This year's Walk the Wight was what my Mum would call, through gritted teeth, "character developing." We had periods of lovely sunshine. Unfortunately, if the intervals were sunny, the play itself was full of rain, all served up with a howling gale. Walking along the top of the downs, you kept finding yourself unexpectedly three feet further to the right than you expected to be, in imminent danger of disappearing across the Solent. I took no pictures, since I didn't think I'd be able to hold onto the camera and keep it from blowing into the New Forest.
And the wind, of course, turned the rain into daggers of ice, strong enough that I seriously wondered if they would draw blood. Everyone ended up sodden on one side, but dry on the other, looking like those parti-coloured aliens from some episode or other of the original series of Star Trek. Pellinor, just to keep my spirits up, spent the wildest part of the walk merrily singing folk songs about people who came to hideous doom in storms.
Pellinor did the full 27-ish miles, starting before 6.30. (The alarm went at 5.15 this morning, so I could drive him to the start.) I walked the full second half - about 14 miles - plus, of course, a few dances at each checkpoint. (Since this is the last 3 of the 5 legs, I probably have to say that I only did Walk the ght. I'd rather do Walk the Wig, though, since I like the image of a hairy wig scurrying eagerly along on the end of a lead.) I did the same amount last year, but ended up so broken that I'm afraid to say that I was crying for the last mile and just slumped down shaking at the end. It wasn't until October that my knees stopped hurting. However, this year I had much better footwear with ankle support, and have been doing rather more walking in the lead-up, so I was okay - hurty by the end, but still able to walk and join in the final dances. I did flag very suddenly on Tennyson Down, when fighting gravity and the howling gale that was straight in my face, but that was probably my own fault, since I'd done the previous ten miles at a rate of knots (an hour and a half to do the 5.5 mile leg, complete with hills.)
About 12,000 people do Walk the Wight (either the main walk, or the shorter flat walk that they added last year.) Last year, I went to a meeting the next morning, and half the people there were hobbling around, groaning. I suspect that Walk the Wight was instituted by some hostile power, which is even now watching as it goes from strength to strength each year, waiting for the time to strike. The morning after 20,000 of the strongest, fittest islanders have been reduced to hobbling wrecks, the invading fleet will land...
No pictures this year, but last year's pictures are here
(imagine it looking much the same, but covered with driving rain, and full of people unexpectedly veering in the direction of the Solent) and the previous year's adventures with waterlogged cloaks are here.