Report by Geoffrey. On approaching the concourse of London Bridge station, we were greeted by the 2nd dilemma of the day – our 0945 train to Coulsdon South showed as CANCELLED. The 1st dilemma was that the BBC weather forecast was right, ie dull with blustery showers and we assumed this kept many polyramblers tucked up at home in their warm beds! Our leader Ken decided we should board the 0950 train to Coulsdon Town to minimise delays. Five of us intrepidly set off on this train alighting at Coulsdon Town station (pka Smitham) to be confronted by a confusing system of paths footbridges and a new A23 Bypass which we didn’t expect. After another half mile we reached Coulsdon South station where we meant to start from, and used its facilities! From here we soon reached Farthing(or Fairdene) Downs but took shelter along the wooded path at the side of the valley.
We continued southwards past Coulsdon Common and the Fox Inn. It stayed wet and windy until we reached our pub: The Harrow, on the outskirts of Caterham. It was about 1.30 and the pub rather full, but we all managed to get a seat inside in the end. We didn’t leave till about 2:30 so Ken at this point decided to shorten the walk and divert it to Caterham station, otherwise we would have to be walking in the dark approaching Coulsdon. So fortunately we finished the walk in the daylight by descending just 2 miles along the leafy wet residential roads from the pub, downhill all the way to Caterham station at the bottom of the valley. And we got a train back before 4pm. I was extra lucky as a quick 2 min connection at E Croydon got me home well before 6pm. Thanks Ken
Farthing Downs view by Dudley Miles, though sadly it wasn’t like this when our plucky group were there.