Choir walking group

Walking with Hope in their hearts

Nine walkers gathered at The Prince of Wales pub near Morden tram stop on Friday 30 November for a linear walk along the Wandle Trail towards Croydon and Carshalton, where the celebrated Hope pub was their ultimate destination. The Prince of Wales barman arrived to open up at 12 noon but had forgotten his keys, so frustrated preamble drinkers had to wait 15 minutes while he cycled home to retrieve them. There was just time to down a preparatory pint before setting off on a gloriously sunny day, in stark contrast to the rain for days before and forecast for days to follow.

The hopeful walkers crossing still waters (photo: John Parker)

Birthday fun in Whyteleafe

Five walkers gathered outside the Radius Arms in Whyteleafe on a drizzly Sunday morning, November 25, and debated how short we could make the walk as the weather seemed to be closing in. Undeterred, the group soldiered on across Whyteleafe Rec and up some steep muddy steps to the top of Riddlesdown close to Warlingham School.

The five (very superior) walkers (photo: John Parker)

Walkers go back to school

Seven walkers made an early start at 1pm from the White Hart in Chipstead on 29 October as the clocks had gone back the night before. The route led downwards into Chipstead Valley and the Old School House, home of former choir stalwart member Ernest Williams.

Ernest and early walkers outside Schoolhouse

Pub closed, disaster averted

 

Everything looked perfect as pre-ambling drinkers Martin Perkins and Dave Bannister stepped off the bus at 1.15 in glorious sunshine outside the Yew Tree on Reigate Hill on 1 October. Disaster: the pub was shut and no-one answered its phone.  After a brief shot of panic,  the intrepid pair replanned and trudged 20 minutes uphill to the Bridge Hotel.

The thirsty Yew Tree ten - refreshed at the Sportsman

There and back in Merstham

Eleven walkers, including debutant Niall McNevin, gathered at the Feathers Merstham on September 3 and set out northwards in glorious sunshine. Following a mile along the A23, with rolling downland paths in prospect, they started their ascent on Shepherd's Hill where the Joliffe Arms pub is being redeveloped. Local Tony Keel reminisced about many a pint being quaffed there, despite a tendency of his drinking buddies to ignore his directions and end up at the homophonic Jolly Farmers.

Striding out near Merstham

The mad dogs....

The choir walkers have made two outings recently, braving the heatwave to clock up more miles in the Kent and Surrey downland.  The first, on July 16, began and ended at the Dog and Duck in Outwood, with half-time at the Bell, also in Outwood. 

Walkers brave heat in  cornfield crossing 

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