It’s been a tough time again for walking. An insanely busy autumn combined with bad weather on the days I have been able to go out meant a five week gap between expeditions, far longer than I normally like. However, we did manage to find a window of opportunity for a short family walk and decided to do a mirror image of the walk that we did along the Arun Valley during the summer but in reverse and on the other side of the valley.
We caught the train from Arundel to Amberley and the sunny day that we had started with soon turned overcast and rainy looking as showers came in from the west. As we got off the train it was clear that one of the showers had only just tracked through as the ground was very wet everywhere.
The sky was still grey as we wandered along the main road trying to avoid the traffic. The road past the station is no a pleasant one to walk along but almost unavoidable if using the station as a staging point. We opted not to use the riverbank walk this time, on account of the mud everywhere, but headed along the lane towards North Stoke village instead.
|North Stoke Cottages|
The lane proved to be an easy if not very interesting route. As we wandered along a couple of cars passed us and from the looks on the drivers’ faces we knew they would be back shortly after as they looked lost and didn’t realise they were heading along a dead end road. Sure enough they did come back a few minutes later, when it wasn’t easy to get out of the way! Despite the easy conditions of the road we were relieved to lose the tarmac and head out into the countryside just shy of North Stoke village.
|The George and Dragon|
We left the village via the cricket field and passed by a well-appointed looking cricket pavilion. The girls were most disappointed that the playground equipment was so wet that they couldn't realistically play on it. I was ordered to take a picture of it so they could remember for next time. Our path led down a set of steps called Jacobs Ladder - so many flights of steps are called this. Given the muddiness of this set I couldn't imagine them leading to heaven, like the biblical reference suggests! Actually we were lucky to get to the bottom staying on our feet. At the bottom we made our way along the riverbank for a short way through more mud. Alongside us a wall of reeds waved in the breeze while the views across the valley were superb.
|Arun Valley Train|
At Warningcamp we crossed the railway on the level, which was a new experience for the girls. They were understandably nervous about it and we crossed very quickly. On the other side there was an old lady who initially passed the time of day with us, but soon joined us for a lengthier chat. I contented myself with enjoying the views across to Arundel Castle and listening to the rather surreal shouts coming from Arundel FC that was out of sight. I always think that non-league football games have a strange atmosphere about them when you can't see the action.
I soon became aware of a very large dark cloud up ahead and quickened my pace as we got closer to Arundel. I really wanted to get some good sunlit shots of the castle and I was partly successful. However as I rounded the corner to get the full on view of the castle so beloved of all postcards I lost the sun. Talk about sod's law!