Ups and downs around Downe

The walking group broke new ground again as ten members left the Royal Oak in Green Street Green, near Orpington, on Monday 23 October and set off up into the High Elms Country Park. As we crossed High Elms Golf Course, Martin Perkins reminisced, through a golden haze, about some of the wondrous golf shots he had played there. 

The ten starting walkers in the autumn High Elms woods

Dave the Navigator entranced the group with his  explanation of how Sir John Lubbock, former owner of the High Elms Estate, had been a notable scientist and astronomer, and a close friend of Charles Darwin in nearby Downe – and as we crossed the fields towards Downe, we were most likely retracing the very route that Lubbock and Darwin had used when they visited each other to discuss great matters.

A stiff up near Downe 

We paused to admire the former High Elms farmhouse, now known as the Clockhouse, referencing the bell tower and clock which signalled the start and end of the working day, and the lunch break, for the farm labourers.

We arrived at the George and Dragon in Downe and were soon startled by two dramatic events. First, a breathless Roger Lee arrived, having been delayed by traffic on his way to the Royal Oak. By consulting his Ordnance Survey, he had plotted a more direct route to Downe and had caught us up.  

Skirting farmland on the return leg

Second, the aforementioned Martin Perkins placed his beer on a table ready to slake his thirst.  Sadly the polished table was not level and so he witnessed the full pint slide inexorably over the table's edge. The floor, Martin's boots and the trousers of our social member Ted Mouat, who had just arrived, were duly doused.  The landlady took pity on Martin and replenished his glass at no charge.  

Following the obligatory team photo, and a rendering of Soldier's Farewell, the group set off back to the Royal Oak, making excellent time on the downhill stretch. We all then tucked into dinner as the autumn evening closed in. 

The Downe twelve enjoy their mid-point R&R

We completed the entire walk of approx. 5.5 miles in three hours, including the lengthy stop at the George and Dragon, which some are claiming as a speed record for the group and a testament to its members’ fitness levels.



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