There was a fairly impressive turn out for this Bank Holiday Monday walk, with around 17 (or 18) people including Helen. The weather for its part served up some bright sunshine, but there was a fairly chilly and random breeze, which was interspersed with the occasional quick shower.
After some brief road walking from Dorking station we found ourselves walking through some beautiful rolling vineyards, which as you looked at them in the distance, betrayed a purple tint. Having eventually left those we made our way up onto the North Downs, and I was fairly certain I recognised the view below, which I would have seen from Gatton Park in Reigate where my last National Trust holiday was. That said we were walking in the opposite direction. However one of our party produced a pair of binoculars and we were able to spot Leith Hill tower far away in the distance. There was also an abundance of bluebells around, virtually everywhere we went. Eventually we began the descent from the Downs with more impressive scenery including spotting a World War 2 pillar box (currently unmanned), and some white belted cows in a valley below a chuch.
Time was moving on however and we were all getting hungry, so it was with some relief when we arrived at our projected lunch stop, The Wotton Hatch, at about 1325pm. Unfortunately this hadn’t been checked out beforehand and was completely unsuitable for a walking group, as it turned out to be a very upmarket gastropub. Basically they pounced on us as soon as we tried to sit down telling us we needed to have booked a table, and there wouldn’t be any food for at least an hour. The fact that it was now raining and there didn’t appear to be any better options meant we had to try and make the best of it with a pint and some poncey type crisps. Actually this is only the second time in three years walking with IVC where we have failed to buy any lunch. Unfortunately for Helen, a lady who likes her lunch, they happen to be the last two times she has been walking with us. Anyway there was some type of sustenance offered by some ladies fate taking place next door, who sold me three highly impressive cakes for £2.40. Thus with a pint, a bag of crisps, and thanks to those nice ladies, a slice of coffee walnut cake, suddenly I had something resembling a proper meal.
Much of the second half of the walk involved walking along the Greensand Way, and included more bluebells, as well as passing the a field full of the distinctince yellow of oil seed rape. Unfortunately however, as can often happen on a lot of these type of walks, the post lunch second half of the walk was nowhere near as good as the first. A lot of the time we did seem to be walking along lanes and roads, with civilisation a little too close to think of matters as pure country walking (some of these roads were actually the Greensand Way itself). This ended with a long urban trail through the town of Dorking before we reached the station. So for my money I believe this should have been a straight out and back walk, (with obviously a better lunch stop). However for a club that is run by volunteers, everyone does their best, and one has to be grateful that people are willing to put themselves out and take the responsibility to lead walks in the first place.
Walks since last blog entry:
1 x 7.5 mile Grand Union Canal / Osterley Park.
1 x 6 mile Osterley Park loops.