Fourteen Poly Ramblers and Daisy the dog set off from Northwood on Sunday morning faced with an very unpromising weather forecast. The question was not if it would rain but for how long the rain would hold off. My weather app suggested that an hour in the dry was the best we could hope for. Crossing the A404 we entered the woods and then skirted Haste Hill golf course before taking a path behind some impressive properties. In Copse Wood there were bluebells and we took a gently uphill path eventually taking us to Ducks Hill Road where we crossed into Mad Bess Wood. Mad Bess was apparently the wife of an 18th century gamekeeper who prowled the woods at night looking for poachers. “Beware Mad Bess” was the poachers’ motto. We found the outer perimeter of the wood and walked round it, eventually reaching the back of Breakspear Crematorium. We emerged back onto Ducks Hill Road and headed for Ruislip Lido, pausing to admire a very creative crotcheted postbox topper (one of many in Ruislip). As we entered the Lido, light rain started to fall as predicted. We decided to stop for a quick picnic on the benches by the deserted ‘beach’ but as soon as we sat down the sun came out and it was really lovely. Martin had brought cakes along to mark his birthday – thank you Martin.
Back to the woods, this time Park Wood, after lunch, heading north towards Northwood Hills. By this time it was quite warm, the route was slightly uphill and our progress was impeded by very slippery mud. A few of us slipped over but Daisy had a great time. Eventually we reached the ‘summit’ and took a made path above the golf course and down to Northwood Hills recreation ground and then the station. We had barely reached the platform when the predicted rain arrived, in spades. Excellent timing but I can’t claim any credit.