Walking – June 2016

Long Walk: 1st June led by Angels Wall

Isn’t June meant to be blazing? It was definitely not the case on June 1st when eight of us assembled in Brill windmill car park in cold, clammy mist! Undaunted, we set off at a brisk pace through the village and down the hill in the direction of Dorton. Unfortunately, the spectacular views across the valley were invisible! Passing Spa
Farm and lots of cows we eventually arrived by Ashfold School in Dorton. Here we met our first challenge as Chris had to drop out owing to a dodgy knee. Luckily, Angela’s daughter lived in the village and came to the rescue by giving Chris a lift home. The rest of us soldiered on, soon realising we were going to get very wet as the long grass was saturated from the previous day’s rain. After negotiating more cows and crossing the railway, we climbed up the hill to Ashendon to be rewarded with yet more invisible spectacular views. After a brief pit stop (still in wet mist) we set off down the road towards Chearsley and after taking the first right turn, passed through the hamlet of Upper Pollicot and headed down the hill (more cows) towards Chilton.

Here we met our second challenge. The grass was dense, lush, long and wet and by the time we climbed the hill to Chilton House our boots, socks and feet were drenched. It was a relief to meet the road and turn right and right again walking along firm tarmac towards Dorton. The spectacular views were again invisible in low cloud but we were encouraged to see through the gloom that Brill was in the near distance and so cheerfully squelched our way along a path leading down to Chilton Park Farm. Challenge number 3 soon presented itself in the form of the party getting lost! The sign posts had mysteriously been pulled down and after some minutes of rambling in the wrong direction, we eventually found the correct path and headed onwards and upwards (more cows) to Brill. Arriving at last in the car park, we changed sodden boots and soaking socks for dry shoes socks and thankfully escaped out of the now cold wind and rain into The Pheasant. Our strenuous efforts were rewarded by being warm, dry and being welcomed by Chris and Sheila and a very good lunch.

.Strollers Walk : June 13th led by Jacqui Kennedy

Five of us decided to chance the weather and met up at Marsworth. Thankfully, the heavy was replaced by a light drizzle which improved as we progressed. We welcomed a new walker, Wally Brasier, and also had a ‘guest’ walker – Tony from the Photography Group who had been tasked with photographing the activities of some of the groups. He ended up doing the whole walk with us!
We made our way along the banks of the Startops End and Marsworth reservoirs, where we were delighted to see goslings and cygnets; branching off along the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal, we spotted a Mallard with 5 ducklings, one of which was completely bright yellow, including his beak – a beauty amongst the beasts! At Little Tring, we headed for Tringford reservoir and then Startops. Both reservoirs had lots of ducklings of various kinds while swifts circled overhead and Sand Martins skimmed the water; we also spotted a few Grey Wagtails, together with a usual Herons and Terns etc.
It was a lovely walk and we were all very glad we had not been put off by the heavy rain in Risborough. On our way back to the car park we met Jenny, who had sadly arrived too late for the start of the walk, but had enjoyed her own walk. We said farewell to Tony and Jenny joined us for refreshments in the Bluebell Cafe.

GUC Walk – June 9th – Braunston to Long Itchington, 10.5 miles

It was a lovely sunny and warm June day as 10 of us in 4 cars met at Long Itchinton. Leaving 2 cars we drove off to Braunston to start the next leg, setting off at about 10.15. It was a lovely walk, grassy paths most of the way lined with yellow flag iris and cow parsley. There was lots to see with barges going by in both directions and wildfowl with young chicks and the views across the Warwickshire countryside were beautiful. We set off from Braunston in a South Westerly direction following the GUC and Oxford canal, ignoring the Oxford Canal going north at this point, but then after 5 miles at Napton Junction we turned north away from the Oxford canal to continue on the GUC passing a big marina to reach Calcutt locks. then continuing on for another two miles to reach the Boat Inn at Birdingbury Wharf set beside the canal. We had lunch sitting in the garden – quickly served, good food and good value before setting off at 2.45 for the last mile and a half back to Long Itchington, arriving at 3.30pm. Then back in the cars and heading for home via Braunston to pick up the other 2 cars – arrived home soon after 5 – a lovely day, beautiful weather, fantastic company.

Main Walk – June 27th led by Angela Wall

After a wet weekend, Monday dawned dry and grey-skied but it soon brightened up and the sun appeared. Hooray! Twelve hardy walkers and two dogs met at the Mill End carpark before heading down the road to Hambleden Mill. Crossing the always-impressive Hambleden weir, we took the tow path along the Thames towards Henley. The Regatta was due to start the next day and so the river was crowded with boats and crews practising their rowing and the banks of the river were covered with tents, marquees and temporary boathouses. It was all very busy, exciting and interesting and we decided to extend the planned walk by going all the way into Henley. Reaching the main road, we turned left and then left again by the Little Angel pub and taking a footpath on the right, we crossed a field filled with rowing boats before heading uphill. The path took us through a lovely wooded area before opening out into a field of barley with splendid views across the river. By this time the sun was shining warmly and the walk across more fields and down to Aston was very pleasant and enjoyable. Lunch in the garden of The Flower Pot Inn was excellent and the short walk back along the river, across the weir and back to the car park completed a lovely walk on a lovely day.