Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Best Walk Awards - 2011

For the third year running I hand out awards (of the purely ceremonial kind) to my favourite walks of the year (now in four categories).


This one was a beautiful Summer's walk, on the second sunday in April (?) Billericay-to-Brentwood-essex


Given that most waking on my own was over my usual haunts of Osterly Park/Grand Union Canal, Thames Towpath, and Richmond Park, there wasn't a lot of stand out candidates. However this walk from January was a very good day, as I recceed out this one from Country Walking magazine, to later lead IVC on. Dudswell-circular-Hertfordshire


As usual too many to pick from. However this one was a very good one, if for no other reason than the extraordinary carpeting of pink heather that we encountered. Win Hill (Circular)


A new category, but as it has featured strongly in previous awards, it is only right that it now comes into its own. With three holidays this year to: Isle of Wight, West Sussex, and finally Bath, there was a lot to choose from. However this for me was the stand out candidate. Freshwater Bay-circular-via-Yarmouth-and the Needles

As mentioned the three holiday's were the Highlights, and I am pleased I am still hanging in there with IVC (although probably not for much longer). The Lowlights however were a sense that walking has had to take a back seat for the latter part of the year, due to the whole flat purchasing/moving thing, and also that Luther is no longer fit enough to come out on long walks with me and Helen.

So to all my readers/followers and walking partners, have a great 2012.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Ashover (circular) – (Derbyshire) – 27/12/11 – 5 Miles – Helen (Molly)

Following the usual Christmas Day indulgence, and something of a Boxing Day Sales extravagence, a walk was definitely in order for the Bank Holiday Tuesday. Helen chose a walk that was very familiar to her, and also one that I had done on at least a couple of occasions.

So having parked at Ashover village hall, we made our way along the village before having a look inside the ‘Parish Church of All Saints’ (perhaps where we should do midnight mass next year), before beginning a fairly steep series of climbs. This took us up to Cocking Tor and along to Ashover Hay, encountering some mountain bikers along the way, as well as some stunning views on this unseasonally bright and warm(ish) day.

After finding a nice seat to have our provisions we made our way back via Four Hill Quarry. We eventually looked in at The Crispen pub for a swift half, with Helen meeting some familiar faces, before the day concluded with an encounter with some manic little dogs. The GPS said 4.87 miles, but I am rounding it up to 5 (so there).

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Oxted (circular) – (Surrey) – 18/12/11 – 9 Miles – IVC

Well if I thought the process of buying a flat was time consuming, that is as nothing compared to the time required to get said flat up to the required standard. So with just about every minute of every free day currently being spent on that, walking (and everything else) has had to take something of a back seat. Therefore the last walk walk worth mentioning (short of the occasional circuit of the park with Helen’s dogs) was actually six weeks ago. That walk was with IVC, and by some strange coincidence it also began/ended at Oxted railway station. Suffice to say of course, that this one was a different (figure of eight) route, compared to the previous circular one.

Anyway as a fourteen strong group set off outside the railway station, I just about managed to get my gators on before being left behind. It was certainly worth the effort though as this was a muddy squelch fest for much of the proceedings. It was also a crisp and frosty winter’s day, but was not particularly cold due to the still air. Thus most of the walk was through a variety of countryside below the North Downs, with us at various times picking up and leaving the Greensand Way.

Lunch was at the Hare and Hounds at Godstone, who didn’t seem at all bothered by our muddy boots. They certainly took their time serving up our grub, but the other side of that was it was good value, with my gammon baquette and chips coming in at £4.95 (washed down with a pint of cider of course).

The second half was pretty much of the same ilk as the first, although it did rain for a brief period (which wasn’t on the script), before we made it back to Oxted for the 1628 back to London Victoria. So overall a good Winter’s walk, which was just what I needed.