Day 1

Ovington Hill is not a hill like Ivinghoe Beacon: the start of the walk is just a track leading gently uphill away from the main road. The monument is the site of a large wooden structure, now known as the Sanctuary. The post holes are marked with modern bricks and stones.

Walking uphill, on a cool April day, I am between arable fields and soon hear a skylark. In fact, my main memory of the first part of the walk is the abundance of skylarks. Back, where I live, in Hemel Hempstead this is a much rarer sound.

I continue, and see a couple coming towards me who look like keen walkers. I ask them if they are walking the Ridgeway but they say no. They are doing a walk from Barbury Castle to Ogbourne St George of about 25 miles! I say that I am also finishing at Ogbourne St George. They then say that they are training because they are walking up Mount Kilimanjaro in September!

Continuing on, I stop at Barbury Castle and settle down in the lee of the hill fort to eat my packed lunch. After lunch a I carry on and the find the toilet block and car park for the Castle. I use the facilities and when I come out there is a short hail shower. I see a sign for a cafe and look forward to a sit down and a hot drink. I follow the signs for the cafe but then see a sign with the cafe crossed out and then pass the remains of a building which has been gutted by fire (I assume this was the cafe).

I am now walking gently downhill and it is warmer in the lee of the hill. I finally arrive where the Ridgeway crosses the main road and know my car is just a few hundred yards away. I am pleased with my progress and even more pleased to take my boots off. Ten miles done and seventy seven to go!

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