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Walk report 27 Jan 2020

Mishap in the mud

Ten choir walkers left the White Lion in Warlingham in inauspicious conditions for the first walk of the New Year on January 27 2020, sodden underfoot and with a threatening forecast. The first mud was encountered while tramping through Blanchman's Farm Nature Reserve onto Bug Hill and then across Woldingham Golf Course.  The group burst into song as it passed under the Oxted Railway line with a rendition of My Lord.

Inauspicious conditions near the start of the walk

Beyond Woldingham Station lay a steep pathway leading up from the site of Marden Park Farm.  As  warned by Dave the Navigator, it was here that the true difficulties began, with mud overlaying a chalky base.  After near-misses by several other walkers, Peter Gillman slipped and while trying to grab a wooden fence post impaled his hand on barbed wire.  Staunching the blood with his handkerchief, he soldiered on up the slope to reach the crest, named World's End. Here the group stood for moment's silence to remember the victims of the holocaust, as it was exactly 75 years since Allied forces liberated Auschwitz. 

Approaching the accident site above Marden Park Farm

The group descended into yet another valley then climbed again to the site of Tillingdown Farm, now being developed into upmarket housing. Another steep descent led to the busy A22 Caterham by-pass, then followed steps down on to Crescent Road in Caterham. The walkers paused to admire Dave the Navigator's new house before reaching the William Garland pub in Caterham Valley and the rendezvous with social walking group member, Ted Mouat.


Peter's hand after treatment at Caterham Dene Hospital

Peter meanwhile took a taxi from Caterham Station to the minor injuries unit at Caterham Dene Hospital at the top of Church Hill. Four stitches were inserted in his hand before Ted ferried him back to his car at the White Lion.

Meanwhile the walkers supping beer at the William Garland could not help noticing the heavy rain deluging outside. After a couple of songs, warmly applauded by the locals, they decided to take a short cut along the road rather than risk the cross-country route over Tillingdown – apart that is from Martin who elected to return by bus.  Even so the walkers were duly soaked by the time they met up with Ted and Martin at the White Lion.

One of the guest walkers, Scott Wilson, was so impressed with the proceedings that he has since decided to join the choir (as a tenor).  Peter meanwhile had the stitches removed from his hand ten days after his accident.  Readers may have observed that there is no customary group photograph to illustrate this report, and the selection of remaining images is rather sparse. That is because the regular photographer was being treated in Caterham Dene hospital and everyone else was too wet to care.

It should be noted that this is only the second time in eight years that a choir walker has finished up in hospital.  It should also be noted that all walk participants take part at their own risk. 

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