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Chipstead walk Feb 21 2019

No-one injured on choir walk

Nine walkers set out from the refurbished Ramblers' Rest in Chipstead on 21 February and soon reacquainted themselves with Lucy Pevensey and Aslan the Lion, carvings on the local Narnia Trail in Banstead Woods. Dave the Navigator has assured the group that, in light of a casualty on a steep muddy climb on the previous walk, the route would be unerringly level.

The intact Chipstead ten, at half-way R&R point

Their faith was tested as he led them up a (gentle) slope on to Park Downs. The group contoured a field looking across the valley to Banstead Woods before crossing Holly Lane and ascending (gently again) across dryish paths on open farmland towards Canon's Farm. A short stretch along quiet residential roads led down to the Kingswood Arms, a rendezvous with Ted Mouat, and a refreshing pint.

The group safely negotiates the slopes of Park Downs

Martin "Polly" Perkins was sorely tested as he emerged from the pub right next door to Kingswood Station and saw the prospect of a cosy train ride back to the Ramblers Rest. For the first time in a number of walks, Polly resisted temptation and resolved to remain with the group and walk the return journey, presumably clinging to the hope that the gentle gradients would continue.

Martin Perkins, previously hospitalised during a choir walk, compares treatment notes with Peter Gillman, photographer and latest walk casualty

The group passed the deserted hulk of the old Legal and General headquarters, built with such pride and ambition in the heady days of the late 1980s, now seeming so incongruous in the rural landscape. Near-tragedy struck as group co-leader Peter Gillman fell for the second walk in succession, but this time managed to avoid any barbed wire and so was unscathed, obviating the need to return to Caterham Dene hospital, familiar to him from the choir's previous walk.

Dave paused the group at a five-bar gate to remember choir member Bob Mackay who routinely vaulted such gates on choir walks at the age of 84. It was here that Bob dislodged his glasses mid-vault but they were recovered following a hands-and-knees search by his fellow walkers.

We crossed under the railway bridge (and sang a song), paralleled the line for a few hundred yards, then crossed back under a tunnel (and sang another song). The final stretch was through local nature reserve Fames Rough and past grazing cattle on Chipstead Downs, finishing with a tasty supper back at the Ramblers'.



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