Sunday, 5 July 2009

Boxhill / Headley Heath (Circular) – (Surrey) – 07/07/09 – 11 Miles – IVC.

With Andy Murray absent from my planned activity for this Sunday, a day in front of the TV thinking about what might have been, was definitely not an option. So just like last week it was a walk with IVC, and just like last week the tube was being engineered on, forcing me yet again onto the railway. Still £3.50 for an off peak return to the connection at Clapham Junction hardly breaks the bank. Unfortunately collaring me on the platform at Clapham Junction was a certain member who had bored everyone rigid on the walk I led through Richmond Park. Forced however to share the rail carriage with my new ‘friend’ to Boxhill and Westhumble, he eventually (albeit temporarily) got the message when I refused to look up from my paper as he was speaking to me.

So with our party assembled at our destination we were soon on a climb up onto Boxhill Country Park. To our right we were able to take in some stunning views across the Mole Gap. Somewhat stupidly however I had stopped to take a picture of the view, only to find myself stuck at the back of the group with my ‘friend’ downloading yet more interesting stories of his childhood onto me. Looking at the ground and hoping one of us would be struck by lightning, I inadvertently had been forced to slow down to his pace. Suddenly I looked up to find the whole group had left us, upon which point we both came to a fork in the path without knowing which way to go. So at this point my ‘friend’ went into a complete hissy fit saying how it wasn’t fair and he was 14 stone, and why didn’t anyone wait (probably because they had been on the wrong end of one of his one sided conversations). Anyway I decided that the logical direction was down, but he wanted to go up. So initially having it his way, it became obvious that was wrong and that we had to retrace our steps back to the fork. Unfortunately this made his tantrum worse and he said he was heading back to the pub (expecting me to join him ?). Anyway thankfully shot of him, I carried on and soon caught up the group, who had now sent out a one man search party for the two of us. So with him being rounded up in due course by said party, it became obvious that my ‘friend’ was now very cross and was not going to speak to me for the rest of the day (so that meant of course I was now free to enjoy the walk).

Boxhill Country Park is a really excellent place to walk with a whole series of challenging climbs and sharp descents. It is also somewhere however where you really need a map to find your way about. Thus even with three OS maps kicking about the group, there was constant stopping and discussing about which way to go next. Thus following a very steep descent we eventually made our way to The Running Horses pub in Mickleham for lunch. Now our leader had forewarned us in the bulletin that the pub could be very busy and that sandwiches would be a wise precaution. So following her instructions I bought the cheapest sandwich I could get at Clapham Junction, with a view to throwing it away if the pub was able to serve up their meals on time. Once at the pub however it became obvious that service itself wasn’t the problem, but instead it was the gastro pub menu prices. So I settled down outside with my pint of cider and sarnie whilst those around me ordered the meals. Feeling a little left out of proceedings however, I decided to order the desert which was white chocolate and strawberry crème brulet. Very nice too when it eventually arrived, although I had to go and chase it up 25 minutes after ordering (I expect faster service than that for £6.25). Anyway our leader had assured me our group wouldn’t leave without me. In fact to prove that she wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry, she inadvertently managed to be hit on the head by a flying table umbrella/canopy. No one was quite sure how it happened except for the small boy at the table, who had obviously been fiddling with it, who was convinced a freak gust of wind had got hold of it.

Following lunch and with me feeling slightly queasy after the sarnie/cider/crème brulet smoothie, we then had to go back up the formerly steep descent. Thus the second half of the walk found us on the way back to Boxhill and Westhumble station by a different (and explained to me as) a figure of eight route. This taking us via Headley heath which as you can see from the picture is owned by the National Trust. A few steep ascents followed by which time the crème brulet had long melted away from my stomach. The one real exception to the afternoons ascents being a really long descent of steps like the ones me and Helen so enjoyed making at Craflwyn for the National Trust. Far far longer in this case though, with the photo not really doing it justice (as only a small part is visible) and begging the question: how many working holidays did it take to put that together ?

With the walk coming near to its conclusion we stopped for afternoon tea in Boxhill at Ryka’s Bikers Café. In fact it was quite sweet to see this community of bikers all gathering here for their afternoon burgers and teas’, including among them some Police bikers as well. Anyway I put on as macho voice as I could muster when ordering my hot chocolate, whilst one of the lady bikers quizzed one of our lady walkers as to ‘where did you get your boots’. Anyway overall a very good days walking, with the temperature cooler than it was at the start of the week, but still warm enough to break out a sweat in a t-shirt.

No comments:

Post a Comment