Day5 Thurnham to Boughton Lees (Ashford) – Missing Ned

<musings over an English breakfast> Sitting for a late breakfast after drying all our gear. Mark is having a having a proper Full English (Sausage, Bacon, Fried Bread, Field Mushrooms, Tomaahto, Black Pudding, Egg); I’m having “Eggs Royal” which includes smoked salmon, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce over English muffins. Yum! <end musings>

Our hiking started with another series of ups and downs and ups on the Downs. There always seems to be one more up than down…did you notice that? We sure did. There was a major tragedy in the area today. Apparently Ned was lost. All the sheep were looking for him – they were VERY concerned – (inside joke…see the video).

Fields of Poppies in North Downs

The day was already going to be a strange one but in true pilgrim spirit we were really winging it today. We didn’t have a specific stopping point. We had a lot of trouble last evening finding lodging anywhere along the route – not over-booked, just nothing around. Our original plan was for three shorter (11mi each) days. But we all felt like we should do more and compress the time to Canterbury to two 16.5mi days. This would allow us a rest day in Canterbury.

Madeline flirting with this contemplative monk.

The most promising spot along the way was a pub, “The Flying Horse” in Boughton-Lees. We made it to the pub and found out that they didn’t respond because they were having internet issues. But to be safe, we’d alread booked a room in nearby Ashford and decided to taxi’d into town. Have no fear, we’ll taxi back to the Flying Horse in the morning. I’ve long since left my disappointment in a necessary “cheat” like this. It is purely the nature of things when you’re flying (or in our case walking) by the seat of your pants.

We are following in the tradition of millions who have gone before us.

Madeline unfortunately has continued to have foot issues – blisters – and she hasn’t been as comfortable as she’d like. We both know how painful it can be and we’ll both undoubtedly will have issues at some point as well.

Madeline tending to her feet. 😦

Still we are all in good spirits as we’ve plodded along the Pilgrims way. It seem odd to me somehow to be arriving already into Canterbury tomorrow. It’s a major milestone. A silly wave of “it’s going too fast” swept me this afternoon. “Silly” because we’ve just finished day 5 of 100. But such is the treasure I assign to each day on Pilgrimage. They are all so precious.

Three special acts of kindness tended to us today. First our host for breakfast couldn’t make us a take-away lunch but did give us three free-of-charge bags of crisps (chips). It was a small thing, but it was what he could offer and I could tell he wanted to do more.

Second, about midday we passed a patch of grass at a trail junction. There we found three bags of chips and a chocolate bar. These were trail angel gifts left for pilgrims. We took one of the bags of chips. I hope we can miraculously touch base with this angel someday to say Thank you.

Lastly we walked past a man called Jeff who was sitting beside the Pilgrim’s Way having a lunch. A few minutes later he overtook us and we started talking. Jeff is from New Jersey and had a nice story (see video). Jeff led us through to Broughton Lees, taking us across newly mown hay fields to the Flying Horse. He had heard about an old well inside the pub and asked the proprietor to show it to us. Jeff then spent some time with us at the pub before beginning his walk back.

Before he returned he heard us struggling to find a cab into Ashford. He gave us his phone number and invited us to call him if we got stuck. He’d come and fetch us with his own car and get us where we needed to go. So nice.

After a quick grocery store stop for food and medical supplies (blister treatment) we arrived at our lodging for the night. I’m processing the days videos – boy they are a lot of work! Haha. It has been a wonderful journey so far. My legs are heavy but Madeline informed us that were averaging 4.6k/hr which is right about where we thought we’d be at this stage. We’ve done multiple 18+ mile days in a row and are now confident in our strides.

I’m true authentic pilgrim tradition dating from the 1100’s, Allison chose pre-prepared Sushi for dinner tonight. Remember- this blog is a judgement free zone. 🙂

We hope your enjoying the blog. Thanks for all your questions and feedback. I love being in touch with the “other world” through this blog.

Published by

Mark Dowty

"An Intentional Life"

6 thoughts on “Day5 Thurnham to Boughton Lees (Ashford) – Missing Ned”

    1. Yes, they are Hoka Stinson ATR6. They are working great, really comfortable, particularly on hard surfaces. We think they will not be the better pair on slick surfaces but we will wait and see – we haven’t experienced any problems yet. I bought a full size too large (a lesson from past treks). Not sure if they will last – we both brought two pairs of trail runners and Are anticipating having to buy a third. From what we’ve heard each pair is good for about 500mi.
      Mark has a pair of Hoka’s as well (Speedgoat). He also finds them the more comfortable.


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