Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Saturday 20th February 2016
Scout Hike #27. Gomshall to Dorking via Box Hill.
Our hikes are getting very
popular now and our party of 18 people whose ages ranged from 8 to 50ish, today
sometimes stretched out over almost a quarter of a mile.
Inexplicably, our trains were all on time and so we were able to commence
plodding, as planned, at 10am. Firstly through the picturesque village of Abinger
Hammer, named after a long-gone, water-powered, forge
hammer in the mill on the Tilbourne Stream, a watercourse which runs along the
foot of the downs parallel with our hike.
Our first climb was up a muddy, slippery track, through a cow farm and up onto
the ridge of the North Downs.
The heavily wooded footpath that is the North
Downs Way is well used and recently very well watered
too, so mud was to be the major theme of the day. As we went downhill we
slithered, as we climbed uphill we slid, when we sat down we sloshed and when we
stood still we sunk!As well as all the slithering and slipping there were also
pill boxes to explore and dangerous imaginary foes
to fend off with walking stick machine guns.All
of this was great fun but very tiring of course and the hikers all had to stop
regularly and stuff themselves with tea and cake and sweets so that they could
keep moving. One of these places was St Barnabas' church at Ranmore Common where
we sheltered from a small shower in the porch and wrapped our teeth round even
more tea, cake, bacon butties, beef jerky, nuts, fruit, biscuits, cheese etc.
When we got to the stepping
stones over the River Mole at Westhumble we found the
stones to be about 10cm underwater with the water moving quickly over them. A
crossing here was far too dangerous to attempt so we had to make do with the
nearby bridge instead.
The final, impossible, and much worried about challenge of the day was to be the
insanely steep climb up the evil Box Hill to the fabled ice cream van at the
summit and today the lure of freezing cold snacks on a drizzly overcast day
(propped up by dished-out rations of rocket fuel Kendal
Mint Cake) proved to be just the right amounts of
incentive to get some very tired 'mountaineers' up there in double-quick time.
After devouring large quantities of Soft Whip the entire group were re-energised
enough to descend quickly and almost vertically straight down the hill, through
a farm, over the weir and into the town of Dorking to it's train station, where
everyone was allowed to collapse and writhe in muddy agony, looking more like a
worm farm than a Scout Group.
Again our train travel was exactly as planned and when we arrived back at 7.15pm
the welcoming party were all there to congratulate us and to marvel at the
amount of Surrey we had brought back with
Take the time to read
countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.