I had a restless night, waking periodically being to hot or legs aching. The hut was warm and comfy, looking sleepily at my phone 5am stood out, birds were awake and clattering around the roof, I lay listening to their play time as a brief rain shower sprinkled over the hut.
Porridge was consumed as I packed my now dry kit away, the Alpkit t-shirt I had worn yesterday had caused cheese grating effect across it, I opted to wear it back to front and thus the issue was solved.
I left reluctantly my little hide away, wishing to live permanently in this slice of heaven.
There was a short but steep walk up to Buster Hill, here I passed a few dog walkers, who after picking up their dog muck in bags then threw the bag on the floor, I just looked disappointed at them shook my head and ran on, there was little point getting into an argument with them.
I ran down into the Queen Elizabeth Park and into a rather grand and wonderful forest, here numerous woodland trails spread out like roots of a tree, mountain bike paths intersected walking paths and offered some fantastic single track action. I passed walkers happy to chat about what I was up to and gleefully told me I had some serious climbs in store for today.
Boyd by the delightful news, I was soon on my way, the forest here was huge, but my time here short, the cooling confines of the woodland giving way to open warm farmlands, Buriton passed quickly as did South Harting, another walker and another tale told.
Hill forts came and went as the trail took higher ground, with sections of short sharp climbs, the weather had warmed considerably now and I used my jackets to take some of the strain away from the shoulder straps, sheep, cows and ponies occupied land not filled with crops, the wheat creating an almost fluffy carpet of green spreading for miles around. Farm tracks gave way to forest trails and back to farm tracks in quick succession.
Thanks to the national trail website, I knew there was a water stop soon and coming into Manor Farm I was happy to see a tap, a bottle drank and filled, I was lucky to find the farm had a shop, with ice-cream and coke gathered I was joined by a chap walking the route East to West, he told me tails of the Camino trail and his experience, 65 and wild camping still I wished him well and offered advice on the coming trail and next waterstop.
More forest track followed, as I hit Graffham Down and some fantastic examples of ancient burial mounds adjacent to the track, these huge sites home to our ancestors placed to rest in a place we have lost touch with in modern life.
Soon after I split from the SDW and joined the Monarchs Way, my final destination lay only 4 miles away now, my route took me straight into Houghton to the Southdowns Bunk House.
I hit the car park at Whiteways Lodge, the place busy with walkers completing a charity challenge, crossing the main road, I dodged traffic and crossed into a field beset with glorious red poppies, in the sun the shone out proud buoying the spirit.
I ran the short distance into Houghton and into the bunk house, no camping was near for this evening and the miles topped out at 26. I unpacked, washed and lay on the bed waiting for the local pub to open, 6pm came and after consuming a large burger, a pint and a starter I was satisfactorily full and headed back to bed.
Weather checked and promised a re-run of Mondays considerably damp conditions.