Saturday 17th February, Gillingham (Kent) to Rainham.

There were 15 of us on the train to Gillingham, much heartened by there being a blue sky and even a weak sun, the first time on a walk for many weeks. Heading north from the station, we crossed over the disused railway line that leads down to Brompton Barracks and Chatham Dockyard. Shortly after our first glimpse of the Medway, we passed  the lovely parish church of St Mary Magdalene, set in an unusually large green. There has been a church here since 700 AD and even the newest parts date from the 15th century.

Reaching the estuary, we followed the Saxon Shore Way, much of the path being on the top of a levee built at the time of the Thames Barrier. Opposite to the north was the Hoo penininsula with the church of St Werberg and to it’s right, Kingsnorth power station. The tide was coming in and we spent time looking at  bird activity and the endlessly fascinating wavelet patterns made by the light wind. Some of the group made a detour to Horrid Hill, involving a climb of at least 3 metres. We lunched at the extremely cheery Three Mariners before a short afternoon walk to Rainham station. A lovely day to be out and about. More weather like this please. Our thanks to Martin

Saturday 10th February. Gerrards Cross circular.

It was supposed to rain only in the afternoon, but it rained all day. It was however not as muddy as it could have been, compared with other recent walks. The pub was nice, and the scenery was very pleasant for a walk so close to London. On the way back through Bulstrode Park, we were greeted by a large herd of horses.

Peter

Well done you brave souls. Thanks to Gillian for the photos.

MC

Saturday 3rd February. Woldingham to Oxted

Remarkably, 17 brave souls and 1 dog turned out on a wet day for a walk from Woldingham with an absolute guarantee of mud. I had altered the morning route to avoid some of the worst of it, and this involved some lane walking. At the North Downs Way viewpoint, high above the M25, we encountered an even larger group from the Southbank Ramblers who were doing a similar walk and stopping in the same pub. We sped on and arrived before them, only to find that they were short staffed in the kitchen and some dishes arrived late. However, well refreshed, we set off again in rain that was by now heavier, with only 1 member opting for the bus. Continue reading Saturday 3rd February. Woldingham to Oxted

ST. MARGARET’S (Herts.) (CIRCULAR)

Despite the grey weather and the bus replacement service, 11 Polyramblers turned up for this Hertfordshire walk. We went along the river Lee navigation and stopped to watch birds on the reservoir, then followed farm tracks along fields, passing Morley Hall, its moat and impressive treehouse. We reached Wareside for lunch where we had a warm welcome and lovely home-cooked food served in generous portions in the White Horse pub. Joyanna joined us as we were eating, having walked from Ware. It was drizzling as we started the afternoon walk. We went through fields and followed the river Ash, continuing on a wide path in woodland. At one point, we saw about 20 pheasants in a field. Coming out of the woods, we followed the Hertfordshire Way for a while before reaching Stanstead Abbotts and St Margarets. The bus replacement turned up just as we arrived at the bus stop.

Dominique

Leith Hill circular in the mist and mud

Nine Polyramblers reached the very nice Plough Inn for lunch, although three arrived before the rest after an email malfunction!  I decided after the walkover to start an hour later, but Harriet, Irene and Valeria never received the email notifying members about the change. The nine of us left the nice and warm pub to face the mud, rain and gathering mist, which made for a walk in the woods more akin to a Hammer horror film than walking up to Leith Hill.

A rendition of Flanders and Swan’s “Mud mud glorious mud” was heard from the dulcet tones of Hillary and Irene at one stage and Geoffrey and Valeria managed to demolished some fencing trying to avoid a swamp mixture of mud, water and manure!

We decided to take an “All-Weather Route” for the last stage of the walk as an easy option only to find the track as muddy as the rest of the route.  Geoffrey did raise my spirits by saying it was quicker than the alternative muddy environs near the main line railway track.

Siew Kee and I said our goodbyes as we were driving home. We decided to wash our wellies in the local duck pond before we reached the car, but I forgot one of my wellies had developed a split!  A final few squelchy steps ensued!

The organiser would like to thank those who turned up and didn’t duck out at the last minute (Dom) in such poor conditions.

Slip Sliding away

Kim