Photos & Reports

This is where you'll find photos and reports from members who've been on outdoor activities with the group this year. If you'd like to contribute a report, please send it to the Webmaster, perhaps with some photos (with captions). We also have photos and reports from previous years:

Brian and Dean were the cyclists on the Bastille Day cycle ride. On a warm sunny day we followed the Avenue Verte (AV) route (London - Paris) from Polegate to Eridge. The trains were busy with campers coming and going from the Brainchild festival plus some French visitors with whom we chatted about the Tour.

From Polegate the first half of the ride was along the superb Cuckoo trail, a converted rail line, traffic-free, flat and with lots of sights along the way. At Horam station (platform and sign intact) we stopped at the very well advertised cafe. After Heathfield the route was on quiet rural lanes with a long climb to the village of Rotherfield. Here we happened upon the annual festival in the large gardens of the Kings Arms. We enjoyed some English wine from the nearby vineyard whilst taking in the music and the fine views.

We continued north, finishing with an exhilarating fast off-road descent before Eridge. We stopped for drinks at the next door Huntsman, watching the Wimbledon final on the big screen in the garden (cricket world cup was on inside!) before catching trains back to London.

Report by Brian
Four of us on my Chesham Circular walk today. No radio required for me as I had company!

We headed east to Botley and then started our long mostly north east walk towards Tring Park. We stopped at eleven for tea at St Mary Church, Hawridge. Then past Tring Grange Farm to Wiggington (new village store and tea shop) before descending the steep woods on the south of Tring Park for our lunch stop.

After lunch, guess what, mainly south paths! Diagonal through High Scrubs and on to Cholesbury. Down the road turning off before Hawridge (we crossed the road the other way before lunch) and paths to Asheridge Farm. We stopped for tea about three at fresh cut grass along from Charteridge. South ish again, though Great Pednor Farm and the path past Hundridge Manor east to Chesham (nicer than the hedge restricting views of Herberts Hole). We reached Chesham by five, the one GPS said 21.2 miles. Weather mostly cloudy, temperature muggy, and not much ascent.

Thanks to Keith, Malcolm and Paul for joining me on this walk.

Report by Steve
After arrival at Colchester station we explored the medieval Botolphs Priory before following the Roman walls which enclose this oldest city in Britain. The walls are intact for long sections and feature the Balkerne Gate. The guided tour of Colchester Castle (largest keep in England) included the rooftop gallery and an exploration of the Roman vaults below the castle. After walking along the riverside trail and gardens we reached the newly discovered Roman circus (stadium for chariot racing). It is the only one in Britain and was found as the result of the demolition of Georgian era barracks for redevelopment. We finished the day at Jacqueline's vintage tea shop by the Roman walls for some rather splendid Victorian Sponge Cake before catching the Greater Anglia trains back to London. Walkers were Brian and new recruit David.

Report by Brian
5 of us met at Pinner on a warm sunny evening for the latest evening walk. We first took in Pinner Memorial Park where new recruit Judith explained the history of West House. We then joined the Celandine Way and followed the river Pinn through allotments, meadows and riverside woodlands. The ground was firm and mud-free after the weeks of dry weather and we soon arrived at Eastcote House Gardens. We explored the walled gardens, a feast of colour at the time, and discovered the new features - a recreation of the layout of Eastcote House on the lawn. The walk finished at the Case is Altered where we met some surprise guests in the busy beer garden. On the walk were Brian, Humay, Michaela and Aruma with new joiner Judith.

Report by Brian
6 of us met for this for this lovely walk. It started off a tad soggy due to overnight rain, and long grass to waist height added to the problem. Undeterred we headed off. Weather improving, we soon dried out, crossing rolling hills and classic English countryside, through Radley Park farm. Then there was slight confusion as to where the M25 underpass was, due to the fact that the field was now full of crops and the public right of way was obscured. Once through we then encountered the pretty village of South Mymms, then headed north through the woods and more fields to North Mymms. And then headed into London Colney where we reached our lunch destination, the Crooked Billet pub, a fine establishment with a good reputation for fine, reasonably priced food, although most brought packed lunches which we consumed in the very pleasant beer garden.

Suitably refreshed and after plenty of banter we headed off towards the lakes. I seemed to have lost my bearings somewhat (only had a shandy, honest). After a while we reached a consensus - thanks to Mike D for deploying the compass. We then reached the highlights of the walk, Bowman's Lakes, frequented by lots of serious anglers, with all the kit and paying to fish there, so I suggested that we tiptoed past so they might actually catch something! We then had a rest at a great viewpoint, observing the swans and geese. A very peaceful place.

Once rested we headed off on the final leg of the journey, past Willows activity farm, masses of giggling children and then through the photogenic village of Broad Colney and on up through woods and fields where we reached our old friend the M25, this time going over it instead. We then passed Watford FC training ground and on up through fields and through what appeared to be a microlight aerodrome. A few more fields and we had come to the end of our journey. 13 miles completed.

Attendees were Bea, Claire, Miles, Mike D, Dean T and me. Thanks for the good company and banter. A grand day out, no cheese.

Report by Mick
Our third camping trip of the season was another sunny weekend this time in Suffolk at a new site for us. We pitched site under a perfect blue sky, being welcomed by the geese and chicken who wander everywhere on this unique site. Alde Gardens is a tiny site with winding pathways leading through trees and herb gardens to the yurts, bell tents and the gypsy caravan. We explored the hidden glamping delights and some resolved to hire them next time. We then gathered the vintage bicycles (free to use) and set off on the evening ride. Following country lanes we reached Saxmundham and took in the market square and station. Back at site Diane cooked a wonderful chili meal helped by pasta and rice from the camp kitchen (honesty box). Around the communal campfire we were joined by the glampers, the dark sky perfect for star gazing.

On Saturday we set off on the bike ride, passing farmhouses painted in salmon pink (the colour of Suffolk). We reached the 12th century round tower church at Bruisyard and then stopped for a tour of Shaws Vineyard with offer of teas from the friendly owner. Along quiet rural lanes we cycled on to arrive at the exceedingly picturesque town of Framlingham. After coffee and pastries at the busy marketplace stalls we climbed to the very impressive 12th century castle. The castle walls are all intact and we toured the battlements via the walkway with great views over the flat countryside. After seeing the Norfolk (Howard dynasty) tombs at the imposing church we continued south. We soon happened upon a curious garden workshop full of railway carriages and huts being restored. The owner swopped lots of artisan expertise with Rob whilst explaining about the historic exhibits. We then stopped at the former Parham airfield, home now of the secret army museum. We joined Martina and Daniel at Redham village fete after they had arrived from their geocache walk. In the evening after meals at the campsite pub we were entertained around the campfire by Coogee's charming renditions on the ukulele. His hidden talent for music and singing got us all, campers and glampers alike, singing along to many classics, finishing with a rousing "Always look on the bright side of life".

Sunday was another hot day; Coogee and Dan arranging a spiffing fry-up breakfast with the farm-provided bacon, eggs and sausages. Diane had arranged a day out canoeing for us on the Alde Estuary. We cast off in our Canadian canoes to explore the very scenic marshlands and reed-bordered river. Avocets and egrets were spotted overhead with pleasure boats coasting by. Passing some more pink-coloured farmhouses we alighted at the Snape Maltings arts and festival site where, amidst sculptures by Moore and Hepworth, we enjoyed some cooling drinks by the quayside in this delightful county.

Campers were Brian, Rob, Diane, Dan, Coogee, Martina and Daniel.

Report by Brian
We met at the cafe by Orbit, the iconic steel structure in the Olympic Park, on what was forecast to be a scorchio day, with temperatures due to peak at 32'C in the afternoon. After coffee and greeting the newbies, we set off along one of the tree-lined, lanterns-adorned avenues of the park, passing West Ham Stadium. The Yankees and Red Sox were playing at Olympic Park, and so the merchandising shop had a long queue. We peered down at the spectacular feat of engineering that is the Carpenter's Lock, with its mirrored bridge above. Walking to meet the canal towpath, we had views of the Copperbox. Once canalside, we saw miniature figurines and plenty of houseboats, sometimes moored two abreast. New housing was being built opposite on Fish Island. We were now walking westwards along the Hertford Union Canal. At the lockhouse, we turned off into Victoria Park, to walk round the lake under shade of mature trees, and on to the grand marble Burdett-Coutts Fountain, set in formal rose gardens. From here we could see the old bandstand, and then we crossed over to the boating lake with Chinese Pagoda on one of its islands. Here we sat and had lunch. We saw the dog statues at the park exit, and as we returned to the towpath, we were now on the Regents Canal.

This section was very busy with cyclists and other walkers. Up some steps and we were immediately in the foodie favourite that is Broadway Market. We separated briefly to listen to buskers and buy our food and drinks and meet up again at the north end, just inside London Fields. It was Pimms o'clock for some of our party. We marvelled at the tall wildflower meadow, whereas the cut lawns were crowded with sunbathers and families having picnics. A cricket pitch had a game in progress. We saw how crowded the lido was on such a hot, sunny day. Leaving London Fields, we soon entered the pedestrianised Hackney Grove, which opened up onto Hackney's main square with the new Hackney Museum opposite the Hackney Empire and the Civic Hall in the centre. A joyful wedding scene was being photographed on the front steps. Not far up the High Street we turned off to see St Augustine's Tower and to enjoy the walled garden walk. St John's Church, dating from 1792, was in need of major works, so could only be seen from the outside. While Brian made a detour of his own to Clapton Square, and Dan needed a pair of sunglasses, the rest of us sought the cool indoors of the corner cafe. It was now the hottest part of the day and Sutton House was close by. We all went along the footway and turned onto Sutton Place with its preserved Georgian terraced houses, and there around the corner stood Sutton House, a hidden gem of the National Trust. There was plenty of free time for tea and cake and viewing the historic house and its breakers yard with caravan. Particularly appealing was the central courtyard, with its cool shade and wooden seating under a climbing wisteria.

Thanks to Mark, Diane, Dan, Brian and Freddie and newbies Jane and Kay.

Report by Gilly
The Thames Path evening walk took place on another fine evening. Being around the solstice it was perfect for enjoying the long hours of daylight along the river path from Kew Bridge to Barnes. The towpath on Strand on the Green was crowded with lots of drinkers sitting outside the many pubs on this section of the path. We happened upon an outdoor theatre production of "Salad Days" at Grove Park church and listened to some jaunty tunes from the church gardens. Onwards we passed several canoe clubs out on the river with joggers and cyclists joining us on the meandering route. At Barnes Bridge we crossed the Thames with great views upstream from the footbridge. Walking through the heritage area of Barnes village we noted the blue plaques and the many impressive villas on the riverside terrace. At the Sun Inn, a Routemaster was waiting by the village pond for the party tour to depart so as it left we took advantage of the lull to have our drinks in the now empty beer gardens in the very tranquil corner of London. Walkers today: Brian, Rob W, Gilly and Malcolm, with Freddie racing ahead.

Report by Brian
Our second camping expedition was another scorchio weekend, at the charming village of Alfriston on the South Downs. No repeat of the incidents on our last stay (post-wedding party fracas and the kilted Scotsman stealing into tents); the site this time was crowded with identical tents for the Duke of Edinburgh groups. Early arrivals ventured to Tavern on the Tye for some splendid fish and chips in the terraced gardens overlooking the village green and the medieval church. Back at site the campfire was soon roaring away, with extra blue flames via Martina's magic potion. Great night for stargazing and many campfire yarns from Dan and Peter.

On Saturday we awoke to glorious blue skies and the camping stoves were soon busy with rounds of tea and hearty fry-ups enjoyed with Tony on the wireless. Martina led party 1, Pete, Rachael, Craig and Daniel on a geocache walk of 10 miles via Litlington, South Downs Way and the vineyard. Brian led the main group on a 14 mile walk via South Downs Way and the Seven Sisters. We popped into Alfriston church and by chance happened upon a bell ringing session. Then south with a stop at a pop-up charity stall serving jolly decent elderflower juices. Then into the timeless hamlet of West Dean, with impressive medieval church, thatched cottages and unmanned village shop with honesty box. We then climbed past the meandering Cuckmere river and stopped for lunch at the summit before starting the Seven Sisters walk. This is an exhilarating and challenging cliff-top walk with panoramic views east and west. The steep ascents and descents were especially tough on such a hot day, however we were inspired by a Spitfire fly-past and the Birling Gap café in the distance. Finally we reached Birling for well-deserved cooling drinks and ice creams. Onwards to Beachy Head and vertiginous cliff views with para gliders soaring overhead. The final descent to Eastbourne was a doddle and we celebrated with ice creams at Eastbourne pier.

Back at Alfriston, the village was busy with the parish barbecue on the green; we chatted to locals and learnt the identity of the famous owner of the Tavern on Tye. Back at site Nick and Craig were in charge of the barbecues with Diane creating a sumptuous salad for all to share. We followed with Victoria Sponges kept from the summer party. Martina lit the campfire with Jan and Diane leading the singsong after dusk.

Sunday was another fine day and after striking camp we walked to the Clergy House (first National Trust building) for a tour of the 14th century dwelling and gardens. Bees were lazily flitting here and there on the lavender beds. We explored the impressive vegetable and herb gardens plus the orchards by the river. We had early tiffin at the village tea shop before travelling onto the Charleston House. This was the country retreat for the Bloomsbury Set with the wonderful gardens being designed by Vanessa Bell and Roger Fry. Anne toured the house itself and was struck by the vivacity of the décor and designs. We ambled around the sculptures in the rose and walled gardens. As the afternoon sun was heating up we finished with a final cream tea in the Charleston tea gardens in this historic corner of Sussex.

Campers this trip: Brian, Rob W, Jan, Martina, Nick, Rachael, Dan, Diane, Gilly, Craig, Peter, Liane, Mark A, Anne and Jacqui plus Daniel, Freddie, Bobbie and Ellie.

Report by Brian
For our latest evening walk 3 of us met inside Brooks bookshop and coffee shop. We discovered that it was the former TSB branch; the vault has been left in place and is now a book club meeting room. We headed north via Waxwell Lane, passing several 16th century farm houses on route. We then left Metro-land and entered the lush meadows of Pinner Hill. We admired Pinner Hill House and the fine Victorian farm house. Then the climb to the summit of Pinner Wood and the viewpoint from the Georgian Mansion of Pinner Wood House (now the golf course clubhouse). Our route then descended south, passing Tookes Folly and several detached villas on the private roads of this secluded quarter before our arrival back at the start.

Report by Brian
3 of us met on a sunny morning in Earls Court for the annual Open Square Gardens open day. We explored ten gardens as part of our historical walk through Kensington, Chelsea and Belgravia. All the gardens were splendidly maintained and featured very colourful borders and several centuries old plane trees. Entertainment was provided by musicians including "Treblemakers", an acapella group. We had Pimms at Nevern Square before trying the croquet. The day finished at the Aga Khan's Ismaili roof gardens with tiffin to follow in the impressive exhibition room.

Report by Brian
A big hi-five to me on my so-lo High and Low Wycombe walk today. No takers other than me. Completed the 20 miles in very good time though, averaging nearly 4 mph on my own. Depart 09:30 prompt. Finish 15:40. No waiting at stiles or other points for the masses (I wish) to get through or catch up.

Mostly cloudy day, but muggy. Not ideal for walking. Brief stop morning and afternoon for water. Lunch on Chiltern Way in Bloom Wood. Didn't see many others. Paths all OK except for along M40 at Booker where new fence post being erected meaning one end (the exit for me) had high metal barriers(do not enter signs) which I had to squeeze past. Maybe the responsible person for the works couldn't see the clearly marked footpath signs or didn't care. I suspect the latter of course!

Hope to see some of you on my next HAWOG walk!

Report by Steve
For the first camping trip of the summer we enjoyed a very sunny weekend at Woodfire Campsite in Sussex. 18 of us camping plus Jan and Carla staying at the cottage on the estate. Woodfire opened last summer, it is set within equestrian farmland and has stunning views across to the South Downs. After pitching tents the early arrivals made it to Ambersham for the Cowdray Park polo match. We were impressed by the speed and dexterity of the riders and Freddie picked up a awfully dented polo ball. After dusk the new illuminated bunting lit up several tents, Mike and Martina lighting the campfire for marshmallow toasting courtesy of Dee.

On Saturday we awoke to glorious blue skies and bacon baps at the camp kitchen. Martina led Daniel and Carla on a geo-caching tour of the area, following the serpent trail. Jennifer used her navigation training to lead Susie and Humay on a walk via Selham to Petworth town. They managed to get into the National Trust estate for teas by the Palladian mansion. Brian led the main group on a 15 mile walk (detour to Graffan for ice creams) and a long climb to South Downs. Superb panoramic view from Heyshott summit with descent to the Unicorn (classic car show incl Bodie's Capri). After cooling drinks in the beer garden we explored the medieval church and were struck by the swooping housemartins darting in and out of the farmhouse eaves. Rob W amused a passing nun with a very salty tale about Captain Kirk. We reached Midhurst and explored this fine historic town full of Tudor and Georgian streets. Turning a corner we happened upon an excellent tea shop with outside seating in the town square. Refreshed, our route back was via Castle Mound, old rail tracks and buttercup meadows. Back on site Nick and Diane prepared the sumptuous barbecue as Radio Sussex played classic rock. As the sun slipped over the horizon Jan and Rob led the singing around the campfire: "The Quartermasters Store" and "Bless 'em All" were the favorites in tribute to the D-Day convoys seen that day heading for the anniversary embarkation point.

Sunday was another fine day. Waking to Mr Wright we struck camp. We headed to the Bignor Roman villa which features very well preserved mosaic floors. We were entertained by a gladiator show - real weapons and armour used. Diane and Humay tried out archery before we had lunch at the villa tea shop. As it was such a fine day some ventured onto Petworth town (another very historic town) for a walk with a final cream tea at the very jolly Tiffin teashop in this enchanting part of Sussex.

New campers Jennifer, Susie, Jackie, Malcolm and Dan joined regulars Brian, Nick, Mark, Mike D, Humay, Martina, Rob W, Rob C, Jan, Gilly, Diane, Anne, Dee, Carla, plus Daniel, Freddie, Ellie and Bobbie.

Report by Brian
6 of us met for the latest evening walk, via the Brent valley. Early arrivals had gourmet burgers at the Fox and swapped tales of the Hootie. We took the canal path, passing the series of locks before following the Brent river path to Churchfields Meadows. Brunel's magnificent viaduct framed the horizon; we viewed several new 345 EMUs speed by high above us. We then walked through the Bunny Park with Tim leading us on a detour through Brent Valley Golf Course. In Hanwell village area we admired the new 6 bedroom mansion by the green (previously derelict for decades). Last year was World Cup semi-final, today was Europa League final (televisions visible in front windows on route). Back at the Fox we had post-walk drinks and were entertained by more of Vic's encounters with the Master of the Rolls.

Thanks to Tim, Dean T, Jan ,Rob W and Vic.

Report by Brian
6 of us met at Princes Risborough for the bike ride. Our first stage was the Chinnor heritage railway ride to Chinnor. We had to move Ted to the luggage rack to make room for Coogee. At Chinnor we inspected the classic car show before setting off on the Ridgeway national trail. Some tricky descents on the baked hard chalk surface called for quick reactions. We popped into the famous Lions of Bledlow pub for coffees and took a look around the historic village. Then a long climb up to the Lacey Green windmill on the summit. A very friendly guide gave us the tour plus told us of the famous local residents.

Our route then took in Chiltern villages at Naphill and Hughenden. Red kites tracking our progress on the climbs and descents. Finally we found our way to the birthday barbecue (witnessed the first meeting for Freddie and Frankie), where we enjoyed well-deserved burgers and cooling drinks whilst catching up with current and former members.

New cyclist Nish joined regulars Brian, Dean, Coogee, Rob C and Jan.

Report by Brian
5 of us met at Radlett station and began our walk in the beautiful sunshine. We soon made the climb out of the village and into rolling hills and some forests. We walked about 5 miles to the outskirts of Shenley where we passed through a lovely cemetery where WW2 headstones were laid. RIP to all who died for us. We then passed Arsenal's football training area. After walking around the outskirts of Shenley, we then explored the village with the 16th century 'cage' in the middle of the town where drunkards would be put in for the night. We then had lunch in the White Horse pub before making our way back to Radlett. We then had a well-earned cake and tea. Thank you Suzie, Jennifer and Julie for spending the day with me and Daniel. We ended up doing 8 miles.

Report by Martina
A very handsome 13 of us set out to explore Aldbury, Marsworth and Ivinghoe. The weather was nearly perfect, light cloud cover and warm enough to remove coats, fleeces etc. The route followed the Grand Union Canal for a few miles, the high point being the Marsworth Reservoir, which feeds the canal. The reservoir is now a nature reserve with all manner of birdlife, swans in good numbers, one family making their nest by the canal. The views beyond the Reservoir are most pleasing. At Seabrook Lock we left the canal and headed east toward Ivinghoe Aston. On entering farm land we were presented with a sign telling us to disinfect our footwear! Apparently there is some kind of foot disease amongst the livestock. We all took it in turns to spray and dip our boots. A little adversity is always good for team building. We decided to stop for lunch at Grove Farm. The farm has a pick your own fruit facility, however we were a little early in the season as no strawberries evident. We picnicked on the edge of a strawberry field, which was very pleasant.

Not far beyond the lunch stop and we had a pub stop at the Swan in Ivinghoe Aston. We had a relaxing half hour in the, by now quite warm, pub garden. Onwards to the high point of the walk, Beacon Hill, the highest point of the Ivinghoe Hills. We ascended by the quickest but steepest route! It was a bit of a trial, but we made it. Out of breath, but all had big smiles on their faces. We were joined by a red kite which came quite close. A few of us pondered on the notion that it could smell weakness in the group and was merely waiting for stragglers to fall by the wayside. The views from Beacon Hill are truly stunning. We all rested a while and had a few pictures taken. We could see the route in the distance and off we went. The lower slopes of the hill is home to a number of skylarks, we saw several. A number of the group stopped to listen to a cuckoo! I have not heard one in many years and still have not! Need to get my ears tested. We followed the Ridgeway over Pitstone Hill and down into the Aldbury Nowers, a rather pleasant wood offering a little shade in the afternoon heat. Finally back to the station and the end of a cracking day.

A little mention for the legend that is Pete D, who has not walked with us for 5 years. Welcome back Pete. Thank you: Mick, Lotus, Malcolm, Synthia, Paul, Pete D, Jaishree, Shulpa, Dean, V P, Pritesh and Behavin. Appologies to VP, my iPhone saw fit to re-type your name into gobbledygook.

Report by Mike
8 of us met at the library on a warm sunny evening. We explored the Manor Farm site (Ruislip heritage area) and then St Martin's Church and the almshouses (16th century). Our route then followed the river Pinn across the playing fields, glancing over at the Moderne Houses on Park Street. Into Ruislip Woods we were glad to find all tracks dry and firm after the recent sunny weather. At the Lido beach we took in the views, the sunset reflected in the calm waters. We then circumnavigated the Lido following the well surfaced track next to the railway line. The evening was still light as we reached the Waters Edge on schedule for drinks and reminiscences of Cliff and Melvyn filming Summer Holiday on this spot in the day.

Thanks to Dean T, Sandy, Cynthia, Tim, Malcolm and returnees Maureen and Maree.

Report by Brian
We met on a fine sunny morning at Tide Tables by the riverside. Over coffee and pastries we swapped tales of encounters with notable actors; Brian proffering Mr. Jackson (at the previos day's Hootie) and Rob P with Mr. M. We then set off on the Thames Path, Bobbie, Ellie and Freddie getting acquainted again after the long gap since last summer's camping. We entered Richmond Park at Petersham Gate and then climbed to the viewpoint at Kings Henry Mount. Reaching the Isabella plantation we toured the gardens to view the stunning display of colours with the azaleas and rhododendra in full bloom. We had our picnic by the Thompson Pond with the kaleidoscope of colours reflected in the still waters. As it was such a warm day the park was full of cyclists, walkers and joggers.

We passed the Pen Ponds and White Lodge (home of English Ballet) to reach Roehampton Gate café where Gilly produced a rather splendid home-baked banana cake for us to partake of in the sunshine. The walk ended with a amble across Sheen meadows to the vineyard quarter of Richmond (very impressive mansions) and return to the riverside for trains back.

Thanks to Nick, Rob P, Gilly and Coogee for joining me on a jolly fine walk in the ever delightful Richmond Park and riverside.

Report by Brian
We started off in Clapham Common with an array of entertainment, live music by Hazel Dean and a talk from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Some enjoyed a massage before the off. We walked through Battersea Park passing the peace pagoda and entertainers along the way. We passed through many sights along the route including Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The Globe, The Golden Hind, Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral. Even the London Eye turned pink just for us. It was so surreal, I don't think I have ever seen London so peaceful even with 15,000 of us passing through. The company was amazing and you can always count on a song or two along the way. We carried on past the British Museum, through St James Park and Buckingham Palace then onto Speakers Corner. After a well-earned toilet stop we carried on around Hyde Park, passing Marble Arch, Kensington Palace and the amazing Royal Albert Hall. We witnessed the sun coming up as we were approaching the Natural History Museum and walking past the famous Harrods store. It was now morning and the sun beamed down on us as we walked along Cromwell Road passing Earls Court, finally reaching Sloane Square. By this time our legs and back were feeling the 21 miles we had just walked, but with another 5 still to go before we reached the finishing line. With a couple of caffeine drinks, protein bars, free hot chocolate and fruit, we set off on the final stretch. The caffeine kicked in and more songs erupted and before we knew it we could see the finishing line.

Thank you to Jan and the 14,998 that helped make this walk special. Jan and I managed to raise £734.60 and the overall event raised raised £3m for this great cause. Thank you to all who donated and your kind wishes.

Report by Diane
Five of us set off from Skirmett just after 10:00am. We made our way through Twigside Bottom Wood and before long did what we all agreed was the steepest climb of the day into Hanger Wood. Here we spotted some deer and noticed the rich carpet of bluebells. We crossed some farmland and then took a route through Mousells Wood, emerging with Skirmett in view.

Food and service was excellent at the Frog, as always. After lunch we headed west to Great Wood and before long had sight of the windmill over Turville. We took another long flat woodland path through Churchfield Wood and then headed north back to Ibstone.

We finished just after 4:00pm, having completed over 12.5 miles. Thanks to Dolores, Emma, Malcolm and Mick for joining me on this fantastic walk.

Report by Mary
11 of us met at Hatch End station for the walk to Stanmore. We got a bit lost at the beginning due to some conflicting signposts. The walk took us across some fields towards Carpenders Park via the garden centre. We then headed off across Grimsdyke golf club dodging the golf balls towards Harrow Weald common. At the common we stopped to admire the redwood trees and rhododendrons, passing through the garden at the Grimsdyke Hotel for a photo shoot by the azaleas.

We stopped for our lunch at Old Redding viewpoint with great views south before going for refreshments at the Case is Altered pub. We continued our walk into Bentley Priory, stopping to say hello to the roe deer that were being fed with carrots and bananas. We ended at our destination outside St John's Church in Stanmore, getting the bus back to our starting point.

Thanks to everyone who all who attended and helped out with directions at the beginning: Zoe, Aruna, Mark, Ian, Rita, Judy, Julie, Marian, Liz and Peter.

Report by Debbie
On Friday, we descended on the rather picturesque but remote Welsh Bicknor Hostel for a weekend of activity. At the reception when casually enquiring were told unexpectedly that the pub in English Bicknor was within walking distance. Considering the Black Bridge had been closed for so long this was a surprise, but our plans immediately changed to accommodate this into an adventure. Soon enough we were traversing the Black Bridge on our way to the Forge Hammer pub, which had its own microbrewery upstairs but even better, attached to the pub was River Spice, which we all agreed did the best curries ever. Fed and watered we headed back to the hostel to the unexpected announcement of Derek and Prem's anniversary, complete with celebratory cake. That wasn't the end of the surprises as Mike turned up at 3:00am, having seemingly taken 8 hours to get from High Wycombe.

On Saturday, we woke to find that Mike had found a novel place to sleep as he thought it was too late to go in the dorm. After breakfast we headed to Cannop Ponds to hire bikes and set off around a disused railway track aided by a forestry commission app, which gave us pictures of days gone by when the line was in use at set points along the route. After returning the bikes and finding our favourite destination pub closed we went back to the hostellery pub near the hostel. After sunning ourselves in the garden we discovered they were fully booked, so went back to the hostel and went for fish and chips instead. Meeting up again with our climbing friends, story swapping went on long into the evening.

On Sunday, all down to the water front to inflate the kayaks, and venture off down the river Wye to Symonds Yat, one of the most spectacular and scenic paddles in England. After messing about on the river we parked the kayaks away and a much needed drink and ice cream at the Saracens Head, which also did not have any food, a theme seemingly in this part of the world, so a unanimous decision was made to go back to the River Spice and a good decision it was too.

On Monday, after striking camp we all met up at Symonds Yat rock to see part of our journey the previous day on the river far below us.

Many thanks to Martina, Daniel, Derek, Prem, Mike, Mark and Rachael for joining me on this weekend.

Report by Nick
Our first evening walk of the season saw 10 of us explore the heritage area of Pinner village. We used the Pinner Association 10 walks book as our guide which included a history on each notable building seen. The most interesting were the East End Farm Cottages (15th century) and the Mosslane Cottage. Local experts Sandy and Dean T gave us an additional commentary including pointing out the house of one of the two Ronnies. We ended the trail at the Oddfellows where Dee and Dean recounted their encounters with Mr. John when still called Reg.

Report by Brian
16 of us met at Perivale station and proceeded to walk to the nature reserve. On entering, we were all given a quiz to fill in and badges were given out at the end to those whose detection skills were up to date.

We spent about 1.5 hours wandering the paths and discovering the wildlife and shrubbery. We then had some excellent cake and tea at the cafe. Refreshed, we headed off minus 5 (3 had left earlier as our wandering was too slow for them and 2 returned to the wonderful reserve, never to be seen again). Another 6 joined us at that time to make us feel happy again.

We headed for Horsenden Hill and en route found a pirates cove! We had some shenanigans on a pirate ship and some were walked off the plank! Then heading up to the Gruffalo Path and visiting the Owl and Fox we ascended Horsenden Hill, to the amazing views. Brian and Nick thought they knew a quicker way than the leader but were outfoxed. We descended to the Ballot Box for refreshments and lunch.

Thank you to all who came: April, Ann, Anna, Chrissy, Maria, Helen, Pauline, Sunny, Walter, Mark P, Tessa, Pete, Diane, Brian, Dee, Nick, Julie C, Zoe, Maureen, Matt, Derek, Prem and the best walk leader Daniel.

Report by Martina
Erica, Elaine, Brenda, Zoe, Mike P and I met on a glorious, record-breaking warm Easter Sunday, by Chorleywood Cricket Clubhouse. Humay phoned to say that, in his eagerness to get here, he had got on the Watford train by mistake. So, keen to get off, I decided to take a small detour to the planned route and meet Humay at Chorleywood station.

Walking across the common, we passed 'crossroads of rides', which are large tree-lined avenues, originally created so that horse riders in the eighteenth century could canter through with plenty of room. Delighted to meet up with Humay, we set off again across the common, passing the Black Horse country pub, a picturesque solitary building surrounded by meadows. We continued through a bountiful allotment, greeting a man working on his plot. Cutting through a wooded footpath with welcome shade we then headed down Berry Lane, chatting merrily with each other and enjoying the fabulous weather. We were soon back into nature as we walked past the lakes and rivers of Rickmansworth Aquadrome and headed down the canal for a welcome lunch stop by the locks. No queues and a delicious cheese salad sandwich and cup of tea for less than a fiver!

Suitably refreshed, we headed off through Rickmansworth, passing the historic Saint Mary's Church and the old Feathers pub. Crossing the road footbridge we passed another, more bijou Saint Mary's Church. The sun blazed as we chatted, walking past the meandering river Chess, across flowering meadows with horse paddocks, and past pretty country estates. We headed up past Chorleywood Manor House back to our starting point. I headed off home leaving my walking companions to enjoy a well-earned drink at the Black Horse pub.

Report by Paul
After a long journey for some and shorter trip for others staying locally, we all met up on Friday afternoon for drinks and homemade chilli. Some ventured on to the pub for live music. Particularly impressed was Mike who bought the band's CD.

Saturday morning saw another glorious sunny day and the walkers setting off for the day's adventure. Our first port of call was Hemmick Beach where after a brief stop we headed up the long climb to Dodman Point via Gell Point. The cross we reached was worded to welcome the second coming of the almighty. We set off for Cadythew Rock via Bow Beach, with incredible coastline views. Descending down to Gorran Haven we managed to keep the walking group together on a very hot day, so were pleased at the sight of the café at the bay. Here we caught up with Martina, Daniel and Rachael enjoying the beach. After being refreshed we set off again uphill after some confusing footpath signs to Chapel Point. By this time the group was beginning to spread out, some wishing to take a more leisurely pace and sightseeing. As this was a coastal path, there was no need for directions. By the time we reached Port Mellon Sands we were down to five but met up with trailblazing Dev. Dev and Kev decided to stay in Port Mellon, and we carried on to Mevagissy to rendezvous with Rachael and Martina once again at the Ship Inn and waited for the others to catch up. Once back at the hostel the warm evening made it possible to enjoy a barbecue with the added attraction of live music provided by resident HAWOG musician Kev. After a bread slicing accident the rest of the evening's catering was gratefully done by Dev, Rachael and others. More surprise guests arrived in the form of Ian and Chrissie, visiting family nearby.

Sunday morning was promising to be hotter than Saturday but with my hand needing treatment and others in various states of niggling complaints it was decided to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan by car, which also allowed everyone to plan their day to include among other things St Maws Castle.

Monday saw some visiting nearby attractions such as Charlestown Harbour and the Eden project on the way home. Some extended the holiday, travelling north. Rachael and I visited Falmouth to see Sir Robin Knox-Johnson recreate the entrance on Suhaili to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his round the world voyage.

Many thanks to Rachael, Martina, Daniel, Mike, Kathy, Davinder, Kevin, Jeff, Brigitta, Baishali, Michaela, Anne, Alpa and Jackie.

Report by Nick and Rachael
I took the Met line from home to Acton Town on a mild spring morning. Arriving in Richmond I was pleased to see nobody had beaten me to the start point, great! I had time to catch my breath and order an Americano from the cafe. Within minutes, Nick arrived, then Brian and Diane who cycled from Northolt, soon to be joined by Rob W.

After our coffee and croissants the 5 of us set off along the Thames Path, enjoying the bird song and blossom along the way. Remarkably green areas for this part of town. Passing Marble Hill Park, Ham House and Garden and Strawberry Hill House and garden to reach Kingston Bridge, crossing the river to the north side. We followed the path to Hampton Court Palace where we made time to enjoy this marvellous building once occupied by King Henry VIII. Crossing the Thames again we made our way to Molesey stopping at Hurst Park to read about Garrick's Ait, the only island in England to be named after an actor. As we cycled the route we admired the superb riverside properties. We soon reached Walton Bridge where Rob recommended we stopped at a cafe for lunch and coffee, an excellent spot.

Passing Desborough and after noticing a really spooky house we soon took the ferry across to Shepperton, where Brian enjoyed a lesson in arithmetic given by the ferryman. We continued along our path following the river to Chertsey where Nick recited some old stories of past camping trips at the Chertsey caravan and campsite. We continued through Laleham and onto Staines, passing under the M25 to Runnymede where we visited the impressive Air Forces Memorial, climbing up the spiral staircase to the excellent viewpoint, spotting London landmarks and Heathrow Airport. From here it was a short ride through Windsor Park, passing the long walk with views of the castle, on to Windsor town where we completed a great day out with cooling drinks in the Royal Oak pub.

Thanks to Brian for his assistance with the route, and to Nick, Diane and Rob W for joining me on a wonderful day out.

Report by Kerry
10 of us met at Chalfont and Latimer station. It was a little overcast and a bit chilly but as we set off across the Chess valley towards Latimer the sun came out and it soon warmed up. As we made our way up the hill through the woods towards Flaunden, we were passed by several horse riders going the other way. We made a brief stop at St Mary Magdalene Church to catch our breath, where some of the group decided to pop in and have a look around. We then headed off across the open countryside towards Sarratt and were lucky to see a number of red kites flying overhead. Just before we arrived at Sarratt we admired the display of bluebells which were just coming into bloom in the woods. We then made our way to our lunch stop at the Cock Inn. This was perfectly timed as according to Jacqueline's phone app, there was a 40% chance of rain between 12 and 2. This rain and hail, although brief, did arrive whilst we were having lunch.

After lunch we made our way back across the Chess valley towards Chenies village, then passing the manor house and continuing on towards our final destination. Again this was timed perfectly as we arrived at the station a few minutes before the fast train back towards London. We said our goodbyes and went on our separate ways.

Many thanks to Anne, Michael, Nigel, Nicoletta, Matthew, Aruna, Jeff, Jacqueline, Brigitta and not forgetting the 2 dogs Jasper and Jackie for joining me on this walk.

Report by Malcolm
Some started at Harrow on the Hill at their leisure - one sprinted across the platforms with seconds to spare - a great entry and unique ice breaker. Met some on the train and Malcolm with the delightful Jasper at Great Missenden station.

After a brief road path where we admired the buildings and unique "Book Share" in the shape of a bird house, we started our trail across fields, hills and kissing gates. As we climbed higher, we wandered through woods, with bluebells trying to emerge. We stopped to take in the views and admired sheep and lambs. Other walkers 'stole' the planned seating break after Little Hampden with a view, so we continued. Hampden House and Church were admired, with impressive features (open 11:15am on a Sunday if anyone is interested).

I led us towards our lunch stop at the Hampden Arms. By ringing earlier, the helpful landlady set aside a table for us. It turned into a food fest! All said great value food, from sandwiches to fish and chips to chilli prawn dish. When all were 'fed and watered', we continued the second leg of the walk. It took us via Bryants Bottom, Great Hampden Common and Angling Spring Wood, and we returned to Great Missenden to Roald Dahl Museum for tiffin at the museum cafe with Matilda and the Donald watching us from the courtyard.

To all who attended, thank you for a lovely day.

Report by Dee

Anna and Keith joined me for my Cadmore End to End walk today. First time since 1962 I think since I've had someone join me for one of my 20 mile walks. Actually this one was 23 by Keith's phone and 24 by Anna's. What's a mile or four between friends!

Cloudy when we departed the almost empty parking area at Cadmore End. We crossed the M40 and headed north past the Wycliffe Centre as was, now mostly demolished, presumably soon to be housing. Over the A40 and through The City and Cromwell Wood for tea stop. Heading west ish now and out of the Chilterns through Aston Rowant, Postcombe, across the M40 again and along to Adwell for lunch in a very old church in the very pretty hamlet.

After lunch, the sun started to appear and as we were in the flat of Oxfordshire we cracked on following the Oxfordshire Way to Pyrton where we discussed houses and whether those in the smaller houses in the village (small here means very nice detached) felt inferior to others in the larger houses (some absolute stunners in the village). Probably I think was our conclusion.

Heading east now, we ascended the hill to Christmas Common, then Blackmoor Wood (well signed), Hale Wood and a very sharp ascent to Ibstone House. A final flurry saw us reach Cadmore End at 17:45. For 23 miles and a 09:30 start that was a very good pace. Thanks to Anna and Keith for joining me and providing good conversation throughout the day.

Report by Steve
We had another large group of 10 including some new recruits on our latest afternoon walk. We covered Arc House, Harrow Memorial, Harrow School: the speech room, art academy and school chapel. Our walk also took in the playing fields of the School, the cricket ground and St Mary's Church, with views from Byron summit. We ended with a drinking stop at the Castle. Attendees were Alpa, Brenda, Bharti, Chris, Maria, Suchi, Ian, Mark, Dean T and David W.

Report by Alpa
20 of us met outside Greenford station, and we headed off with the sun beaming down on us. We walked up towards the Black Horse pub where we embarked on the tow path that would take us to Little Venice. We passed some lovely canal boats in all different shapes and size, some had lovely gardens and picnic tables on board them. We even came across an allotment right on the canal. We headed on towards our lunch stop with some members pointing out some interesting facts and landmarks along the way. There was a survival tank that had a head at the front like there was someone looking out from it. Beit El Zeitoun Lebanese restaurant was a great find with many trying Lebanese food for the first time. This was a lovely little addition to the walk.

All fuelled up, we then came across a skateboard park. We all stopped and admired until the passing narcotics were very strong and started to take effect. We also came across a young gentleman who was showing off his core skills doing exercises on a wire. So we muddled on and were amused that Elvis Presley even made an appearance. As we carried on along the canal we came across a mural on the wall that was made out of litter by the Stowe youth club and artist Kevin Herlihy. We took a long time debating on what we could see with the mural especially the alligator. We ended our walk at the famous waterside cafe, but because we were such a big group not all could get in. So we headed on to find a pub and enjoyed a well deserved local beer and wine.

Thank you to Coogie, Mike, Dean, Simon, Helen, Zoe, Bianca, Maria, Shilpa, Manvini, Brian, Sandra, Rob, Tessa, Marian, Rob W, Mary, Gilly and Freddy for making it an amazing walk.

Report by Diane

5 of us met at Islington on a sunny, breezy day for the canal ride. The towpath on the Regent Canal was busy with teams of joggers, walkers and cyclists. Dean led a detour to see the blue plaque outside the home of Joe Orton. We stopped in Victoria Park by the Victorian café on the lake before turning south on the Mile End link canal. Climbing over the Banana Bridge we explored the Eco Park and the converted wharves in the rapidly changing quarter. Reaching Limehouse we admired the vessels in the yachting marina and the Hawksmoor church. We then headed south through the Isle Of Dogs beneath the soaring skyscrapers of the financial district.

Our lunch stop was the Island Gardens café before we scooted through the Greenwich tunnel to arrive at the Cutty Sark. We cycled around the Maritime Museum and Naval College and then climbed to the Observatory and great views from the summit. Following the Thames Path we took in the Thames Barrier and cycled east to jump aboard the free Woolwich Ferry where the heavens opened with a hail storm. Luckily we sheltered in the covered area on the "Vera Lynn" ferry before disembarking at Victoria Docks for the DLR back west. Cyclists were Brian, Dean, Kerry, Nick and Mike McA.

Report by Brian

Mike and Cathy hosted another successful auction. Jan performed the role of modelling many of the items for sale and in explaining their provenance and quality. We welcomed along many PNM's and recent recruits to join the regulars. Sandi was especially assertive in bidding and went home with several quality purchases. This year we had a wider variety of goods to auction than before, including guitars, violins, fishing tackle, vintage tea set, luxury brand handbags and several antique lamps. We raised around £200 for the cancer research charity.

Report by Brian

Another successful walk with 12 people. We had great weather and covered Pinner Park, Heath Robinson Museum, Pinner village and historic church, Moss Lane, Old Rectory and the Barns. Great views from hill overlooking Pinner Farm. A great time was had by all and we covered 4- 5 miles. Walkers today were Alpa, Ian, Mark, Diane, Helen, Pauline, Maureen, Mariane, Francis, Rita and Rhianna.

Report by Alpa
Six of us turned up at the start near the café and after a very warming tea we set off. Three others decided it was too wet for them to join us. We took in the sights of Langley Park and then up to Black Park. These were the hunting grounds of the kings of olden times. The variety of trees and woodland was amazing. We managed to do 7.2 miles with two café breaks and had a fabulous time. Thank you to Malcolm, Jackie, Chris, Maria and Derek. The rain held off and the other three missed a great walk.

Report by Martina
Eleven of us met on a bright blustery day in Great Missenden. We wandered along the old high street, briefly pausing to admire the surrounds of the Roald Dahl museum. Next we climbed up the hill to the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, where we found ourselves in the midst of a proper running event. Consequently, as we continued we were overtaken by the many runners on their way across the fields. After passing a few farmhouses and some fields, we entered a very overgrown path into Mantle's Wood. We found our way through, and continued down a more well trodden path. Soon, we crossed the railway bridge reaching Little Missenden for a well-earned rest at the pub.

Next, our route took us along Toby's Lane, past Mop End, and around a few more woods. Nearing the end, we joined the South Bucks Way to take us into Amersham Old Town. Some lingered for a while in the fabulous old pub, whereas others opted to head straight up the hill to get the train back home. Many thanks to Neeta, Shilpa, Malcolm, Helen, Lindsay, John, Hannah, Lau, Peter and Eva for joining me on this walk.

Report by Phil
3 of us met at Hemel Hempstead station on a very windy Sunday morning. The walk started promptly at 10:00am, and we headed west along the Grand Union Canal for the first mile or so, then through Bourne End and south west over the A41 and across country, with the wind in front of us for the first 5 miles. There was some shelter from the wind as we approached Ley Hill, and from there we headed south-east towards Flaunden, stopping at the bottom of a hill to eat our packed lunches where there was some shelter.

From Flaunden, we headed north to Bovingdon. We eventually decided not to stop for a break in the village pub, but when we reached the church, we stopped for a few minutes to go in and listen to the pianist - I think that he was testing the acoustics rather than practising. The last 3 miles took us back to the station, which we reached shortly before 3:00pm.

Thanks to Karen and Marin for joining me.

Report by Mark
We had 8 along for our city break in Bristol, staying at the harbourside Bristol YHA right in the centre of the city. The early arrivals jumped on the ferry boat outside (Gromit was the mascot on the bow) to glide along the floating harbour passing the converted wharves, yachts, SS Great Britain until the final stop at Nova Scotia. After drinks at this 18th century sailor's tavern we walked back via Spike Island for fish and chips at a harbourside inn.

On Saturday we did a circular walk through the Harbourside, Clifton Village and the Old City. Our first stop was the M Shed, a converted wharf now exhibition centre and rooftop gallery with views across the harbour. We then boarded the "Matthew", a replica of the ship taken by Cabot to discover Newfoundland. Rob W and Coogee stayed on board to converse with "Bob" the guide, catching the others at the Undefall Yard (more shipping exhibits). Jan (former resident) then led us through the charming streets of Clifton village where we stopped for lunch by the market square. Then uphill to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, one of the last works of Brunel. We crossed the bridge for stunning views along the Avon Gorge. After a detour to Brandon Hill and views over the central city area, we stopped for tiffin in the Old City by the university and museum quarters. Rachael arranged a very unusual evening meal at the Za Za Banquet, an all-you-can-eat wonder with a smorgasbord of choice from tex mex, to sushi to mediterranean and lots more.

On Sunday some joined the Bansky and Street Art tour led by a fellow artist. We saw the major Banksy works and many others (some just finished the day before) plus learnt lots about the culture of this capital of street art. Later "Bob" emerged to give us a tour of the SS Great Britain, the revolutionary steam ship created by Brunel and now a permanent exhibit here. The train travellers also took in Brunel's original Temple Meads station before catching the new electric expresses back east.

Thanks to Nick, Coggee, Rob W, Jan, Rachael, Martina and Daniel for joining me.

Report by Brian

We completed 13.5 miles last Sunday. Starting from Ibstone in light rain we took a few woodland paths which provided some shelter. We reached Pishill before noon and had our packed lunch in the local churchyard before heading to the Crown Inn. This was closed for refurbishment so we continued on our route, planning to stop at the visitor centre at Stonor Park.

After a few miles we reached the magnificent Stonor Park. The property has been occupied by the Stonor family for the last eight centuries. The visitor centre and café were closed for the season. We stopped to chat to the local Hillingdon group in Southend. Decided to have a pub stop in Turville which we reached just after 2pm. Had a leisurely hot chocolate stop in the very welcoming Bull and Butcher. After Turville we had a steep climb, enjoying fantastic views and lots of sightings of red kite. We finished the walk just after 4.15pm. Thanks to Emma and Mick for joining me.

Report by Mary
Thanks to those who came on Saturday. A lovely group of six enjoyed our beautiful day out in Guildford and Shere. We met a beautiful horse along the way who joined for a group photo, and a bonus of some beautiful sunshine which we enjoyed at our first stop at St Martha's church where we enjoyed the views at our first snack break. We all enjoyed our ice creams in Shere as a reward for our efforts.

Report by Sandra

The walk on Sunday had a great turnout thanks to the weather. 13 of us met at Rickmansworth - Mike, Dean, Dee, Malcolm, Chris and Maria, Aruna, David, Shilpa, Cynthia, Michael and Jackie.

We stopped for lunch on the lawn of Latimer House. There was a 'Private Property' sign but it was hard to take it seriously as it also said 'No Peeking'. On the outskirts of Chesham we had an unplanned detour due to my missing a turn. Thanks to Mike who had an OS map, came to the rescue and got us back on track. We finished up at the Queen's Head for a well-earned drink having clocked up 11.8 miles.

Thanks to all for a lovely day.

Report by Jennifer
Thank you for joining me on the live music social event of the month. It was a very good turnout, with four new recruits who enjoyed learning about the group from new and existing members. Many enjoyed the lovely home cooked food which was great value for money. We enjoyed a wide selection of beverages on offer, some experiencing new and exciting spirits served with juniper berries. The live band were excellent, playing songs from the 70's, 80's and 90's with a lot of us engaging this on the dance floor.

Report by Diane
On Sunday, five of us met up at Mill Hill East station for the start of our Barnet Loop walk. Along with myself and partner in planning, Deirdre, there was Natalie, Mick and Mark.

It was spitting when we set off but the sky soon cleared and there was even a slice of sunshine doing its best to break through the clouds. The winding brook has a gravel / tarmac path running alongside it so the first stretch of the walk was nice and easy. Surrounded by overhanging trees, and passing a few small bridges, with each step accompanied by the tinkle of running water, it's easy to forget that this place is only ten miles from central London. We passed Finchley tennis club and allotments, crossed the park where families were playing on the swings and slides, then continued on, following the brook all the way to Totteridge Lane where we turned left and headed uphill to the Orange Tree pub. Just as we arrived there it began raining quite hard but by then we were ensconced at a table having coffee and soup.

The afternoon took in expanses of hay meadows, woodland and a lake, coupled with some heavy mud and the notable loss of the iconic Medical Research Centre (famous for Nobel prizewinners and Batman Begins!) from the skyline (to be replaced by the £0.5 million Ridgeway Views apartments). We took a detour to view Mill Hill village and its famous public school and St. Paul's church (founded by William Wilberforce, sadly locked) before heading back to the station.

Thanks to all who braved the cold to join us on this rural yet suburban walk.

Report by Deirdre and Coogie
We started off at Headstone Lane station and went through Pinner Farm. Sadly none of the animals were out. However the sun was out and we walked on clear pathways. We then made our way down through Moss Lane and visited the village church and Pinner Memorial. We walked at a relaxed pace and the group opted not to have a tea break. I shared my local knowledge with the group about Pinner, the village, churches and traditions. We then gradually looped back to the station. The walk ended promptly at 4pm. A great turnout of 8 people including 2 on their first walk.

Report by Alpa
Just 3 of us on the Herts circular bike ride. A very cold but sunny day with ice on many of the ponds and streams on route. At the manor there was a busy food and craft market so we had coffee and cake before the start. The canal route was mostly ice free but there were a few sections where we slowed down to avoid a plunge into the canal. We noted several pairs of swans at various points, with other cyclists, joggers and walkers sharing the towpath. We stopped for lunch at the Batchworth Lock café after exchanging pleasantries with a pair of walkers on the subject of cycling etiquette when sharing a bridge.

We then followed the Ebury Way, Sustrans route 6, which loops around Rickmansworth and Watford. This trail is on a former railway track partly on an embankment with good views over the canal and streams below. We then headed south via Oxhey Woods to climb to the very impressive Pinner Hill House. A late Georgian manor it is now the club house for Pinner Golf Course. We warmed up at the 19th hole with some red wine and took in the excellent views eastwards across the valley. Thanks to Diane and Kerry for joining me on this ride.

Report by Brian
On a cold but sunny day, nine of us set out from Uxbridge station to walk sections 12 and 13 of the London Loop. Our first section followed the Grand Union canal for most of the way and was easy walking, although care had to be taken as many icy patches remained. We saw a number of runners taking their morning exercise, swans gliding majestically by and a narrowboat acting as an ice breaker as it moved through the frozen water. Our next section began with a steep uphill section through trees and ferns. Mike was particularly interested on what was growing on the allotments in the meadows that this path opened out onto. Apparently it was kale, which is very hardy and grows throughout winter.

Continuing over fields and stiles we passed a farm where two aggressive looking little dogs tried to goad Jasper into a response, although he was far too disciplined to rise to their bait. Shortly after we arrived at the Rose and Crown where beer and hot chocolate was drunk and bowls of chips eaten aside the open fire. At this point we said farewell to Phil who strode out ahead before the rest of us had left the pub. Upon leaving we walked across meadows with the snow crunching beneath our feet and soon turned into the forest of Bishop's Wood Country Park. On exiting this ancient woodland we emerged opposite Ye Olde Greene Manne, however everyone agreed it was a bit too soon for a further pub stop. Pauline bid us farewell here as she took the bus back to Uxbridge, whilst the rest of the group continued on along a footpath marking the boundary of Middlesex and Hertfordshire.

The path led us onto the Moor Park Estate where we paused to admire the lovely houses and mused over what people may do for a living in order to live there. We decided they probably aren't nurses or teachers! Now seeing the railway line we followed this down to Moor Park station for our journey home. Thanks to Jackie, Helen, Pauline, Lotus, Phil, Mary, Mike, Malcolm and Jasper.

Report by Dave
We had a wonderful 4 mile walk around the aquadrome, the canal and parklands. The sun was out and we walked at a steady pace. A good time was had by all, with another welcome turnout of 8 walkers. We finished with a well deserved hot drink in the café by the lake.

Report by Alpa
Ten people in all met at Baker Street station for the Time Out London walk.

We set out on a fine fresh morning on our route which took us through Regent's Park, and over the Regent's Canal then north towards Primrose Hill. At the top of Primrose Hill we rested a while and took photos with the glorious view over London. A number of the group commented on how quickly the skyline is changing; there seemed to be as many large cranes as buildings, clear evidence of all the construction work taking place. Beyond Primrose Hill we made our way towards Chalk Farm and Belsize Park eventually reaching Hampstead Heath. Here we had a short break and mused at the hundreds of runners taking part in a cross country running competition. By coincidence one of our members, Dave, was competing, but we did not see him. Up the hill towards Highgate and passing the cemetery, now quite a tourist spot due to the number of famous people buried there.

We had lunch at a cafe in Waterlow Park and all managed to get a seat inside, which was a welcome break from the cold. Yet again we enjoyed great views from the terraced garden in front of the cafe before making our way up through Highgate High Street. By this stage in the walk our group had spotted numerous plaques commemorating notable London residents: Henry Moore, Piet Mondrian, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, J B Priestley, Lee Miller, Roland Penrose and George Orwell. Onwards to Hampstead Heath where we had a quick look at Kenwood House before our final viewpoint, Parliament Hill. The runners were still hard at it, their route crossed over the path we were taking and we had to wait for a large enough gap to safely proceed. Two of our group left us at Hampstead Heath station, the rest of us carried on up to Hampstead where we rested at the Flask Inn, a fine old pub with equally fine beer...

Thank you to Efisia, Julie, Laura, Radhika, Suvi, Coogee, Humay, Malcolm and Paul for joining me on the walk.

Report by Mike
Thank you for joining me on my first social event. It was lovely to chat to some new recruits and some senior members. The food was lovely and kept coming. We started off with different types of soup then an array of starters, which was followed by some duck. Some even tried the vegetarian lettuce. Followed on by a good choice of mains, we even managed some dessert (which I have never been able to do before). The female server was very assertive in such a busy restaurant. The company and conversation was great - we even put the Brexit deal to bed.

Thank you to Colin, Neila, Berangere (from Meetup), Bea, Roy, Humay, Ian, Brian, Maureen, Dee and Mick.

Report by Diane

I'm delighted to say that for my first walk 8 people turned up, and we all had a super time. We covered 4.5 miles, burnt 900 calories ... don't ask how many we put on at the carvery ... and did nearly 14,000 steps. The sun came out and we walked at a leisurely pace and a good time was had by all. Looking forward to the next one.

Report by Alpa
25 (including 4 new recruits on their first walk) attended the walk on Saturday. We met for coffee at the Tap (beautifully preserved Victorian era station pub) with the French language group who joined us. Our first stop was the National Archives by the river. We explored the public and exhibition areas. Continuing along the Thames Path we noted the large number of rowing teams racing by, with their trainers bellowing instructions via megaphones. After the Mortlake Brewery we detoured to Mortlake parish church (15th century) where the verger kindly gave out biscuits to all and showed us the monuments to John Donne and a Napoleonic era premier.

We then walked to Mortlake Catholic Church for the unique tomb of Sir Richard Burton (the Victorian explorer and Arabist). The tomb is in the style of a Bedouin tent with a secret window to observe the interior. After walking alongside the elegant Barnes riverside of Georgian and Regency terraces we crossed the Thames. Chris pointed out his rowing club on this bank and encouraged us to try out the sport in the future. At Chiswick village we saw Hogarth's tomb and the Fullers Brewery. Our final stop was the Palladian masterpiece of Chiswick House where we had a well-deserved late lunch stop at the award-winning tea shop.

Report by Brian

Our first cycle ride of the year was an easy 20 mile ride from Uxbridge to Burnham via Eton. Six of us met at the new Rusty Bike Café at Fassnidge Park. We followed Sustrans route 61 via the Grand Union Canal and tracks through Langley. En route we passed several pill boxes and aqueducts on the Slough arm and then a moto cross festival by the GWR tracks.

At Eton we explored the courtyards of the famous college before stopping for coffee at a pavement café in the heritage area. We then continued via bridleways to join the Thames Path. Our next stop was Boveney village to visit the 12th century church and medieval manor. We then arrived at the 2000m long Eton College rowing lake, used for all races at the Olympics. Busy with walkers, cyclists and roller bladers today but no boats in use. We then continued to Bray and late lunch at the historic Pineapple Inn with its vast range of huge sandwiches on offer, before trains back from Burnham.

Thanks to Coogee, Rob W, Hiro, Jan and Rob C for joining me on this ride. Will plan another historical route next month.

Report by Brian

We arrived in the lovely village of Little Chalfont at 9:50am to set off on this beautiful mild day of January. Little Chalfont is only 25 minutes drive from Harrow. It is a beautiful little village surrounded by amazing walks. At 10:15 no one else had arrived so we headed off on our walk. We headed north first and Daniel soon had his first cache. It was a home-made container which was meant to blend in with the countryside. We continued in a circular mostly woodland walk where we found a total of 11 caches. Some were home-made with great carpentry craftsmanship which always amazes me. We ended up doing 6 miles, ending up at lovely Turkish cafe at the end for a hearty lunch.

Thank you Daniel, my geocaching kid, who never lets me down to come on my walks.

Report by Martina
Me plus four today for my Risborough Return walk. Prompt depart from Princes Risborough train station 10:05, past Horsendon Manor and Saunderton and then our first ascent up to Loosley Row and east through Bradenham Wood and up to Walters Ash for lunch circa 12:30.

Post lunch, we followed paths to the edge of Speen village surrounded by the Chiltern Hills and then up and down through Piggots Wood and up Bryants Bottom and along to St Mary Magdalene church at Great Hampden for tea stop circa 14:30.

Our finale encompassed various woods taking us to Whiteleaf with its magnificent views towards Oxfordshire, Aylesbury Vale and Bledlow Ridge. The distant was a bit misty though so our views were not quite as good as they might have been. Our distance though made up for the shortfall in our distant.

GPS said from station we'd done 17.6 miles when we were at our cars - which were a mile away from the station! That's a very good ish. The two from Meet Up were expecting a 10 ish mile walk and the two by car were expecting a 12 ish mile walk. Such generosity from the walk leader. We dropped the trainers to the station by 16:10 in time for their 16:21 train home.

Thanks to stalwarts Keith and Paul and MeetUpers Ricky and Sarah for joining me for this nice winter walk.

Report by Steve