Sunday, 1 August 2010

Riddlesdown to Coulsdon South – (Croydon) – 01/08/10 – 8 Miles – IVC

My first walk with IVC for a couple of months and (even more important) my first chance to test out my new GPS (The Garmin E Trex H, for those of you who need a product reference). Therefore I think it is only fitting that I deal with that first. Thus the day started well as I was able to see the average speed of the train I was travelling on, how long it was waiting at the station, and how far it travelled between stops. Then once on the walk itself I was able to compare/check the map grid location with our walk leader’s OS map (everything working as it should there then), as well as compare general GPS owners chit chat with our leader of all leaders, who happens to have the exact same model. There was one annoying member of our group who felt he should be the centre of attention, merely because he had just completed a 100km walk along the South Downs in under 30 hours, however I did my best to drown him out with regular updates to everyone over how far we had just come. In fact everything was going swimmingly up until lunch, and then the batteries ran out …………. Oh dear, it looks like my old rechargeables that have hung about the flat for ever, may not be up to the job, and that I might have to invest in some real ones. So swiftly moving on…….

This walk was loosely based on a couple of stages of the London Loop, despite our leader’s reluctance to admit that (the signs however were a bit of a give away). Thus our first point of interest was RAF Kenley (circa 1940’s) situated on Kenley Common. Well actually I am inaccurately stating that, as these days it is used merely as an aerodrome for gliders (but watch the film The Battle of Britain, for a true reference point). Thus having left there in the course of which we were overtaken by a lady on her mobility scooter (+dog), we eventually made our way into Coulsdon Common, before ultimately arriving at our lunch stop at The Fox pub in Old Coulsdon.

Having arrived at the pub we were surprised to see one of the regular members already there tucking into his main course. It turned out he had missed the train, but by a combination of buses and cycle routes had made his way there via a different route to us. Now this was a really nice pub where the food was reasonably priced (for example £7.95 for a roast dinner), the service was quick and friendly, with the pretty young waitresse’s circling round us diners with an elaborate tray of sauces and mustards . For my purposes I had the open Chicken and Ham pie, with Fries and Peas, as well as the compulsory pint of Fosters. All very nice too, in fact so much so that I decided it was urgent that I had a desert to go with it. Now unlike the usual six quid a throw which seems to be most pub deserts these days, the Profiteroles (with fresh cream and chocolate fudge sauce) were a far more reasonably priced £3.95. Oh my god though you had to see the size of them to believe it, as in effect what I was served was to all extents and purpose two helpings. So as yummy as they both were, they actually beat me, and I was reduced to hiding the last couple of mouthfuls under my spoon.

The second half of the walk took us through the chalk ridges and dry valleys which form the dip slope to the North Downs. Undeterred with the fact that my GPS was now only able to stay on for a couple of seconds at a time, I tried to convince anyone who would listen (and there weren’t many takers at this point) that we had really only travelled 4.82 miles by the time we reached Coulsdon South station. Fortunately (lest anyone might have felt short changed) our leader of all leaders was able to pull out his fully powered one, and confirm that we had actually travelled 8.1 miles. Anyway the battery issue is merely a teething problem, with my new GPS looking as if it does everything I want it to do, and it will prove a good investment.
NOTE: The new photo size is an experiment for this post, based on the fact that most people probably don't click on the pictures themselves for a larger version. Anyway if it doesn't look right on this post I will return to the old format.

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