The final bulbous grey clouds of the overnight rain bundled their way past leaving growing gaps for the sun to strike through with optimistic glee as five of our intrepid group assembled for this week’s perambulation. Using a section of the published North Downs Way National Trail, the as yet untried “Adisham/Barham Downs” walk was to be today’s target.
Having parked next to the church, the walk began with our good fellows entering “The Street”, a grand name for a few houses along a narrow country road. They shortly turned right by the village hall which, at that moment, was throbbing to the sound of ghastly pop music for a “Step class” (aka keep fit class) and bouncing to the sound of bodies heaving, rocking and sweating within.
“Why take a short cut when there’s a long way round?” A feature of this walk was that on several occasions the group found itself almost back in the same spot it had been 10 minutes earlier: a fact not escaping the attention of The Senior Member and therefore not unremarked upon. Since the Member for Meopham was idling in
France and not with the group, it
could not be put down to bad map reading; the walks are designed like that!
The first leg provided splendid views of Woodlands Manor providing picturesque photo opportunities to be missed. The sun now dominated over the clouds providing scintillating glimpse of field and meadow. The temperature rose and The Senior Member declared “fleeces off”.. The route went on through lleden (how do you pronounce that?) Farm – a pleasant conurbation comprising converted barns and other old buildings now providing homes for the wealthier of our stock. On the group went through “Walk Wood” (how apt) to eventually join the
North Downs way
and begin the search for a log to allow seating for luncheon.
At this point things went pear shaped – partly due to the lack of logs of any description and partly due to the vagueness of the walk instructions (and nothing to do with the map readers). We could not find lleden Wood (how do you pronounce that?), an important landmark. As if there had not been enough ‘long cuts’, the group found itself unable to find it and wandered hither and thither in search. There were, however, splendid views for many miles. A debate began about the identity of a large red blob on the distant horizon that concluded with the idea that it was either an oil tanker on the River Thames or Ayers Rock. All agreed it was ridiculous to think we could see the
Thames from that point so it
must have been the latter.
The Map Reader General took charge and got the group back on course and also found a suitable place to sit, allowing each person to masticate in comfort, albeit on the ground. The Senior Member lowered himself gingerly towards the ground with much grumbling and complaint. At the end of the repast, and following a bribe in the form of a mince pie, his aide hove to and, with the help of a block and tackle, heaved him back into a vertical stance to afford onward progress with the walk.
Off the group set towards Cooting Downs and then Woodlands Wood (alliteration?) heading back towards Adisham and the cars. The last leg was pleasant but uneventful.
Generally, the walk not too damp despite heavy overnight rain and only slightly muddy in places. 6.3 miles walked and still smiling.