Choir walking group

A tale of three pubs 

Our late autumn walk from the Old Bell in Oxted on Monday November 6 was preceded by fevered negotiations with a miserable Mine Host, who had to be persuaded to accept a booking for a dozen or so diners in his deserted pub at 5pm. Fortunately former landlord Martin Perkins gave him the guvnors’ masonic handshake and clinched a deal.

Enjoying the late autumn weather

The most excited walker during the negotiations was Phil's German Shepherd Suki, who was trying to herd the group together and get us started. She persuaded us to head off westwards along a short stretch of the A25 then turn into the manicured grassland of Tandridge Golf Club.

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

Retracing fateful steps

On September 25, nine walkers gathered at the Whyte Harte Hotel in Bletchingley and set off southwards. They soon were in the area where innumerable on- and off-road ambulances assembled on that fateful winter solstice day in 2015 when Martin Perkins broke his ankle.

The walkers pause for thought

The parish with no beer 

Navigator Dave was keen to take the group to the beautiful Marden Park, an area in which he had run for many years, but this required some creativity due to the dearth (i.e. zero) of pubs in the parish of Woldingham. The solution was to meet at the familiar White Lion in Warlingham, from where the group drove a few miles to the Gangers Hill car park on the crest of the North Downs to start the walk.

The walkers at Marden Park (photo Mike Pardon)

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

Three walks in seven weeks

The walking group has been active since the record-breaking walk of April 28, undertaking three walks in the space of seven weeks. And it notched its fiftieth walk since the group was started in February 2012.

Roger shows us the way (photo Trevor Watkins)

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