Dropped off at the picnic site, I started by walking back up the road to the exact spot where I’d stopped the day before and walked along again to the picnic site off-road. It was still a bit hazy over the Medway valley, but it was already warming up nicely. With legs still smarting from yesterday’s walk and a blister on my left heel I made slow progress down the hill to Kit’s Coty and then to cross under the A229. Then I slogged up through Westfield Wood to regain the escarpment and follow field edges and the woods above Boxley.
My pace felt slow compared with the day before, but I knew it would have been worse if I hadn’t been using my Pacerpoles. And when I stopped after an hour to look at my watch, yes the pace was down, but not by as much as it had felt – about 2.7 mph instead of the 3mph I’d been getting the day before.
The relatively uninteresting terrain, the view being principally trees, meant my mind drifted off as I walked, and I’d seen enough of the map to know that the whole day would be like this. I descended into Detling on the 2 hour mark and took a coffee break on a convenient bench. Quite happily sitting there in the sun, I made myself get going and headed along the road to the A249 crossing. By now I really wasn’t happy with what my feet were telling me and just after crossing the A249 I considered my options. I’d done about 6 miles and it was another 6 to Hollingbourne – the first place with a station. But from my research before the walk I knew there was a bus through Detling between Maidstone and the Medway towns. I could walk for another 2-3 hours, but if I stopped now I could be home before the schools were out, and have time to sort things out before the interview I had the next day. This seemed like the thing to do, so I sat in the bus shelter and waited for the bus into Maidstone. Even with a train problem at Maidstone East I just about made it home by school home time and that was the end of this walk.
Now I just need to heel my feet (no pun intended!) so that I can be ready for a continuation next week if the weather holds out. And you know what, if I can fit in a 2 day walk, I might even try my first wildcamp.