venerdì 22 agosto 2014

Back to the White Cliffs of Dover! Afternoon MBK Adventure

It's half of July, the days are still long: I leave the school at about 16.30 for an ambitious afternoon ride. Always the same road until Sandwich, then I begin to discover new areas: low hills, vast pastures, yellow wheat fields characterize the landscape around the little villages of Nothbourne, East Studdal, Sutton.

Is here that after several KM of asphalt road, I find a nice surprise, the South Downs Way: a 100 miles trial from Winchester to Canterbury, wich follow the chalk cliff and ridges of Sussex and Kent from West to East. All the SDW can be completed walking, in almost 9 days; some sections are usable by mountain bikers and horse riders as well. More info here.

As soon as I enter the way in Dover direction, off road climbs and downhills starts to satisfy me and my MBK. I beg your pardon, Elizabeth, if I often put my wheels on footpaths... but I've met two jeeps along a bridleway: so there are some english people more uncivilized than the italian DIY tourist.

But this is just the beginning. I don't want to get down to the busy Dover, so I leave the South Downs Way near Langdon, probably a village of Da Vinci Code's fans. Now only intuition can direct me, 'cause my map is almost useless when you have to search for footpaths. I know that the sea is south and Dover west, but I have to be careful not to finish on the highway for the Harbour just like the last time.

Finally, after a very uncomfortable step near the hearth of a colture, I arrive just besides the dangerous highway: but luckily my footpath stands on the left, boarding a new enormous field, sometimes covered with vegetation. But a new problem rises: there's another busy road, coming from Deal, that meets the Harbour Highway exactly where I am. It's a trap: all the "direction miracles" to arrive here risk to have been useless.

But looking around I find a last chance: a virtually closed military area, with high antennas in the middle. A corean jogger comes out from a corner, another fluke! Now I know where to trespass the barbed wire to get into the military zone, and try to go through it in order to reach the seaside from above the White Cliffs. A silent, suspicious atmosphere sorrounds me, and I admit to have been scared of beigh shooted by some ultra-loyal english guardian.

But the only person I met was a men trying his model airplan whit remote control. The sea is now on sight, Dover Castle, on the top of the hill, is watching me trespassing a pair of gates: I am out! It's quite easy now to reach the beginning of the White Cliffs. I already know this place, the problem is that there are a lot of wooden gates, and I don't want to pick up my heavy MBK every time!

The late afternoon light shines on the grass and the mature wheat, the South Foreland Lighthouse grows out of the land with its white shape, getting closer and closer. Almost no one is around in this magic hour when in England people use to eat. It's a shame, but not for me!

After the Lighthouse, I know the way very well. Enjoy all the downhill on St Margaret, and again from the Obelisk to Deal, with its long Pier disapperaring into the sea, lighted by the last sun's ray. When I come back to Ramsgate it's deep night - no train, train's for loser!

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