Golden Cap

The teenagers run up the slope, overtaking the Four-Legged-Woman and the Man-with-a-Hump.

They are both excited. The holiday caravan is just down the path at Seatown. The caravan has belonged to the family for years so they can holiday any weekend the weather looks good. Fred would come every weekend if he could, sun, rain or wind. Maybe hailstones would stop him.

Fred looks at his cousin and nods to the right. A sweaty man has arrived at the top of Golden Cap hill with an overflowing back pack and two walking poles. They could christen him the Four-Legged-Man-with-a-Hump but instead choose to name him the Serious-Man. He smiles and waves at them.

He’s earned his name. The South West Coast path is England’s longest path. Fred and his cousin are only walking a tiny part of it, but the Serious Man looks, and smells, like he’s started in Somerset and doesn’t have far to go to complete the full 630 miles.

Golden Cap is the highest point on the whole of the South Coast. In the distance Fred can see the Isle of Portland sticking out into the sea. Poole harbour is just beyond.

He turns the other way and looks back along the ups and downs of their trek. John is still plodding slowly up. He’s going to take ages to reach the top. Fred doesn’t want to wait.

He’s full of energy and wants to run down the meadow. Buttercups have turned the whole slope into a golden carpet that looks almost a solid yellow. Fred knows that once he gets into the meadow the colour will break apart into yellow spots dotted around the lush green grasses.  He can also see purple dots caused by the flowers of green-winged orchids.

Fred looks at Perry for permission. Can we? Should we? Perry, the older cousin gets to decide – wait or run on?

Fred sees Perry look at John and then in one sudden movement he’s off. Leaping down the hill and charging through the grass stems. Fred shouts and follows.

They run full speed down the slope. Past a family group they name the Gaggle, around a Slow-and-Steady couple, almost knock over the Man-with-tubes-on-his eyes and have to wait impatiently at the style for the Lady-with-inappropriate-shoes to get out of their way.

Neither of them looks back. John knows the way. He’ll get home eventually.

Fred wins. He does one victory lap of the caravan and flops on the neatly trimmed lawn. Both their chests are heaving from the effort. Fred closes his eyes and is almost asleep by the time John arrives.

John fumbles his keys out of his jeans and opens the caravan. Fred and Perry lie where they are.

“Here you go. I bet you are thirsty.”

John places two bowls on the grass. He hopes none of the staff saw them running through the caravan park by themselves. Next time he’ll put the leads on before they go up Golden Cap.

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