Walking is claimed to be the safest way of exercising, with little collateral damage to the body. Last Saturday Marian had some ladies here at home for a breakfast together and I thought it wisest to go for a long walk. Walking east along the A27 past Lambleys Lane I took a path north that climbs the hill with Sompting Church on the right, then Sompting Abbots School.
The path had been blocked off at its northern end, no one had walked it for ages and stinging nettles had conquered the territory. That discovery came as I clambered through, moving nettles with my feet before every step. My thin cotton walking trousers are permeable to nettle stings.
The path opens up into a large, south facing field, following what used to the dividing hedge between two. On the breast of the hill I saw numerous cattle, walking east. Fine, I thought, I will cross their path behind them. They decided to reverse direction. Fine, until they stopped, straddling my path.
They turned out to be curious, year-old heifers and bull calves. So curious they pressed towards me until I took refuge behind a broken signpost surrounded by old wire fence. Still they pressed. Eventually I noticed a more diffident heifer and shouted until she started to move away, the rest following like a flock of – well – young heifers and bulls.
The path goes due east, then turns north again over the brow of the hill. The farm has seen much investment in the past couple of years, especially on the fencing.
In the field behind the fence was some flowering clover and buttercups, pretty enough to photograph. My camera does not have a great telephoto lends, so I crouched and leaned towards the fence, framing the picture carefully. Wham! The top wire of the fence was electrified. My forehead touched it, I sprang back after a loud sound in my head and a degree of pain. The only damage was to my camera that stored the photos in internal memory, neglecting the memory card in it.
The rest of the walk was great and hazard free, along the valley where Marian and I have seen many deer, up to Cissbury Ring and back down alongside Worthing Golf Course.