Behind him, some of the youths began crying out and beckoning him to join them, as their boat was ready and turning into the waves. If the man was their father, he was braver than the others; he turned away, but kept his eyes firmly fixed on us. He climbed into the boat and cried some orders. Out in the waves the other boats were rowing east along the coastline. And with the leader’s keel now moving away to sea, Arthur signalled for the archers to move on. He turned his horse after them and as he turned I saw the look on his face, set and determined.

We then carried on our forward advance, moving ever on down the coast road and all the time as we went, we could still see the Saxon fishing boats out on the water in the distance. They seemed to be rowing further and further out to sea and beyond our sight.

After a few more hours walking, Arthur brought us into a faster gait, swung back into the north and moved inland only a league, into a sweeping valley where we could still see out to sea. We climbed the valley hillsides, and it was here that he halted our advance; on the hillside of the valley we were to set up camp for the coming night; the camp-prefects were already marking out our unit sites even before I had got off my horse.

Just before it was fully dark, Arthur sent out riders to scout the land. Now with our fires raging on the hillsides, buffeted by the sea-wind, we settled down to rest for the night. So far we had not seen any more keels. Though there were guards posted all along the headland by the sea, nothing was seen. I positioned myself on ground right on the hilltop; on my right, central camp was made and after supper, we waited for Arthur to come back up and give orders for the following day.

I sat close to the fire, laid down and used my saddlebags for a pillow, stretched out and wrapped up warm in my cloak and bearskin. I was happy enough for now. The sky was bright and sweet and star-filled above, and the sound of our army settling in for the night was comforting. I felt comfortable right where I was…

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