For both of us the lane out of Shillingstone seemed familiar and yet out of place. Without the crowds of runners and the adrenalin of a race the hills felt steep and we noticed more. We had detoured from the route of the Wessex Ridgeway slightly to take in 2 of the hills of The Stickler again.
We had been dropped in Tollard Royal just before dawn and walked through Ashmore Woods as the sun had come up.
Reaching 11 miles in about 3 hours we were feeling optimistic. Despite the bad weather forecast the sky was clearing and we had great views over north Dorset. As we reached Alton Pancras (25 miles) we were both beginning to tire and the earlier optimism was beginning to drain.
When we reached Sydling St Nicholas cold and sore we made our first mistake, carrying on.
We bashed on down the road in the dark towards Rampisham masts. By now the rain was coming down hard and we were very cold and tired. With very little shelter on the ridge and as tired as I have ever felt we did the sensible thing and phone for a lift home.
The achievement was to complete 42 miles in one day but the mistake was not to stop while we still had clear skies and energy left to sort ourselves out and warm up. The weather forecast was never good and we learned some valuable lessons. I would like to attempt another walk/run bivvy trip, maybe in the spring.