a mouse or vole.
My tummy reminded me in no uncertain terms I had kinda skipped lunch and a tin of relentless and a couple of mars bars is a crap brekkie, Always sensible enuff to listen to my bodys needs I turned it round and was pretty chuffed when I found the tent again without any long winded navigational hiccups. Dinner consisted of a small tin of spuds cut into smaller bits and flung into one of the packet beef stews on the gas stove [more of this damn stove on tuesday]. Dinner with a cuppa and leaning back against a tree relaxing on the grass watching the trees was most welcome, the beef stew was extremely tasty i'd recommend the "Look What we Found" range to anyone, nice food and really handy for camping. After all this somehow the time had reached almost 9pm and I spent the time till almost dark leaning against my tree, reading a bit, making the odd coffee and rolling the occasional ciggy and to be honest thoroughly enjoying myself, the peace and quiet broken only by birds headed off to bed, the odd owl and a fox bark or two helped a lot of the stress of recent weeks to just slip off my shoulders :) Eventually slithered into my doss bag in the tent and zonked out about 11 or so.
Phew! my poor fingers are all flat tipped from typin that lot. Wednesday and maybe thurday too will get typed up tomorro, coz i'm pooped and sadly the choice of typing another even longer entry, or going round a mates and abusing his beer stocks is a no win for the blog ;)
To be continued.......