Wow! Talk about sunken by-ways! This is Hick’s Lane on the path out of Castle Cary. I had met up with Jenny Davidson and her collie, once more. We hadn’t seen each other for nearly a week and it’s one of those strange things that leads you to say: ‘In all of the counties, on all of the paths...you have to walk onto mine’. I tried to get the bluebells on the left of the bank but I think the resolution at this level isn’t too good.

Now this is what you call a ‘classy stile’ - probably the most distinctive of the hundreds you crawl over on the route. It leads onto Sandbrook Lane and I’m surprised Mr Titchmarsh did not mention it in the guide. (However, it looked so new that it may have postdated the publication)

At this point, the Catash Inn in North Cadbury, Jenny and I said our farewells for the final time. The next occasion when her presence was felt was in Abbotsbury when, reading the signatures in the Macmillan Way record book, I found that she had had made it half an hour ahead of me . ‘John, (sic), what kept you?’ I confess, I was in the words of our illustrious footballers...’gutted’.

Leaving North Cadbury and thinking about South Cadbury. (Cadbury Castle in the middle-ground) 250 miles and a couple of days jaunt to go! Little did I know that just around the bend was the ascent to Corton Ridge.

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