Nostalgia: Rambling through the rain during a Sussex summer

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When you set out for a hike through the Sussex countryside in June, you can expect pleasant sunshine and a refreshing breeze. Can’t you?

No, of course you can’t! This is the UK at the start of summer. You’ll be lucky if it doesn’t snow!

This group of intrepid ramblers were heading out for the third leg of their eight-day walk along the South Downs Way when this picture was taken in 1980.

There were 65 of them – and a few dogs – and it was tipping it down when they set off, only for them to melt out of their rain coats when the sun turned up in the afternoon.

The vagaries of England in June – baffling meteorologists since Michael Fish was a tot.

The 80-mile walk was organised by West Sussex County Council to celebrate the Ramblers’ Association’s Footpath Heritage Week.

Each day, the walkers were picked up and taken to a set point along the Way, and each evening they were collected at the end of a 10-mile stretch.

Were you one of the South Downs Way walkers?

Did the weather ever improve or are your memories of the challenge full of puddles and rain clouds?

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