Having been toasted by the Sun all week on the Isle of Wight, today was a little more in line with what you might expect in May, namely moderate temperatures and slightly overcast. So with ten of the usual suspects making up our party, I wasted no time in making sure that everyone knew I had been away. Obviously I wasn’t the only one in IVC who has had the HF holiday experience, as more than one person wanted to know was I the youngest one there, and one particular female member (who admittedly has never been on one herself) said that HF is known to stand for Husband Finder. Anyway, whatever the faults of the HF experience the walks were first class, which became very apparent when compared to this below average excursion.
So suffice to say most of the first half was spent walking between enclosed nettly hedgerows, and along various side roads. There was a brief view of the Hogs Back before more roads and hedgerows, until we made it to our lunch stop at Compton: a 16th century alehouse known as the Withies Inn. I partook of the Cumberland sausage and mash, and a pint of cloudy cider. Suffice to say both were simple and rustic (as Gordon Ramsey would say) and were ideal for a walkers pub lunch. This was all enjoyed in the garden, where there were some impressive wooden tables. Not quite up to the Alice in Wonderland standard me and Helen encountered in that pub in Dorset last year, but interesting and original all the same.
Our second half began in fairly much the same way as the first, which included some walking through Loseley Park. However things improved considerably when we picked up the River Wey Navigation for the last three and a half miles of the walk. Here we encountered a smorgasboard of users including: joggers, cyclists, dog walkers, a group of woman doing some sort of charity walk for MacMillan, as well as river users paddling in assorted dinghys, and barges navigating the locks. We also came across the obligatory World War 2 pill box guarding the river from the Germans.
To round off this pleasant section we then had afternoon tea in Hectors Boathouse (café) by the river. I enjoyed some coffee and chocolate cake, and also found myself perplexed by the unisex cubicle toilets. However the staff were a tad on the strange side. Firstly we had some guy eating his pudding on a table directly in front of the counter so that one had to pay for ones order directly across and over him. Then the female of the establishment (I assume the proprietor) came round serving us a load of empty cups/mugs, who was then followed by her husband (assuming again here) who tried to serve both pieces of chocolate cake to one of our party after I had told him one slice was for me, and then got very sarcastic with another member of our party when she enquired about the whereabouts of her carrot cake. I have tended to notice with quite a few establishments on these walks, that they often see walking groups as a passing nuisance rather than customers, and are really only interested in serving their locals. Anyway that’s their problem and future bankruptcy.
So with that all done we had about a mile walk back to Godalming station and the train home. So overall two thirds of this walk was basically dullsville, however that was offset by the nice pub lunch, and the last third on the towpath of the River wey Navigation.