What was supposed to be a gentle stroll for David Philpott soon turned into a reverie about the lives of the ancients in the Medway Valley on a muddy day in January.

 

WALKING WITH GIANTS
“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown” (Genesis 6:4)
It was to be a three mile walk criss-crossing of the Pilgrims Way and the Weald Way but as it turned out, it became a lesson in Neolithic history.  I had parked up the car at Trosley Country Park, betwixt Wrotham and Meopham, intending to take a leisurely stroll – this, the first step in my preparation for an epic charity trek up Mount Elgon in Uganda in June.
When I got to that stage in my walk where Coldrum Long Barrow announced itself – this by way of a silver coloured National Trust sign – I was as underwhelmed as I had been when first I espied Kits Coty, just further east along the Medway Valley a few years ago.  I am a man who spends part of his week in Wiltshire after all, a county which boast not only Stonehenge but also Avebury Circle, together with Silbury Hill and its adjacent long barrow. Coldrum Long Barrow is interesting though for one thing.  The number of people who have tied ribbons of all colours to the nearest tree; latter- day Druids I imagine, coming here for the summer solstice I suppose, in order to connect with their presumed pagan antecedents .
The fact that prehistoric man dwelt on this spot 3,000 years or more before the birth of Christ – carbon dating affirming as much from tests on the remains of 22 people buried in this communal grave – made less of an impact on me than did the fact that the view they took it would not have changed much at all in the five millennia since.  For sure Aylesford Newsprint belches out its smoke or steam today and a smattering of houses and church towers dot the landscape, but such is the geography of this location that time would barely have brushed it, let alone eroded any of its features.  As I walked, I imagined - and in my mind our saw these, our very British, nay English Nephilim, being the first the transform from hunter-gatherers to farmers in the fertile meadows that slope gently towards the river basin itself, the change from carnivores and berry eaters to bread-makers and dairymen taking perhaps a hundred generations at least.
Apparently we had more rain in 2012 than at any other year in recorded history.  It is not surprising then that I had to heave my way forward at times through mud as sticky as treacle on this, my supposedly gentle amble.  It was still worth it though, and I could only imagine how lovely it will be if I return to do the same walk on a long summer evening in early June.
But of course, I can’t do that.  In early June I will be 14,000 feet above sea level staring down into the extinct volcano that is Mount Elgon, with or without Nephilim for companionship.

 

WALKING WITH GIANTS

“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown” (Genesis 6:4)

It was to be a three mile walk criss-crossing the Pilgrims Way and the Weald Way but as it turned out, it became a lesson in Neolithic history.  I had parked up the car at Trosley Country Park, betwixt Wrotham and Meopham, intending to take a leisurely stroll – this, the first step in my preparation for an epic charity trek up Mount Elgon in Uganda in June.

When I got to that stage in my walk where Coldrum Long Barrow announced itself – this by way of a silver coloured National Trust sign – I was as underwhelmed as I had been when first I espied Kits Coty, just further east along the Medway Valley a few years ago.  I am a man who spends part of his week in Wiltshire after all, a county which boast not only Stonehenge but also Avebury Circle, together with Silbury Hill and its adjacent long barrow. Coldrum Long Barrow is interesting though for one thing.  The number of people who have tied ribbons of all colours to the nearest tree; latter- day Druids I imagine, coming here for the summer solstice I suppose, in order to connect with their presumed pagan antecedents .

The fact that prehistoric man dwelt on this spot 3,000 years or more before the birth of Christ – carbon dating affirming as much from tests on the remains of 22 people buried in this communal grave – made less of an impact on me than did the fact that the view they took it would not have changed much at all in the five millennia since.  For sure Aylesford Newsprint belches out its smoke or steam today and a smattering of houses and church towers dot the landscape, but such is the geography of this location that time would barely have brushed it, let alone eroded any of its features. As I walked, I imagined - and in my mind's eye,I saw these, our very British, nay English Nephilim, being the first the transform from hunter-gatherers to farmers in the fertile meadows that slope gently towards the river basin itself, the change from carnivores and berry eaters to bread-makers and dairymen taking perhaps a hundred generations at least.

Apparently we had more rain in 2012 than at any other year in recorded history.  It is not surprising then that I had to heave my way forward at times through mud as sticky as treacle on this, my supposedly gentle amble.  It was still worth it though, and I could only imagine how lovely it will be if I return to do the same walk on a long summer evening in early June.

But of course, I can’t do that.  In early June I will be 14,000 feet above sea level staring down into the extinct volcano that is Mount Elgon, with or without Nephilim for companionship.