Despite an unpromising start and even a few drops of rain, the walk turned out to be very enjoyable and refreshing. Making our way along the Darent Valley with our blind rambling friends, starting at Otford, along footpaths where our guide dog, Paris, could sniff around, run to and fro excitedly and roll on the grass in ecstasy , via Shoreham where the Darent is not much more than a stream but ideal for a dog to make a splash, then on through fields of wheat and barley, past rows of hops and early blooming lavender to the Lullingstone Country Park visitor centre. Fortunately most of us had brought a packed lunch as the visitor centre microwave had caught fire in the morning and the use of the fire extinguisher had spread powder all over the food in the kitchen, making it unusable!
After our lunch stop we made our way to the top of the hill for views of the surrounding fields and valleys, through woods and down to a golf course, before returning to the visitor centre to sample cakes and beverages which had been salvaged from the microwave disaster! Then on to the lavender farm, to visit the lavender fields and breathe in deeply, comparing the smell of the different lavender varieties, the chocolate mint and curry mint and to sample the lavender ice cream. Paris had sensory overload by then, as did we all! So, back to Shoreham to wait for the rail replacement service and smooth journey home, inspired to face another week!
Thank you to the Polyramblers who kindly came along to accompany the blind walkers. I hope you enjoyed the sunshine and scenery and varied smells too, as you seemed to do.”