Scaling the Surrey heights 

The group's next outing, on August 11, consisted of a dramatic ascent of Box Hill in Surrey.  Trevor Watkins' young miniature dachshund Dasher was a new addition for the start of the walk from the Stepping Stones pub near Dorking. Trevor and Dasher valiantly tried to scamper along behind the main group for the first section across the River Mole water meadows but were hampered by short legs (Dasher's, not Trevor's).

Drama below Box Hill - the impassable Stepping Stones

They did arrive in time to find the group ruefully looking at the inundated stepping stones, six inches underwater due to the recent heavy rain. The group was compelled to cross via the less exciting footbridge instead. As Trevor and Dasher made their retreat, the remaining seven walkers group embarked on a stiff undulating path among the Box Hill foothills. 

Martin and Sally catch their breath and admire the view mid-ascent

The walkers enjoyed a tranquil riverside path and then, after passing under a scenic viaduct carrying the Reigate to Dorking railway, embarked on the main ascent. Navigator Dave had thoughtfully selected a gradual climb with opportunities to catch breath and enjoy the stupendous views to the south. The ascent finished at the Smith and Western American themed pub where the disappointment caused by the lack of real ale was offset by the chance to sit down and recover.

Tired  but happy - the intrepid Box Hill seven pose near the summit

The return journey along the crest of the Downs was equally scenic, with a further pause and photo opportunity at the main viewpoint before a delightfully gradual descent back to the level of the river. Fortunately the Stepping Stones pub provided sofas and armchairs where the group could  relax before tucking into their well-earned dinner.




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