Fourteen Poly Ramblers undertook the challenge of a strenuous 13 mile/22k figure of 8 walk from Haslemere.
The weather was perfect for walking, partly sunny with good visibility. We walked through Haslemere which has been decked out in 70th Jubilee bunting, and then ascended up towards Black Down following the Serpent’s way (a well signposted trail). The terrain was varied, walking through fields then shady woods until we got to the Down. The hill was kind, spreading out the ascent and everyone made it comfortably. On the Down there was a magnificent view to the west, although there were not many obvious landmarks. 10 minutes later, lovely views from the Temple of the Winds viewpoint from North West to South West. There were views of the South Downs. This was a good spot for mid-morning refreshments.
We then, after negotiating random cows took a lovely return down to Haslemere through beech woods. We had a short break for lunch, finding some outside seating or in one of the many cafes/hostelries. There was an option at this point to cut the hike short, but pleased to say there were no takers.
The second loop had another climb out of Haslemere to the North. This was a shady wooded round Coombe heath. Again there were some excellent views, this time to the North East, then up to Gibbet hill with good views to the North. Alas the Devil’s Punchbowl, although visible, was not particularly striking. By this time we were in need of refreshments and so onto the NT tearoom at Devil’s Punchbowl. This had the usual excellent cake selection, but the display of calories may have dissuaded some from indulging without guilt. Finally a bit of up and down and more views on the overall descent back to Haslemere, to catch the train home.
A good time was had by all, although there were a few weary feet, we made it without any problems.
Stephen and Rochelle. Photos mainly by Ida and Stuart