2001

Saturday 22 to Sunday 23 December 2001. It was a lovely sunny day with not a cloud in the sky as we all met up at Falmer Station. There was just enough time for the mandatory photos in the car park before we all trudged off towards the Downs. By listening to everyones moans and groans it is evident that the road bit at the beginning is one of the worst bits of the walk. After a bit of swearing and cursing we are up on the Downs and the walk proper begins. Bish is knackered already but the spirit of Alfriston pulls him on! There was a freezing-cold wind from the North and had made the decision to wear the "Parka" which I've worn every year apart from about 2 when it pissed hard. It's not a high performing membrane I'm afraid!

We got to the hard road section and still there wasn't any sign of Smoth. We got to the Abergavenny Arms about 11:30 and it was nice to get out of the wind. We made ourselves comfy and ate and drank too much coutesy of David Moss, a school friend of Ians who was behind the bar.

All too soon it's time to get back outside and make our way to Southease Church for the group photo and Mick to fondle his marble! I then found I'd torn something in my right leg and so limped the rest of the way. Beddingham took its toll and made Mick utter profanitys!

There was a lovely sunset over Newhaven and Ian spotted that at that point our shadows were about half a kilometre long. It was a slog onto the launchpad for the fireworks and so cold we couldn't feel our fingers. After setting up tubes for the rockets and a site for the two howitzers we found that nobody had a light!!! Luckily a lighter was found and Mick proceeded to set his rockets off, oooo aahh. The highlight was Phils box of tricks which wouldn't stop! It fired 64 thunder cracks which seemed to go on for about 5 minutes, so much for not upsetting the residents of Alfriston, we were in hysterics and I have it recorded on my minidisc.

Then it's the mad rush down the rough track to the village, my leg was killing me as I stumbled from hole to gully, I wish they'd tarmac the bloody thing. We piled into the Singing Kettle and had tea and teacakes - magic.

It was a quick walk to the carpark and the tents went up in no time, well, perhaps not Petes! Then it was time to take over the Smugglers Inn and settle in for some fine ales and a sing song, or rather, get pissed and make an infernal racket singing carols! Our three musical companions were there (names please Mick) and so was Cloughie. It was a good evening and they kindly came round with mince pies and sausage rolls, so that we stopped singing I think!

Myself, Smoth and Sensible Steve normally all pile into mine or Steves Peapod, this year Steve had brought his and after Smoth and I had laid out our sleeping bags it was obvious we wouldn't all fit in the tent! Well we gave it a go and after some amazing gymnastics from Steve and Smoth we settled down but it was hopeless. We could only face the same way and I felt a bit claustrophobic so in the small hours I slid outside the tent and actually got some sleep, even though it was -6C. I had to brush the ice off my bag in the morning! Whilst outside I was privvy to some awesome farts as people staggered out of their tents to eject the spent Harveys!!!

It was absolute torture packing the tents up, it was so cold. The kind lady at the Tudor tea rooms had opened-up for us and we piled in and tucked away a good breakfast. Ruth, Ann and Sam were the women who turned up to collect their menfolk. It was a great couple of days and a good way to mark the 25th Alfriston walk.

Those taking part... Ian Maskell, Peter Scovell, Adrian Backshall (Ted), Michael Bish, Phil Bish, Mark Odlum, Peter Cuthbert, Michael Smith (Smoth), Mark Clough (pub only), Steve Willis, Bob Adams, Jamie, Eric, Mark(walk only) there were other people but I can't recall their names, please email them to me.

Alfriston