Day 28. Another hot summer’s day with no wind. Ideal walking conditions; for a camel.
We had a bit of juggling this morning as half of south Farnham decided to turn out and walk their dogs with us and we welcomed some returning heroes and new walkers.
Our team today consisted of the Core Three walkers, David and Angela, Alastair and Guests, Benita (see previous posts), Jason, Flora, Claire, Maggie, Chris, Martin and Lisa and not forgetting Pepper, Smudge, Eddie and Ruby. 16 plus four dogs at the outset which, given we started on roads, gave our Guide some cause for concern.
Our first objective today was to meet a photographer from a local paper in Tilford. It soon became clear, with such a large number of walkers, that we would not make our 09:30 rendezvous.We rearranged and the photographer jumped in her car to meet us in the car park at Waverley Abbey. This involved a slight detour and some extra mileage which was taken in good grace by all the walkers.
Surrey was looking its finest as we trekked on to first Tilford and it’s iconic village green (and a quick dip in the river for the lucky dogs), and then Hankley Common where we saw golfers sweating in the heat of the day. We had completed a training walk (Farnham to Haslemere) in the spring and it was interesting to see how much greener (despite the lack of rain) the countryside was.
Our next objective was a snack stop at the Devils Punchbowl, a large natural bowl. We left some of our local friends at the Thursley Road to get back in time for a local school sports day and continued to the Devils Punchbowl cafe where we tucked into ice creams and sugary drinks.
Suitably energised we set off down into a valley reaching Haslemere for a late lunch, sitting in the shade of large oak trees by the old town well. As we crossed a road in Haslemere we were surprised to be stopped by Jo, the son of one of our previous walkers, Ruth. What a coincidence that he was driving past at exactly the point we crossed the road!
We had covered 13.5 miles in 6.5 hours and still had some way to go to our next, and final objective, my wife’s sister’s house just outside the beautiful village of Lurgashall in Sussex. To reach this we had a steep climb up out of Haslemere, down and then up, again, to the Black Down Hills, the highest point for miles around, although a mere bagatelle for the Core Three. It was a dusty, thirsty group who reached the viewing point, known as the Temple of the Winds.
Alfred Lord Tennyson loved this area and often walked the heath land that we crossed and we were blown away by the views across to the South Downs and the west Weald.
To the relief of all walkers the end was (nearly) in sight. After negotiating a steep descent we entered the Blackdown Estate and after a short final walk arrived at the Lodge where we were greeted by Chloe, Colette and Jake who had prepared cooling jugs of iced water with mint and lemon and bowls of strawberries.
Once refreshed the walkers decided on one final jaunt, a mile sprint to the Noah’s Ark pub, a 16th century inn sited on the edge of a beautiful, picturesque village green. Enjoying a refreshing drink, sat in the sun watching cricketers prepare for an evening match, one reflected on how lucky we are to live in this green and pleasant land!
See you down the Line.
Total Miles: 545
Walker Miles: 265
Total Walker Miles: 4013