Michael Lowrey, the proprietor of the Fox and Hounds, pointed out the stylized Uffington Horse. (Small white spot on hill). It is hard to discern and best when viewed from the air.
He has not hiked the Ridgeway and is new to the area, so his directions down from the scarp were misleading. When he drove us back three miles to where we got off the Ridgeway, he was surprised to see how far and steep the road was. He also transferred our bags ahead twelve miles to The Swan in East Ilsley. Slack packing (only carrying a light day pack) will be easier on my injured foot, which is swollen and mottled.
Climbing back up onto the ridge took us past scrubs and flowering plants. Birds chirped, insects buzzed, and butterflies added fluttering daubs of color. It was predicted to be the warmest day of the year, and I was all smiles–I hate the cold.
Once up on the scarp, the sizzling sun beats down and I am glad to have the GoLite Chrome-Dome trekking umbrella. It provides shade and reflects the heat.
We spent most of the day on the ridgeline. As we progressed east, the Didcot power station (lower right photo) seemed to grow until we paralleled it. We met two Ridgeway hikers, Ken and John. They told us that the Didcot was decommissioned and would soon be leveled.
There have not been a lot of thru-hikers on the Ridgeway, though we have meet many day hikers, joggers, and mountain bikers. This lack of traffic surprises me because the Ridgeway is one of just 13 National Trails in England. Even though it is only about 40 miles from London, it is very remote and access to accommodations requires descending the Ridgeway and hiking to nearby towns. Perhaps this is why the trail is so little used.
Dennis and I were getting tired and thirsty. We found no place to refill our water bottles up on the Ridgeway. We crossed under the A34 (highway). The tunnel walls had an artistic graffito depicting the local towns. (See left below). Just after the tunnel, we walked about a half mile through a field to our B&B and an ice-cold beer. Life is good!