Sunday, 14 February 2010

Otford (Circular) – (Kent) – 14/02/10 – 8 Miles – IVC

Mud, mud, glorious mud, nothing quite like it for ……….. (well whatever). So if ever a walk had a theme to it, then that was the story of this one. The Gators that Helen had bought me last week really came into their own today, although the new boots (which were totally caked in the stuff) proved far from grippy, especially when it came to getting over muddy stiles.

Anyway seven of us assembled at the allotted time at Otford station, only to be told by our walk leader that there was another female member still travelling on the train. However after some half an hour of standing about in the drizzle, most of us were getting a teeny bit cheesed off waiting for this person to show up. Therefore our walk leader decided to stay and wait for her to arrive, while the leader of all leaders would instead lead us up to the lunch stop where we would all rendevous.

So straight out of the station then and we were met with an enormous partly stepped climb that had us all slipping left right and centre as we climbed up onto the Downs. However after descending into a valley (pictured) we began to realise what slippy was, as first our leader of all leaders fell face down on the ascent, and as I tried to go to his assistance, I fell and slid face down as well, as if I was caught up in a landslip (amazingly I managed to avoid getting caked in mud).

Needless to say by the time we reached our lunch stop at the Fox and Hounds, my new boots were two muddy stumps. Thoughtfully the pub provides a boot rack outside, but no means for getting from the rack to inside the front door (where I eventually left mine) without getting your feet wet. Anyway with my gators ripped off, at least my trousers were the height of respectability. We had speculated earlier as being Valentines day, maybe we wouldn’t be able to get a table at the pub, but there was certainly enough room at the inn; not just for us either as two other walking groups soon piled in. For my part I had the Sunday roast which was: half a roast chicken, bacon strip, roast potatoes, and green peas (all of which I ate), and yorkshire pudding and cauliflower (which I didn’t). So with lunch consumed, our original leader + straggler then showed up, and we all waited while they ordered and ate.

Once off and out the door again in the mizzle, we couldn’t seem to detach ourselves from Bromley Ramblers, all the way down to the golf course. Only the severest and yet again muddiest of climbs seemed to put pay to them. What goes up however will of course come down, only in this case I decided to tackle the slippy descent with the aid of a large stick, which seemed to work quite well for me (so if anyone is lost for present ideas …… !).

So having passed Shoreham station crossing a road, our leader suggested that this was a potential drop out point for anyone (duh), but everyone was happy to slip and slide on regardless. What we did have to look out for however was flying golf balls, as one way or another we always seemed to be crossing, or walking alongside one course or another. Eventually however we found ourselves navigating along the Darent Valley, (and as we came upon some houses) the Darent River. From there a brief road walk took us back to Otford station, and of course home, tea, and lashings of ginger beer.

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