Friday, 27 August 2010
I noticed at one that the kayak settled a little lower in the water than last year. 'Fat man kayaking' I muttered under my breath as I launched myself into the river Adur at the Emerald Quay public hard. Setting a brisk pace upstream I was soon under the first bridge which was Shoreham footbridge. The second bridge was the Norfolk bridge and the third was the one pictured above. Not the prettiest of bridges, this iron railway bridge rumbles nicely as a train goes over it. The old toll bridge quickly followed and finally I was under the great concrete and steel behemoth that is the Shoreham flyover.
The wind blowing down the Adur valley had impeded my progress upstream but assisted me on the return journey. On Coronation Green the people of Shoreham were enjoying the continental market.
Just before I reached the end of my paddle I passed the Shoreham life boat and the Fisheries vessel. Today these boats were open to the public who were eagerly clambering over them.
A long time has past since I did this walk back in early May. The weather had been wonderfully sunny for some time but I picked a damp and overcast Sunday morning for a walk up onto Chanctonbury. After one of the coldest winters for some time, the spring had been late to arrive but suddenly the trees had exploded into life with that amazing green that for me defines the English landscape of April and May.
I was looking for solitude this Sunday morning and this picture of Chanctonbury ring hides the truth. On the way up the steep scarp of the downs I had past a large party of girls, red faced under the burden of heavy rucksacks, and at the top, I found that a South Downs marathon was being run complete with all the back up teams, race officials and drink dispensers.The ancient ramparts of Chanctonbury ring are cropped closely by sheep, leaving beautifully springy downland turf. The clump of trees within the rampart were ravaged by the Great Storm of 1987, but are gradualy being replaced by fresh growth.
At the foot of the scarp slope the beech trees thrive on the chalky soil. The drifts of brown bud cases amongst the roots of the great trees made the spring scene look like autumn.
This picture does not to justice to the Great Barn Farm; a collection of magnificent buildings at the base of Chanctonbury. I particularly like this grain store.