Walkers in Burton Park

SWC Walk 217 Midhurst Way: Arundel to Midhurst

04-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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View from Westburton Hill

SWC Walk 217 Midhurst Way: Arundel to Midhurst

04-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Upperton Vineyard with South Downs

SWC Walk 217 Midhurst Way: Arundel to Midhurst

04-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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1000 year old Queen Elizabeth Oak

SWC Walk 217 Midhurst Way: Arundel to Midhurst

04-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Cowdray Castle

SWC Walk 217 Midhurst Way: Arundel to Midhurst

04-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Arundel Church from the A-Road

SWC Walk 217 Midhurst Way: Arundel to Midhurst

04-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Arundel from the A-Road

SWC Walk 217 Midhurst Way: Arundel to Midhurst

04-Jul-15 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Arundel to Midhurst via Midhurst Way walk

Long walk though a remote and less visited part of the South Downs National Park


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Sun, 06-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sat, 11-Aug-18 9

Saturday Walk - Midhurst Way Southerly Section: Midhurst to Arundel [SWC 217 (R)]

Length: 31.1 km (19.3 mi) [shorter walk possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 556/578m; Net Walking Time: 7 ¾ hours
Toughness: 9/10
Take the 09.36 Bognor Regis & Southampton Central train from Victoria (09.43 CJ, 09.53 EC), arrives Pulborough 10.51. From the bottom of Station Road take Bus 1 to Midhurst on 10.58.
Return trains from Arundel: xx.13 and xx.46 to 21.46, then 22.58 (change Three Bridges).
Buy an Arundel return.
The route of this walk leads out of Midhurst in a northerly direction past the ruined Cowdray Castle by the River Rother and via Cowdray Park with its polo fields, then passes Easebourne priory and takes you through a mix of farmland, some wooded hills and the Lod Valley, past Nyetimber and Upperton vineyards to Tillington, a first possible lunch stop. From there you cross the Rother Valley towards the South Downs, and commence through Burton Park with its pretty church and imposing mansion.
Surrounded by wooded downs you continue through the sleepy villages of Barlavington and Sutton and on through Bignor and West Burton before ascending through an atmospheric hanging wood (Egg Bottom Coppice) to cross the South Downs Way near Westburton Hill.
An ascent through Houghton Forest to the highest point of the walk is followed by a series of smaller woods and heathlands all the way to Arundel’s picturesque centre, 1 kilometre from the station.
This walk has been written up in both directions in separate pdf’s. Make sure you download the correct file.

For a shortcut:
Bus 1 Midhurst – Petworth – Worthing (via Pulborough Station) travels along the A 272 between Midhurst and Tillington, enabling a shorter walk. From Midhurst the times are as follows (stops Tillington 8 minutes later and Petworth 15 mins later): hourly on xx.30.
Bus 99 Chichester – Duncton – Petworth (6 buses per day) runs along the A 285, enabling a finish at Coultershaw Bridge (Badger Inn) or in Duncton Heath End, and through Sutton. This is a flexible service, pre-booking is required: call 01903 264 776, 09.00-17.00 Mon-Fri, 09.00-13.00 Sat! In Petworth you must connect to above Bus 1.

Lunch: The Horse Guards Inn in Tillington (9.2 km/5.7 mi, food 12.00-15.00; The Old Railway Station in Coultershaw (12.4 km/7.7 mi) ; The Badgers in Coultershaw Bridge (12.7 km/7.9 mi, 350m off route, food 12.00-14.30).
Tea: The Kings Arms, The Eagle Inn, Butlers, Bay Tree Restaurant, Ice Cream & Candy Parlour, La Campania, Motte & Bailey Café, The Norfolk Arms, The Red Lion, Ristorante Osteria Pappardelle, Pizza Express, The Swan Hotel.
For summary, map, height profile, pdf walk directions, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.217
9 walkers enjoyed near perfect walking weather, namely warm with a breeze and later overcast, despite a 15 minute period of drizzle/rain. The Cowdray Estate had a Polo tournament on, the golf course was busy and at the other end of the estate some hunting dogs were trained in retrieving (dead) birds. Once we had negotiated all this acitvity, we were nearly in Lodsworth, passing the first pub, but striding on to Tillington and the lovely Horse Guards Inn (it was just featured in y'day's 'The i'). About half stopped there for lunch, the rest strode on to The Badgers in Coultershaw Bridge, another very good pub. The Tillington group joined us there for a coffee and we commenced together (bar one gpx led picnicker). A short period of rain followed (quite atmospheric really, with the clouds rolling in over the wooded South Downs ridge) and we soon passed the soon to be reopened White Horse in Sutton. Nearly there!
Arundel was reached around half past 7 and one of us pushed on to get the 19.46 train because of a party awaiting him in London, the rest stayed for a drink or two.
A good mixture of estate parkland, wooded ridges, vineyards, waterways and rolling hills, methinks.
Sat, 04-Jul-15 11

Saturday Third Walk – The Midhurst Way (Southerly Section)

SWC Walk 217 – Arundel to Midhurst
Long and hilly walk through a remote and less visited part of the South Downs National Park, through the Rother Valley and across the Sandstone Upland to Midhurst
Length: 30.5 km (19.0 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 590 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 7 hours (at 5 km/h)
Toughness: 10 out of 10

9.02 Portsmouth Harbour & Bognor Regis train from Victoria (9.08 CJ, 9.18 EC), arriving Arundel at 10.29 Make sure you are in the rear (Bognor Regis) part of the train.

The return from Midhurst is by bus to either:

  • Chichester Station (Bus #60, dep. 18.00, 18.30, 19.05 and 20.15): Return trains from Chichester are 19.07 (VIC dir.), 19.25 (VIC, chg. Barnham), 19.35 (WAT, chg. Havant), 20.07 (VIC, dir.), 20.35 (WAT, chg. Havant); 21.07 (VIC, dir.), 22.11 (VIC, chg. Horsham), 22.40 (VIC, chg. Three Bridges).
  • Haslemere Station (Bus #70, dep. 18.00 and 19.05): Return trains from Haslemere to Waterloo are XX.02, XX.15 and XX.32 until 21.32 (also 19.39), then 22.15 and 23.15.
  • Pulborough Station (Bus #1, dep. 18.45): Return trains from Pulborough to Victoria are XX.35 until 21.35 (dir.), then 22.37 (chg. Horsham).
The most flexible ticket - valid on any of these routes - is a return to Chichester via "any permitted" route. You will have to ask for this explicitly (or take care when using a ticket machine) as the slightly cheaper "Southern only" ticket is only valid on the Chichester-Arundel-Pulborough (or Brighton)-Victoria route.

A dropout is possible after 21.3 km/13.2 mi: Bus #1 Midhurst to Worthing (via Pulborough Station) stops at Tillington (Upperton Road), about 2 minutes from the pub, at 15.41, 16.41, 17.51 and 18.54.

First posting of this long walk, which has only skeletal directions, but should be easy to navigate.

Amongst the Highlights are: the South Downs crest at Yew Tree Gate, open downland with views in every direction, Bignor with its Roman Villa and vineyards, Barlavington's famous old yew tree, views to Burton Park and Petworth, the Rother Valley, woods, farmland, Tillington Church, the Cowdray Estate with its 1000 year old Queen Elizabeth-Oak, Polo Fields and Cowdray Castle.

For more details and for the walk directions click here.

R&R can be found at:
The White Horse in Sutton (13.3 km/8.2 mi);
The Cricketers in Duncton (16.4 km/10.2 mi, a little bit off-route);
The Badgers Inn in Coultershaw Bridge (18.1 km/11.2 mi);
The Horse Guards Inn in Tillington (21.5 km/13.4 mi);
The Lodsworth Larder in Lodsworth (25.4 km/15.7 mi);
The Hollist Arms in Lodsworth (25.4 km/15.7 mi); and at plenty of options in Midhurst.

For a map click here.
For a gpx or a kml file click here.
To leave feedback after the walk click here.
This walk sounds too good to miss. Anyone of the same view?
Will start but I doubt I'll finish...luncheon at the White Horse.
I think we are gradually moving towards of becoming a long distance walking group. That's fine if majority wants to progress that way. Sadly not for me.
not for me either ..agree with you..especially in a heat wave !
how about some swimmy walks please ?
Think of it this way. Unless all the walk posters are afflicted with a desire to post 20 mile walks, the rest of us will still have two sensible Saturday walks to choose from. We can trundle along at a leisurely pace, safe in the knowledge that the speed merchants are clocking up the miles somewhere else. Once a year we can all meet at the Christmas Party and say what lovely walks we've been doing.

PS. It's a well known phenomenon that whenever I post a swimming walk, the sun disappears. Eg. Rottingdean today.
See the second walk, now posted above. Nothing long distance about that.

(Though there is a long distance option for those that want it neat, eh?)
Neat, Eric!
Please do not take this as a criticism. I think walk posters have done a fantastic job to keep this club going. Thank you very much. However, I would like to layout some food for thought. I have been coming to these walks for more than 10 years, when 8 12 miles were core walks. Very rarely I found myself in a situation where most of walks were too long for my liking until more recently. So I went back to the time when only book one and two were used to get some statistics on walk distance. Here are my finding: For book one, 23 walks are <10 miles, 22 walks are 10 12 miles, 6 walks are 12 13 miles, only 1 walk is >13 miles. For book two, 10 walks are less than 10 miles, 11 walks are 10 12 miles, 5 walks are 12 13 miles, and 4 walks are >13 miles. Out of 83 walks, only 2 walks are >14 miles. What's more? 80% walks are at 12 miles or below. They were the core walks we do each week. These days, we see 14 miles and above frequently featured on the website, it does make one wonder what this club is all about!! So yes, I totally agree with the comment earlier about progressively becoming a long distance walking club. In a way, the club works through natural selection. When more long distance walks are posted, more long distance walkers are attracted to the club, shorter distance walkers drop out from the club automatically. This self enforcing mechanism plays out over time, more people will demand more longer walks... you get my point! I would hate to see that at some point in future, I will be forced to drop out this club which I love and enjoyed so much.
I have every sympathy with the sentiments posted by Lucilla, but I have to disagree the number of longer distance walkers in the average SWC group is increasing. Experience does not bear this out. I have many times this year posted walks with both longer and shorter options and my experience is that given that choice, a majority often as many as three quarters of the group do a 8 12 mile length option not a 13 mile plus one. I pick walks with this in mind, though pointing out options for longer distance walkers and shorter options for those that want to take it easy where they available.

I would also make the point, however, that just currently we are having the longest days of the year, when there is a certain tendency to pick longer walks, simply because they can't be done in winter. I agree that this should not preclude the selection of some nicer short walks in summer too and commend this week's second walk as an example...
30 kilometres, 30 degrees...
Small Correction: having said '[no shortcuts, no dropouts]', there is indeed the Bus #1 Midhurst to Worthing (via Pulborough Station), which stops at Tillington (Upperton Road), about 2 minutes from the pub, at 15.41, 16.41, 17.51 and 18.54. That comes after 21.3 km/13.2 mi. If you are clear that you will only walk that distance, an Arundel rtn ticket will naturally do.
See you Saturday
another year, another long walks/short walks storm in a teacup, you gotta love it...

To Lucilla and Anonymous: I don't think there have been many weekends where more than one out of the five walk slots have been given to a 'long' walk. I can't remember one. Besides, most long walks have short options anyway, which in my experience usually find a few takers. So, are you saying that it's worrying that 1 out of 5 slots per w/end is given to a longer walk, when there are clearly a sizeable number of people that are happy to do these walks (see yesterday: 13 walkers in Hitchin, a long walk by your standards, only two of those taking one of the shortcuts each, 5 out of 15 on the Moreton in Marsh walk doing that walk's long version)?
And, perish the thought, potentially "more long distance walkers are attracted to the club"...? Surely the SWC constituency could do with a bit of freshening up, seeing that the avg age is going up all the time ?
The club welcomes walkers of all ages, young or old. I found Thomas' comment disrespectful to vetarans of the club who made the club what it is today.
Dear Thomas, I am so pleased you've added a shorter option. On that note, I feel my mission has been accomplished. Thank you!
Anonymous I completely agree with your comment that the club welcomes walkers of all ages. However, it is beginning to feel like the club doesn't welcome those who don't get out of bed for less than 20kms. You could say that if I want longer walks, then there are plenty of other clubs I can join, but the set up of this club suits me and I enjoy the people I meet. I don't want to be led Rambler style, or join some of the more popular Meet Up walking groups where I fear high fiving your fellow walkers at regular intervals might be the norm.

Over the past few months I've read the negative comments about long walks (usually written anonymously, so impossible to gauge what percentage of the club's regular and veteran walkers feel alienated by them) and each time I begin to question if the grounding in basic mathematics that I received at school was completely wrong. Five minus one does equal four, doesn't it? I once again do the math: five walks over a weekend, one of them long, usually with shortcut options, leaving four regular walks.

Being someone who likes longer walks, I would love if there were 3 long walks that I could choose from each weekend. But I would no more dream of grumbling about the paucity of longer walks than I would object to the walk this weekend that incorporates a swimming opportunity because I can't swim. It is a wonder to me that such a nice club exists at all, provides so much pleasure to so many people, and demands nothing of 98% of the people who use it.

One happy outcome of this recent controversy over longer walks is that now I never fear an awkward lull in conversation with whichever walker I fall in step with. Once the usual topics are exhausted nice views, bit muddy, pub lunch or picnic? throwing in a comment about the long versus short walk debate usually generates enough discussion to make all those extra kilometers fly by...
This is the 1st time that either of the 2 walks by this author have been done, which is nice (the other one is shorter). Please take photos someone.

For anyone who wants a shorter walk, looking at the map, an option ending in Petworth would be possible (very close to, but more buses than Tillington?). Earlier, Duncton + Heath End have book in advance buses (Compass route 99).

For anyone who wants a longer walk, there's also #218, the Midhurst Way extension to Haslemere.
Transport (and refreshment) options for a walk ending in Petworth can be found in Extra Walk 128. The last time I looked, the only regular bus service was the same #1 (Midhurst Worthing) which goes through Tillington.
As a walker of many years with the club, I like Karen's balanced views on the length of walks.

Further,one can see from the walk description that it a walk for long daylight and to finish it at twilight. What better day to do it than Sat 4th July?

I am looking forward to it.
Thank you all for you comments. I don't mean to sound critical but often a short option means that I am outwith the main group and on my own, leaving early or taking a different route, or getting left behind if the group walks at a faster speed to cover more miles. I enjoy walking with the group and the social side of walking as well as the exercise itself but the main point of coming along is to be part of a group. A mix of long and short but totally separate walks would be better, I tend to think.
Pleased that there now are a few more long walks on offer at this time of year. They used to be few and far between. Some day I'll only be up for the short walks*.

*Thanks Andrew for the new category which I hope will tempt those new to walking.
I walk most weeks, and there are nearly always walks in the 10 12 mile category, and shorter in the winter. I'm not sure I can manage 20 miles, but I think the choice should be there for people who can, especially in the summer where there is plenty of time available for walking.

Anyone reading this thread might assume that 'long walkers' are getting a raw deal from the walk posters. Checking back over the last two months (9 weekends + 2 BH Mondays) 22 of the 48 walks posted have been over 20km (including a few with both long and short options). On four weekends more than half the walks have been over 20km and there was even a comment on June 7 complaining that two requested long walks had been posted on the same day.

I also sympathise with the person who pointed out that a walk with optional short cuts is fine if you're doing it yourself, but not if you want to stay with a group. To my mind a 'long or short walk' has to be one where everyone sticks together for at least half the walk, preferably up to the tea stop. The recent Tonbridge Hadlow walk would qualify as everyone does the 17km main walk to Hadlow, with an optional 7km extension back to Tonbridge. It doesn't seem reasonable to include walks with short cuts in the morning or around lunchtime in this category.
22 comments that must be a record
Facts speak for themselves, thanks Sean and Lucilla for providing vital statistics. One can now make a more informed judgement.
Table booked at the White Horse in Sutton for 7 peeps in the restaurant at 1.30. The two tables in the garden go on a first come basis.
What strikes me first of all, is how passionate we all are about the SWC which is fantastic. Then, immediately, how different we all are: from freelance home workers, pensionados, unemployed but looking for work, fun jobbers, those who need but hate their work and those who are really stressed 24/7 at or about their work. We have walkers who come purely for the company, the pub lunches, the tea and cake, and those who find relaxation, need to get rid of superfluous energy, are training for their next physical challenge or can only de stress by going on a long, strenuous, challenging route march whenever possible. There are those who are mentally and physically strong, and those who need a little support. And doesn't the SWC and all its members, cater admirably for all of us? A choice of five a week? As Karen said, never has a club given so much and asking nothing in return. My walking friends abroad are wildly jealous of this weekly opportunity to catch up, relax, eat and drink together; all you have to do to get this is turn up on a train platform in time. Thanks to all the volunteers who make this possible: from Andreew on the web to all the posters of walks THANK YOU. On top we have a cultural organiser, thank you Lucilla, and someone who initiates walking holidays, thanks you Robin. Personally I am very grateful I ever found this club and enjoy it immensely. I have always found interesting company to talk to, the walks varied and challenging enough if I wanted them to be (mood and energy levels differ week by week) and SWC has taken me to places I would not have dreamt of going by myself. Looking forward to Saturday already.
Oh, and did I mention those who create and write new walks, all in their own time, such as David, Paul and Thomas? Many thanks to all of them too; without this whole body of volunteers working in tandem, the SWC would not what it is today: a vibrant happy mutually supportive urban club of country wanderers
Here we go again. I could not buy a "Chichester via all routes" ticket that would get me out of Victoria to Arundel and back from where ever the bus takes me at the end of the day, as they are two different lines, run by two differenct train companies and when you get your ticket you are asked to select one or the other. Two singles makes this an expensive outing. The ticket office said to ask the train company for an Excess ticket to valdate travel. That didn't work so well on Wednesday when the Excess for some was free, and the cost of a single ticket for me.
It's really only relevant, if finishing in Midhurst, as only then you can take a bus to Haslemere, bringing SWT into play. Are you saying you are going to walk 30 km? Didn't have you down as a LDW... A Southern only Chichester rtn should cover you for all your likely scenarios (bus to Pulborough being the most likely).
And for the 30 km finishers: book a Chichester rtn (any route permitted) if you can get one (at a machine or the ticket desk), else buy a Southern only Chichester rtn, and we'll take it from there at the Haslemere station barriers, if we end up there, rather than in Chichester (that's the nicer place anyway)...
In fact, if you are decided to only walk the short version to Tillington, all you need is an Arundel rtn ticket...
I tried to buy the all routes permitted via chichester, and no the nice man at the ticket office tried everything but could not do it. so i bought a Arundel return and am anyway 99% likely to take the bus at Tillington to Pulborough. ticket cost £15 fr boundary zone and w antique person railcard. buses as TG said but trains from P to LV at xx.23 At xx.35 only from 19.35; did not look beyond. went south today and the some animals had made it onto the railway line; lets hope they make it into their fields tonight.
OK so now it's Arundel. I have a ticket via Havant, best get going now me thinks.......
11 sunny and warm with a pleasant breeze in the afternoon
1 walker had missed the connection at EC and was thus 30 mins behind the other 10, one of whom was a newbie (attracted to this walk by the endless comments on the blog).
Skeletal instructions only exist for this walk (1 page for the first 21 km), which was lifted off a third party website, so constant map and compassing was necessary. We only adhered to that though after going off route once, losing 15 mins in the process.
Grim start, as for any Arundel walk (along an A road), just that this walk has a much longer stretch of it. Pleasant once in the woods, though with some overgrown paths at times, very pleasant indeed later on, around Bignor and Sutton (familiar from the Amberley Circ walk), then really beautiful around Burton Park and up to Tillington, almost as good as the finish up the Rother Valley and through Cowdray Park to Midhurst. Route could do with a bit of tweaking (through Arundel maybe, rather than along the A27?, a more adventurous route in the woods just outside Arundel?, different route in Cowdray Park?). Everyone agreed that (after a rewrite) it would make a very good SWC walk for repeat postings, especially with the existence of a short option Arundel to Tillington.

The Sutton pub was reached only just in time for food service despite a decent pace, after we lost those 15 mins in the woods by missing a turning (too much chat and everyone thinking the others were studying the map), so maybe for future postings even a 8.32 start should be considered (the majority of yesterday's walkers would be up for that type of start time).
We had picked up a dog en route that just wasn't returning to wherever it came from, so after lunch one concerned walker returned to Arundel with the dog to hand it over to a kennel.
The remaining 10 then split up 7 vs 3 into long walk finishers (at fast pace) and short walk finishers (at avg pace), only to be re united at the interesting church in Burton Park. So we stayed together from there to Tillington, where we had a break at the splendid pub with its wonderful garden. After some changes of mind, 8 then continued on to Midhurst, while only 2 waited for the next bus to Pulborough.

7 reached Midhurst at 19.30 (1 had paced ahead to catch the 19.05 bus, but missed a turning to then rely on a cab to get to Haslemere) and decided to venture into the pretty town centre rather than straight to the bus stop, had some liquids, and took the 20.15 bus to Chichester. 21.07 train to VIC. Everyone happy.

Train Tickets: after all the discussions about what ticket to buy, a Chichester rtn all routes no restrictions ticket, was readily available at the ticket machines in Victoria for all 'normal' folk. It seems that there was a problem for the Zone 6 extension customers, but it was getting all too complicated for me. Anyway, seemingly a very cheap extension ticket from the counter in Chichester did the trick. Maybe someone else can explain in more detail?

I'll post photos, tweak the gpx file (which was a little imprecise in places), and later in the summer will amend route and write up.
Absolutely wonderful walk, particularly in the afternoon. Luckily it was a little cooler later on as well and we had a particularly nice early evening al the pressure is off between Tillington and Midhurst. I had no intention in doing 19m from the start but it seemed flat, we were assured it wasn't, easy and wonderful that since I did not experience the usual 'are we there yet' feeling, I thought why not? why not challenge myself a little? I think this is a new record for me, 31kn according to my gps. My kids were definitely impressed. It also helped that the speed was good but not excessive because that's when most of us cannot keep up. As is well known: those who go to church together stay together; clearly also true on a walk (bar 2 but the exception proves the rule). And to the lovely Chinese girl who had her first outing with SWC attracted by our debates on the web, please do join us again. it's great to have young, new people.

Yes with a few tweaks, I would definitely recommend this walk, particularly with the Tillington bus to Pulborough; that way it becomes a nice 12/13m walk with an extension to Midhurst if that's the way you want to look at it. Midhurst can only be done the few Saturdays around the longest day, but it is very beautiful.
Lovely walk and I especially enjoyed the last 10kms (Tillington to Midhurst) when we were ambling in the late afternoon sun with a cooling breeze, and without a care in the world.

For those who were there thank you so much for the navigation and wonderful company.
This outing of the walk had it all: missed connections, missing people, animal rescue and plenty of mystery (minimal directions), as well as lots of gorgeous countryside. As the previous poster noted, walking the last 10kms in the cool of the evening was especially delightful.

The first couple of kilometers out of Arundel weren't very pretty, but after that, lots of nice fields of corn, woods, pretty buildings. We encountered very few other people throughout the day, even when passing through villages or hamlets. Quite a bit of road walking.

Towards the end of the walk there was an unfortunate outbreak of high fiving, but this was probably due to the length of the walk and the effect it had on a certain individual. Caught unawares, to my shame, I engaged with the instigator, but will be on alert in future to make sure there isn't a recurrence.

Thanks to Tartanrug for having the foresight to make the lunch reservation as, otherwise, the chef may have retired for the day early and the non picnickers would have had gone hungry. Also thanks to those individuals who came prepared with maps and navigation devices as we would have been lost without you. And as well as navigating the walk, Thomas did a fine job navigating the intricacies of the transport system to work out the various bus and train connections. Cheers.