Photos and Reports for 2022

This is where you'll find photos and reports from members who've been on outdoor activities with the group in 2022. We also have photos and reports from other years:

In a change to our usual tents and hosteling experiences, HAWOG decided to upgrade itself for this New Year weekend. We arrived at the hotel with anticipation of a wonderful luxurious weekend. No stripping beds, no cleaning bacon-filled grill pans for us this time. We descended on Malcolm P's house, to help him celebrate being 21 plus *** years of experience. We were warmly welcomed by Malcolm's family who appeared to generously ignore our strange rituals and we would like to offer a special thanks to Jane, Malcolm's wife, who did not flinch when we descended like locusts on the amazing buffet and commandeered the music machine and firepit.

After a suitably late night most of us managed to make it to the ginormous breakfast at the hotel. And we didn't need to wash up! The annual award for faffing went to Mike Shakespeare, as he packed and unpacked a 40-litre bag for a gentle amble through the Chilterns. We strolled through the quiet and tranquil roads to Chalfont St Peter, avoiding the compelling temptation for a pub stop at 11:00am at Chalfont St Giles. However we picked up pace as the rain began in earnest. We made it past the HS2 sheds and diversions at Chalfont Common and hit the Dumbell pub at Horn Hill a full hour earlier than anticipated. Malcolm arrived at the pub on a mercy mission to bring Zoe's hotel key which had mysteriously disappeared. As rain stopped play, coffee turned into drinkie drinks. Prem frightened the barman by impersonating Lee van Cleef but he survived. We took a unanimous vote to push on through the woods and biggest scout hut ever seen. The scouts put us to shame wearing just short sleeves in the pouring rain whilst we bargained with each other to borrow any dry tops, hats, gloves we could lay our hands on. After death defying trip across the A413 in the rain and slightly tipsy, everyone made it back to the hotel safe and sound. We met up with others who had been to the glamorous Everyman Cinema to cry over the Whitney Houston biopic.

We dressed to impress for dinner and despite being abandoned in a room for an hour, the food was divine, when it arrived. Again, no washing up! Dancing and cavorting was the order of the day, and Mr Blue Sky rang out several times as the DJ struggled to realise that we were a different generation, and that he could play something other than Motown. Joan showed us her special moves whilst Nick and Derek decided to solve the Ukrainian war on their own. That was frankly enough and so we headed upstairs one by one to hotel rooms.

Again, most of us made it to breakfast on Sunday. Still no washing up!

Many thanks to all who made this such a fantastic weekend. What a way to start the new year! And just the start of many more happy times to come for us all.

Report by Jan and Diane
3 of us met at Chesham Station on a very wet and windy Wednesday morning for a post-Christmas walk. We headed off promptly at 9:30am, first walking east to Botley and then north to Whelpley Green. From there we headed west to Ashley Green, and then to Bellingdon, stopping briefly for lunch in some woods which gave us a little shelter from the continuing wind and rain. After lunch we headed southwest to Chartridge, at which point we decided to take a different route back to Chesham as Herberts Hole would have been very boggy. We arrived back at Chesham shortly before 3:00pm, having walked 13.5 miles in more or less continuous wind and rain.

Thanks to Amanda for joining me, and to Malcolm for completing the full distance with me.

Report by Phil
A hardy bunch of 29 turned up at the Boot pub to assemble for the annual Dickens walk. With a quick wardrobe change to get into character we headed off into the cold night. First stop on the journey was the home of Dickens, now a museum. Further on we happened upon the One Tun, the pub used by Dickens as the Three Cripples in Oliver Twist. We stopped for food and drink round the corner and carried on towards the Strand, St Paul's and Millenium Bridge on our way to Borough, to find that the pub on our itinerary was closed because of a gas leak. This wasn't the end of the story as the snow began to fall and hastened our walk to our holy grail of Dickens pubs complete with Christmas picture postcard atmosphere.

You may have noticed that I have deliberately left out intimate details of the walk out of respect for the members who braved the cold and joined me on this walk - thanks for a great evening, too many to list but bravo!

Report by Nick
Ten o'clock was the start time for this walk and at ten past ten there was a total of four of us ready to set off. The weather was overcast and a forecast of -2 degrees may have put people off. It was only a short walk from Uxbridge before we reached the Grand Union Canal, with most of the remaining walk along the Colne Valley Way being footpaths well off the beaten track. A friendly horse approached us, clearly wanting to join us on the walk. We had to refuse and shortly afterwards reached a footbridge over the M25 before reaching a row of pretty cottages with an attractive communal garden and stream. Our one hazard was a path with a puddle right across the whole width. It was left to our intrepid leader to find a safe way through that avoided feet becoming wet. Then past a letter box with the inscription 'VR' and we wondered how many of those were still in use. A short distance further was a radio mast disguised as a tree which looked pretty convincing to most of us. Arriving at the Langley Park cafe we all had well-deserved hot drinks before setting off for our return journey.

Our group on the 10-mile walk included Lesley, Jane, Mark and Ian.

Report by Ian
On a cold, misty morning a lucky thirteen gathered by Ickenham village water pump and pond. First stop was Ickenham Miniature Railway where the locos were adorned with reindeer antlers. Hira was toting her leader's bag as we set off. Our route was the Hillingdon Trail which follows the Rivers Crane and Yeading Brook across country through Ickenham, Hillingdon and Northolt. We had a look around the Compass Theatre where many of us had seen musicals performed. Front gardens nearby had lots of Christmas decorations and lights. The route took in Ickenham Marsh, Gutteridge Woods and Ten Acre Woods. Jam doughnuts at the playground halfway round.

Part of the way featured ancient woodlands and involved duckboard sections over boggy terrain. Rita pointed out the sloe berries on the bushes. We crossed the Golden Bridge by the mystery farm. Reaching the West London shooting grounds Mike recounted his exploits there. Then onto Northala Park, lakes full of waterfowl and carp. At the café, tea and buns for all. Mark, Jeff and Brian bemused the others, swapping reviews of Onedin Line and other TPTV serials. Greetings to some fellow parkrunners walking there. Then ascent to summit of the highest mound for views across west London. Our walk ended at the cosy Crown in Northolt village for post-walk drinks. New girl Jane kept us spellbound with tales of her performances at Sadlers Wells and Martha's Vineyard, plus when she played "knock down ginger" at the mansion of a 60's heartthrob, and her dalliance with a drummer from an 80's heavy metal band "still has my Pye radio".

Walkers were Brian, Mike McA, Mark P, Lisa, Jeff, Rita, Marian, Marianne, Hira, Zoe, Jane K, Simon and Rohini

Report by Brian
HAWOG made YHA Holmbury St Mary's our home for the weekend. 21 eager hostellers arrived at the hostel in dribs and drabs on Friday night. Holmbury is the original YHA hostel built in 1937, and still has many of the original features including a fabulous frieze of sporting types. After close examination, we discovered one vibrant image was clearly Brian, as he was riding two cycles. After following the bemusing, strict and comprehensive list of rules and regulations (taking us back to the 1930s properly) we turned the place into a Christmas palace. Two Christmas trees later and after 6 bottles of Campervan Anne's infamous mulled wine, the games truly began in earnest. The True / False game revealed that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, as Nick found out when those without a clue stormed ahead. Rachel and Joan went head to head in the Christmas number ones quiz, a duel to the death. Louise and Kevin lit up the room with the first surprise of the weekend with an amazing cake for Martina and Malcolm who both celebrated their birthdays this month. The cake was replete with edible tents, life-like figures of both Martina and Malcolm, and perfectly formed boots and bottles of wine.

On Saturday the group split evenly between those who like getting down and dirty, and those who prefer a bright shiny clean shopping experience. 12 of us walked up to Holmbury Hill, and scrabbled down again following the path that Malcolm told us we should not under any circumstances go down. Hot drinks and bacon sandwiches at Heartspeak Farm fortified us for the Greensand Way, up to Leith Hill. This is the highest part of Greensand Ridge, 294m above sea level. The original owners built a tower so that they could claim it had reached 1000ft and so was officially a mountain. Sadly the tower was shut so we were denied the pleasure of bagging a Munroe. From the tower it's possible to see 14 counties, and on a clearer day, you would have been able to see the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster in London (we were reliably informed as we peered with eager anticipation at the frankly dim vista, from our lower level). We skipped down the hill to Broadmoor, and giddily headed off in the wrong direction towards Wotton, with Mark A letting it all hang out. Fortunately Nick acted as the responsible adult and got us back to the WigWam pub at Abinger Hatch. After cuddling around the fire with drinks we floated home for the next two miles, taking total mileage to 11.5miles at the end.

The other group single-handedly revived the economy of Guildford, contributing selflessly to GDP growth. Wetherspoons also saw a significantly higher rise in their profits than anticipated. The team managed to almost match the mileage of the walkers, due to a combined effort of walking around each shop three times in case they had missed something, and also walking to the bar rather than using the app waiter service.

Saturday evening started with mucho cake, mince pies and chocolate before donning Christmas outfits. Christine F was slightly taken aback as Joan kindly inquired 'Are you normal?'. Meanwhile Jeremy decorated his poorly finger with fetching tinsel, Daniel had his amazing Disney jimjams on matching with Rachel, and Chrissy and Christine added a welcome touch of class to a frankly Bet Lynch affair. Santa made a surprise appearance and everyone panicked in case they had been naughty boys and girls, since the naughty step was replaced by Santa's knee for one night only. Some people were on the naughty knee for quite some time. Stick or steal rules meant that you were not guaranteed the nice secret santa present would stay in your hands for long. Jeopardy brought out different sides to people that had had previously thought of others as friends. Most popular was the megaphone, as it was a practical present for walk leaders, and traveled quickly between tables, much to everyone's dismay. Pass the parcel tested everyone's co-ordination skills, and despite technical glitches with the music, we carried on regardless using a rousing homemade version of 'she'll be coming round the mountain', and only stopping when people forgot the words or ran out of breath. Ye auld traditional curry arrived, and disappeared quickly. More games followed, including teams of Una Stubbs and Lionel Blair appearing to Give Us A Clue, and werewolves prowling at night. The dead villagers woke and cleaned the hostel the next day, before departing tired but happy back home.

Thanks to all for coming and sharing this amazing weekend, and bringing so much joy - to Daniel, Diane, Christine, Chrissy, NZ Christine, Humay, Louise, Kevin, Joan, Chris, Maria, Campervan Anne, Mike S, Cathy T, Jeremy, Nick, Rachel, Malcolm and Mark A. Happy Christmas everyone!

Report by Jan and Martina
On a semi-gloomy Sunday morning 20 people met at Rickmansworth aquadrome for a 11 mile circular walk around 6 woods. As the rain held off and the weather was in our favour, muddy paths in view, we set off towards Woodcock Hill where we joined the London Loop and into Bishops Wood Country Park then through Battlers Wells Farm then on to Copse Wood where we crossed the busy Ducks Hill road into the Ruislip Woods National Nature Reserve. Forty muddy boots headed into Mad Bess Woods, where Michael and Marian spoke about the history of this wood and about Mad Bess - she was the wife of the 18th century gamekeeper, a demented old woman who prowled the woods late at night looking for poachers. It is still reported today that drivers along Ducks Hill Road have seen the ghost of Mad Bess. Moving swiftly on... We then reached Bayhurst Wood Country Park, walking through golden carpet of fallen autumn leaves. Here we sat under tall trees eating our lunches.

After lunch we continued our trail towards Harefield, picking up the Hillingdon Trail through to Hill End which took us to Cooks Wood where we saw galloping horses up close in Stockers Farm, famous for the filming of Black Beauty. We then continued, crossing the Grand Union Canal, following the footpath where 8 walkers departed, and 12 walkers continued on for a well-deserved refreshment at The White Bear pub in Rickmansworth.

Thank you to the brave HAWOG members who endured muddy paths, slippery slopes and still laughing - big thankyou to Runi, Michael, Phil, Dee, Diane, Stuart, Claire A, Joan, Malcolm, Louise, Kevin, Kalpna, Kumar, Pankaj, Marian, Sadie, Kathy, Laura, Fu and Soraya who joined me on my first walk.

Report by Kevin
5 cyclists on yesterday's ride. All met at Northala park café for coffee, where another cycle group was assembling. We swapped business cards and ride info. Our route was via the Brent Valley Park with stops at some notable features. Then onto Elizabeth line for rail link to Bond Street. First time for all at the new station, opened 2 weeks ago. Vast platforms and cavernous passageways. Cycle ride continued from Hanover Square to Grosvenor Square, where the former US embassy is now a development in progress, with not much to see as scaffolds everywhere. Lunch at Hyde Park café.

We then listened to some speakers at Hyde Park Corner. A Texan evangelist in a 10-gallon titfer was proselytising next to a Koran welcome group. Our route continued to Little Venice and the start of Grand Union Canal. Now an easy route back, with canalside trees still full of autumn colours. The section included a stop at HS2 Old Oak Station.

Cyclists were Brian G, Tim P, Coogee, Simon and Harpreet.

Report by Brian
Seven of us intrepidly went on a walk around Harrow on the Hill, suitably illustrated by the work I had done for Heritage Open Day weekend this year about all sorts of inventions with links to Harrow. Meeting at 11:00 we made our way up the hill stopping at the wonderful garden of St Thomas's church. The guys who had been to Shropshire looked at the hill and said after the Wrekin that hill is nothing! We smilingly scaled the sharp incline to St Mary's church. We again had a few detours as we squeezed in a potted knowledge of 927 years of the church history. Hira suggested that as the weather was looking a little bit dodgy it might be as well to go across the fields and return via a coffee stop. Marianne was also very anxious to see the Longhorn cattle. So heading behind the tennis courts on Harrow School fields we went into the wild open countryside only to find that the Longhorn cattle weren't at home! Never mind, coffee beckoned as we pottered across Sudbury Court hill, turned back onto the main road and scaled the hill again to find a lovely free set of tables and chairs in the Grove restaurant on top of the hill. Soorab's chips seemed to take forever but they looked very, very good when they turned up and we all very much enjoyed catching up.

Thanks to Soraya, Julia, Soorab, Laura, Marianne and Hira for the excellent company.

Report by Judith
On a perfect morning for a walk, with good weather predicted for the rest of the day, we saw a large gathering of walkers meeting up at Uxbridge Station. 6 walkers started from Denham. In all the count was 27 walkers started, 2 more joined and 3 more joining later, totalling 32 members.

We very soon reached Aldergate Nature Reserve where we found a suitable spot to observe the two minute silence. Walking along Frays River, taking the views. Carrying on through the fields of Shire Ditch. Our route took us under the A40 which showed the huge well-known murals that were painted on the structures underneath, known as The Uxbridge Gallery. Marching through woodland, crossing over the bridge, perfect spot for a group photo followed by a short walk along the canal. Denham Country Park has a number of lakes as well as footpaths, making it a very scenic route. Things were going so well until the leader found a broken bridge on our route which meant we had to turn back and use an alternative route. We then found that this alternative route would have taken us through deep water so another alternative route had to be found. No-one was discouraged as in the warm sunshine we were walking through wooded areas, open spaces alongside lakes and streams.

Our navigator found our way to the cafe at Denham Country Park where we stopped for lunch. Enjoying hot drinks and food. Here we picked up 2 more members. Then a short walk from there to picturesque Denham village where we visited the Christmas Fair in the village, which was followed by a drink in the local pub, some enjoying the Sunday roast. Then there were five left. Chatting and drinking carried on till late.

We enjoyed the company of everyone who joined us: Angela, Esther, Kevin, Kevin M, Lou, Bharti, Pam N, Runi ,Ian, Kathy, Sadie, Mark, Karen, Diane, Jostna, Louis, Angie, Marianne, Yolly, Simon, Joan, Mariam, Christina, Hema, Con, Kate, Kathrine, Kumar, Elaine and Zoe. At the pub we welcomed Martina, Daniel and Stuart. Apologies for missing out anyone. We hope the four new members enjoyed their first walk enough to join us on other walks. See you soon.

Report by Runi
Six keen walkers met outside Rickmansworth Station on a warm but foggy morning. We headed off out of town along the Grand Union Canal towards Watford. The section of canal looked a littler shallower than normal with several canal barges sitting at a light angle due to the fact that they were partially grounded. We soon arrived at Cassiobury where we then turned off the canal footpath, across a golf course and open countryside. We paused to take a couple of pictures of the trees in full autumn colours emerging from the fog, and at 11:00 we paused for 2 minutes just outside York House School.

After making our way through Harrocks Wood we crossed the M25 and on into Sarratt just short of the half-way point, well before 12:00. Having made such good progress, we decided that we would make a slight detour and extend the walk by 1/2 mile and stop at the Green Dragon in Flaunden for refreshments. This change of plan meant that we bumped into two members of the group sitting on a bench just down the road from the pub who then joined us for drinks.

Whilst having lunch the fog lifted and the sky turned blue. We said good bye to Mary and Dolores, who were doing their own walk. We headed off downhill through Baldwins Wood and on to the Chess Valley footpath near Chenies. We then followed this path in the warm afternoon sunshine all the way back to our start point in Rickmansworth, arriving back well before sunset, meaning that Karen was disappointed in not being able to use her torch.

Many thanks to Phil, Dee, Karen, Narishi and Indira for joining me on this 17.5 mile walk.

Report by Malcolm
On a sunny and mild Saturday morning, eleven of us set off from Tottenham Hale Station, and after a short road walk we turned south along the River Lea towpath. We soon arrived at Markfield Park with a pretty cafe and gardens, its earler existence being the Tottenham Sewage Works - thankfully closed in 1962! This is the site of the remarkable Markfield Beam Engine, built in 1888 and beautifully restored to full working order. Although not open or steaming on our visit, we were able to view the engine, eliciting the finest Fred Dibnah impression south of Bolton "By gum, look at the size of that flywheel!". Passing many canal barges of all shapes and sizes, we spotted an unusual gantry mechanism which we surmised was once a barge maintenance lift. Its main use now is a perch for seagulls - we hoped the barge owner underneath gets a discount for having the unluckiest mooring on the river. We criss-crossed the river a few times, noting for future use some pleasant looking pubs and the local rowing club cafe. Even though we were passing through Tottenham and Hackney, much of this section of the river and associated canal have a distinctly non-urban feel, helped by the presence of the Walthamstow Wetlands on the opposite bank. One barge was put to good use as an 'artisinal' bakery, and enjoyed good trade from our group as we stocked up on lunchtime extras. The river and canal (the navigation) split into two channels, and we followed the canal. Passing Hackney Marshes, we saw the vast jumble of goalposts of the 80 soccer and rugby pitches - truly the spiritual home of Sunday League football.

Lunch was taken beside the water near what was the Olympic Park Press Centre, now home to Here East, comprising a small-business hub, several university outposts and the studios of BT Sports, one of which (BT would have you believe) is the largest studio in the country. We managed to lose Sally at this point - note to leader - remember to communicate small changes to ALL of the group. Being ever resourseful, she found us eventually. Continuing our journey, we left the canal and headed east past the Olympic Stadium, where West Ham fans were beginning to gather for their weekly ritual of noise, expectation, hope and ultimate disappointment. The path we were following is called The Greenway, and follows the track of a major underground sewer all the way to Beckton Sewage Works, although thankfully there was only an occasional whiff. Along this route is the Abbey Mills pumping station, opened in 1868 and designed by the venerated Joseph Bazalgette. Its grandiose structure is testament to the pride the Victorians had for even the most basic civil utility buildings. Turning south once again, we followed a narrow little-known path along a watercourse known as the Prescott Channel and its associated Three Mills Lock. Originally constructed in 1935 as drainage for the Lea Valley, it was put to good use by barges carrying materials to and spoil from the Olympic Park construction site. The rubble of the demolished Euston Arch was also dumped here in 1962, some of which has been subsequently salvaged. The river at this point becomes tidal and connects to Bow Creek, although the nearby canal levels remain constant. We passed the historically important Three Mills, the oldest surviving example of a tidal mill in the world. Originally used for flour grinding, its subsequent use was for grinding grain for gin - the distilled product supplying many of the gin palaces in London. Three Mills is now a museum, education centre and film studio. Passing over a complicated series of locks, we turned right onto the Limehouse Cut canal. At this point we said goodbye to Judith whom we pointed in the direction of nearby Bromley-by-Bow Station. The sun was bowing its head as we approached the Limehouse Basin, so after a straw poll, we decided not to visit St Anne's Church (this was an usolicited addition to the itinerary by the Events Secretary anyway) and entered the Limehouse Basin. The sun was definitely several degrees over the yardarm of a small sailing barge moored in the basin, and we took this as a signal to head for the Yurt Cafe - yes really a cafe in a yurt, where we were joined by three HAWOGians who had been to the Lord Mayor's Show. Lots of clinking of wine glasses against beer bottles against coffee cups was heard, after which we made our way home enriched with the knowlege of an understated but fascinating corner of London's tapestry.

Thanks to (in no particular order) Joan, Judith, Sally, Diane, Sandra, Mark, Kevin, Louise, Mike and Jeremy.

Report by Rob
Eleven of us met at Cookham Station where we took a leisurely walk down through the Pound, crossing over Fleet Bridge and on towards the High Street. Passing all the little shops and cottages we arrived at the Stanley Spencer Gallery where we met Sharon, Sarah and Nick. We then made our way across the road and into the grounds of Holy Trinity Church and along the footpath to the river bank. We then proceeded across the muddy fields towards Marlow, admiring all the nice houses across the other side of the Thames. We soon made it to our lunchtime stop at the Bounty public house on the edge of the river. This was good timing while we waited for the rain to pass.

After lunch we continued our walk through Spade Oak Reach up to Winter Hill and down through Quarry Wood, eventually making it to the road for the final part of our walk to Marlow Bridge. Having made it to the High Street we all had a wander through the local market stalls and then onto the Marlow Donkey to end our day.

Many thanks to all who joined us for our walk today: Joan, Kevin, Louise, Cathy, Jeff, Soraya, Mike, Salem, Simon, Anne Marie, Sharon, Sara, Nick and Mark.

Report by Mark A
Ten met on another lovely sunny morning of this ongoing Indian summer. Beaconsfield Station benefits from its own café, so tea and buns for all at the start. We soon arrived at the wonderful Bekonscot model village, one of the first in the world, now preserved in a 1930's time warp. The model railway is the largest in UK and has a full-sized signal box to control the 6 trains running simultaneously. We ambled around all the towns and each of us noticed something extra as there was an amazing amount of detail. Viaducts; rock climbers ascending a hill; window cleaner waving at trains; level crossing gates open and closing for the express train.

Over lunch Phu and Derek swapped anecdotes about staying at Shepherds Hut in the summer and Judith told us about her musical show in the week. Route headed through woods of horse chestnuts and beech trees. Around Knotty Green the allotments were full of pumpkins, and many carved versions were at the front porches of the detached villas. We met the surprise guest at the Royal Standard where, to celebrate his recent good fortune, Con bought a round of Owd Rodgers for all.

Walkers were Brian G, Con, Coogee, Judith, Tim B, Brian F, Phu, Derek, Prem and Rohini.

Report by Brian
Thirty plus met at Buildwas Abbey for the start of our Saturday walk. Very mixed ability group, and very soon we were heading up towards Little Wenlock, a lovely traditional English village with church, pub and mix of generous homes. Then the Shropshire Way along the flat across a path and then road, a short stop in a private woods for snacks before our main ascent, up to the top of the Wrekin Hill. It was dry but increasingly misty and then very windy near the top. Lunch out of the wind just before the summit and then the main path down, Telford side and lots more people. No views, I had hoped to see the Stretton Hills as I can see the Wrekin from them. We returned via a different route to Little Wenlock before all back at start point in good time for the evening's Halloween themed pub dinner organised by Diane.

Sunday, I didn't count today (sorry) but must have been similar number on walk. Shorter today, from YHA Ironbridge Coalport, following the River Severn to Ironbridge for a group photo, and then along and up the valley again following the Shropshire Way. Until we got to an unclear sign, could be pointing at that path over there or was it the steps? Mmmm. The steps were calling me so I took them and they went on and on and on. Most importantly though they went up and up and up. All one million of them, to a path along the top, and most importantly of all, to a sign to Benthall Hall, our destination for lunch. Hurray! Would not have liked to have said to all "sorry, turn around, not where we want". We got to Benthall Hall National Trust for 11:30, nice morning, quite sunny, and had early lunch. Unfortunately the house was closed so no chance to visit. Then the rain came, we departed for YHA Ironbridge Coalport, most direct route, and returned 12:40 onwards. An early finish as had been requested.

Saturday walk was ~12 miles and Sunday's ~6 miles, both with ascent, the Wrekin Hill is 407 metres high. Won't list those who joined me on the weekend, too many, but thank you all for coming.

Report by Steve
After a night of thunder and lightning, I woke up to a promising morning. I was joined by Cathy. By the time the walk started we were facing the sun creeping through the amazing cloud formations. We walked through the wet paths towards the country park. With the day brightening up with clear sky, sun shining, looking very fresh, the autumnal colours were just amazing. This gave us an opportunity to experiment with taking some candid photos. It was great showing and sharing tips with Cathy who was very eager to learn. We walked through amazing scenery and the colourful trees. We finally stopped at the country park cafe for coffee, pumpkin and ginger cake.

We continued through the woodland along the canal and over the bridge towards the lake. We stopped to take more photos and try new ways. We chatted away and walked further towards Hillingdon Golf Course, passing many viewpoints for the perfect snap. The views across the lake with bright colours of trees were amazing to see. Finally we circled back to the village, stopping at the church. We decided to go for a well-earned drink in the village pub. We sat chatting then walked back to the start point not realising it was nearly 5:00.

Thank you to Cathy for joining me on this 7 mile walk.

Report by Runi
As I waited at the station in the pouring rain and thunder to see if anyone else would turn up for the walk, I was surprised to see that Karen E had managed to battle through and arrive on time ready for the day's walk. Suitably dressed for the weather we headed off out of Wendover along the Ridgeway path, our route taking us uphill though the colourful woods whose leaves were still on the trees, which also gave us some protection from the weather. As we reached the highest point of our journey and emerged from the woods, the heavy rain subsided and gave way to bright skies, making the autumn views even more dramatic with the dark skies moving away in the distance.

We dropped down into Tring for our lunch stop where we removed the unnecessary wet weather layers before making our way down to little Tring, where we picked up the Wendover canal for our return journey. During our walk along the canal, we paused at several spots to take in the views, finally arriving back at Wendover Station at 3:00pm, well before the planned finish time for a 15 mile walk.

Many thanks to Karen E for joining me on this walk.

Report by Malcolm
14 of us met outside the Black Horse on a beautiful autumn sunny day. We proceeded down Maybank Avenue passing Daniel's famous LNER football grounds. We then proceeded to Horsenden Hill where we climbed up to the summit. We admired the many great viewpoints. We then went down the hill towards the Gruffalo Park where we met the fox, the mouse, the owl, the snake and finally the gruffalo. Most people didn't know the story and it was good to have Louise as our school teacher who knew the story very well and Daniel helped out with the animations. We then went to Horsenden Cafe and had some nice sweet treats and coffee to prepare us for the next leg of our journey, and some had a bottle of the local brew.

We were then joined by Soraya and her lovely dog Luna who had missed us at the start and had to do the first half of the walk on their own. We then continued back towards the Ballot Box pub via the old pathway and proceeded then towards Sudbury Hill where we climbed up Piggy Lane and then went straight to the top of Harrow on the Hill. Simon then showed as the smallest house in Britain which is in Harrow on the Hill hamlet. We then proceeded on to St. Mary's church and we learnt all about Lord Byron and John Lyons. After the church we then proceeded down the hill and back to our starting point of the Black Horse where we all went in and had refreshments.

Thank you to all for coming. We did just under 8 miles. Lots of hills. Everyone felt rejuvenated. Hope to see you all again soon.

Report by Martina
14 members met at Richmond Station on a bright and sunny Sunday morning. We made our way towards the River Thames via a small alley and across Richmond Green passing Richmond Theatre. Within 10 minutes or so we picked up the Thames Path. We turned right and headed towards Richmond Lock and Weir. Once we arrived at the lock we walked over the footbridge towards Syon Park and it beautiful garden centre. Here we took our mid-morning refreshments from the delightful bakery, serving home-made sweet and savoury pastries, bread and more. We continue to walk to Brentford Lock and the beautiful painted canal boats. We continued on to Osterley, where we said goodbye to one of our walkers. From there we continued on to Hanwell Lock and The Fox public house for Sunday lunch and sandwiches. Here we said goodbye to two other members of the group.

Then there were 11, who continued along the canal through Hanwell, taking in Bunny Park and the Millennium Maze. We then continued our walk to Greenford and Perivale Park where there is a memorial bench in honour of the late Nick Hopkins who was known as "rock's greatest session man". We continued on to Greenford Station and the Railway public house where we ended our walk. Some stayed for a well-deserved drink or two, others continued with their journey home.

I would like to thank all the walkers for joining me on my maiden walk, they are Diane (a great big thankyou for all your support), Kalpna, Runi, Angela, Louise, Kevin, Karen, Carole, Jyotsna, Martina, Daniel, Laura and Remi.

Report by Joan
Three of us met at Harrow and Wealdstone Station to take the train to Hemel Hempstead. We were approached by another walker who advised us that our train was leaving on a different platform. We assumed that this solo walker was joining us and eagerly introduced ourselves. However it soon became clear that she had never heard of HAWOG and was merely going out in the same direction. Despite our offer she declined to join us and on arriving at Hemel we were joined by two other members.

The five of us headed off along the main road to join the official start point of the Chiltern Way. Despite some initial reservations the beautiful countryside opened up and soon won over the doubters. As we approached in the direction of the church in Bovingdon we met a local who redirected us on to the correct path. She was keen to know about us and after informing her of the group we pointed her to the website for information on future Chiltern walks that she could join. We continued on through a small housing estate with the path going between numbers 51 and 52.

After stopping for a short lunch stop in Flaunden, we continued on to Sarratt where we detoured to have a look inside the church. On leaving the church we gave some directions to a small group of other walkers who were lost but then took the wrong path ourselves! We retraced our steps through the churchyard, trying to avoid the shame of being seen by those we had just directed! Ahead of us lay beautiful views of the Chess Valley. We crossed the marshy Chess River via a couple of bridges and came out on to the road at Chenies. Avoiding the two pubs we carried on to our finish point in West Chorleywood, passing through a tunnel under the Met line. Although many of us had walked routes in this area before this was a new path for all. Total mileage for the walk was around 11 miles. We arrived at Chorleywood Station where all but one of us carried on for another quarter of a mile for refreshments in The Old Shepherd pub.

Thanks to all those who joined me on this stunning walk.

Report by Dave S
Eight cyclists met on a sunny morning at Didcot. Locals Sharon and Nick were on their first event. Our 20 mile cycle ride was along the Hanson Way, Sustrans Route 5 from Didcot to Oxford. We heard the steam trains chuffing away at the Railway Museum and passed the site of Didcot Power Station, the huge chimneys now demolished. Our first stop was the scenic village of Sutton Courtney which has several thatched cottages and manor houses. We then joined the Thames Path for a section passing Abingdon Marina. Nick H, learned local, now led us to the ancient Thameside town of Abingdon. An important Roman town, Abingdon has its own abbey and lots of history. We had lunch in the market square, with some jolly decent savoury pastries from the Bulgarian tea shop. Nick then led a tour of the almshouses, 13th century church and the Abbey. Abingdon Abbey was one of the largest in England with some sections still intact, the Abbey House now a local theatre and meeting room.

Our route continued north on the Hanson Way with a detour to Nick's mansion for home-made coffee cake in the library. The Thames was busy with rowers, and we passed several rowing clubs on the approach to Oxford. We then reached the dreaming spires of Oxford itself. The town was very busy as it was the "matriculation ceremony" for the first-year students. Nick and Sharon guided us around the colleges to Radcliffe Square for tea and buns at the Vaults tea shop. Looking onto the Radcliffe Camera (Neo-Classical masterpiece of James Gibb) our ride finished in the finest square of Oxford.

Cyclists were Brian, Malcolm, Coogee, Mark P, Lisa, Anneke, Nick H and Sharon W.

Report by Brian
With bright sunshine and a beautiful day ahead of us, 22 met up at the Orange Tree pub and set off down Totteridge Lane before turning into Dollis valley and following the brook all the way to Longland Drive where we picked up the country lanes and headed for Finchley Nurseries, the lovely little garden centre just off Mill Hill, where we stopped for a break.

After refreshing cups of coffee / tea and a few cakes, we took a different route back through the open fields, then followed the tree-lined tracks that run through the nature reserve and circle Darlands Lake. The nice thing about this walk is that although it isn't much more than 6.5 miles in total, each section offers different scenery. Once back up on Totteridge Lane we stopped briefly at St Andrews Church to view the 2000 year old yew tree just outside the church doors. The tree is looking a bit tired now but after all this time I think it could be forgiven for that.

By the time we got back to the Orange Tree we were all ready for a drink. In the pub garden, after we'd gathered a few tables together, the waitress (Totteridge's equivalent of Eva Braun) gave us a telling-off for moving them, asking, "Who gave you permission to move ze tables?", and telling us, "ze garden is closed.". For a moment I thought Diane was going to thump her, but instead, in good old HAWOG fashion we totally ignored her and went to get our drinks. Eva seemed to relax when she realised we most of us were there for a drink and only a few were ordering food.

It was lovely to see so many faces. Thanks for joining me: Kalpna, Diane, Joan, Laura, Mike D, Sarah, Ann-Marie, Aruna, Zoe, Louise, Kevin, Derek, Prem, Alpa, Hira, Rita, Mark, Nev, Rohini, Kate and Jane.

Report by Coogee
Twenty met on a very sunny warm morning at Black Jacks Mill tea rooms. Over coffee and bacon baps we watched the barges negotiate the lock. Our route was south along the Grand Union Canal to Harefield bridge. From there we walked to the 14th century village church. We visited the Commonwealth War Graves, immaculately maintained. Then into the church where a service had just finished. The verger was still serving tea, jolly good timing said all, so some helped themselves to tea and some splendid fruitcake. The Jacobean memorials inside are very ornate, featuring many of the Newdigate family who were the leading landowners. We then walked past the almshouses to the village, stopping at the Georgian manor of Harefield House. Jeff confided that this was his workplace back in the day where he was a student scientific officer for the Air Ministry; all hush hush of course. Onto the grounds of Harefield Place, another Georgian mansion, now a famous hospital. We took in the restored stables block and views of the 1930s sanatorium buildings (south facing in a crescent to maximise sunshine into wards). We then descended via tracks back to the canal and completed the circuit back to Jacks Lock. Walk ended with drinks on the garden terrace of the Old Orchard, very busy on such a sunny afternoon. Panoramic views across the Colne Valley, with Derek pointing out the beginnings of the HS2 viaduct (longest in UK) in the distance. Most then remained for a sumptuous Sunday roast dinner (well done Diane for bookings). On a perfect day out, many lingered for dessert, coffee and many amusing anecdotes at this excellent venue.

Walkers were Brian, Diane, Jan, Kerry, Kevin, Louise, Saurabh, Jeff, Soraya, Liane, Joan, Pinder, Derek, Prem, Runi, Michael, Rachael T, Pauline M and Zoe.

Report by Brian
Ten walkers met me at Baker Street Station and we made our way along the busy Marylebone Road heading towards Paddington. Once we reached Praed Street we found the almost hidden entrance to Merchants Square which is the end of the Paddington Basin part of the Grand Union Canal. This top end is all new buildings and has many cafes and restaurants. We walked along admiring the architecture including the "Brunnel" building. We also admired all the static boats for coffee or food. There is a cheese boat, just cheese! There are also party boats, and kayaks for hire. Someone suggested this could be a social event. We stopped to look at Amphitheatre which is a "work in progress". We continued onto Little Venice which is more picturesque and walked past the coffee boat to the church cafe (just set back off the canal) with a fabulous cafe, and had a nice break.

We made our way onto the more run-down part of the canal which does have some character, and came off at Goldbourne Road to head towards Portobello Road. Having done this walk before and knowing we would get split up in the busy market, I gave out my phone number and we agreed to meet in the Sun in Spendour (pub) in about an hour for well-earned refreshments. This allowed for people to wander through the market and get food and drinks to suit themselves whilst taking in the character and the odd and quaint stalls as well as fruit and veg or street food. Anyway a few of us kept together and later were joined by others in the secret garden in the pub.

All in all a lovely walk with good company. Many thanks to everyone who joined me.

Report by Pauline
We began our walk with a visit to the Royal Exchange, and Fortnum and Mason, before heading to the Bank of England Museum to learn a few things. I had no idea the architect of the BoE was John Soame, the son of a bricklayer who became one of the greatest architects of the 19th century. We learnt how banking came into being. We looked at inflation (very topical at the moment), interest rates and how a lot of the top men in the bank were deeply involved in the slave trade. Post the museum we headed to the Mithraum to view a temple to the Roman god Mithras. The Mithraum is only one of a hundred temples found in the ancient Roman world. Next we were heading onto the National Gallery but thanks to Sally's knowledge of the area, found a few other places to visit instead. We saw the reflection pond that was recently opened, and, as the name suggests, reflects nearby St. Paul's Cathedral, then we were off to the printer's church to see the chapel and the medieval crypts. After a refreshing drink in ye olde Cheshire Cheese pub (which retains all of the furniture from its refurbishment after the great fire of London which destroyed it), we were off to Covent Garden where there were fiddlers and street performers entertaining the crowds. To finish the day we had a quick look in the theatre in Royal Drury Lane that too, has been upgraded and looks beautiful, then headed home.

Thanks to Sally and Jyostna for joining me.

Report by Coogee
5 of us met on a lovely autumnal morning. Hambleden always looks idyllic, but seemed more so that day. This was a new route for myself and the rest of the group. We headed out eastwards behind the Stag and Huntsman pub and climbed a rather steep hill. Following the Shakespeare's Way we dropped down to Heath Wood and followed the path to rolling open countryside with wonderful views. We went through Marlow Common and Bovingdon Green, eventually reaching Marlow for our lunch stop. We found a small park with a childrens' play area, where we made good use of the seats, swings and tables.

We stopped at Starbucks for a quick coffee and then on to the River Thames - the return leg of our walk. This, I think, is a particularly pleasing section of the river, with a number of locks, a large impressive arched bridge near Temple Lock and a number of large sculptures in the grounds of Culham House. We stopped briefly to admire a gathering of bright white animals some way in the distance, a chap with binoculars exclaimed that they were goats! As we approached the gathering it became clear that they were a large heard of fallow deer. On reaching Mill End we crossed the river and made our way back to Hambleden. This was a lovely route and I'm sure I will do this again.

Many thanks to Clare, Kalpna, Sarah and Mark for joining me.

Report by Mike D
Thirty gathered in Llangollen for our early Autumn holiday in Wales with sunshine for all four days. The Llangollen canal system has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status due to its unique historical importance including the spectacular aqueducts designed by Thomas Telford, the first great civil engineer of the 19th century. Diane provided welcome chocolates for all guests at our exclusive independent hostel. Brian led the afternoon walk to the Plas Newydd, a neo Gothic fantasy house, the home of the 'ladies of Llangollen' who had eloped from Regency Ireland. We took in the 13th century St Collens Church and the Llangollen Stone Bridge crossing the Dee since 1345. Then to the heritage railway station, built in 1865 and preserved in Victorian style with original posters. We joined the others for meals at the converted Corn Mill with riverside terrace, white water rafters racing down the rapids below.

On Saturday we welcomed surprise guest Steve R from nearby Shropshire. Our 12-mile walk started from the canal basin in town. We climbed to Dina's Bran Castle, rich in history towering high above Llangollen. Then along the Panorama Walk and Offa's Dyke path with great views over the Dee valley. Lunch stop was at the Telford Arms at Trevor canal basin, busy with barges beginning their voyage into England. Then it was our walk along the spectacular Pontcysyllte aqueduct "the stream in the sky". Completed in 1805 the canal soars above the valley and has been praised as "one of the wonders of the Industrial Revolution". Our walk back was along the Llangollen Canal, busy with barges, canoes and a heron perched above. Just time for Welsh cream teas at the canal tea rooms where we chatted to Dutch veteran cyclists all on Gazelle e-bikes. Sumptuous meals later on at the Hand Hotel, an early Georgian coaching inn. Live music afterwards in the ballroom with Mary joining us for dancing and a smartphone mystery romance.

Sunday saw some go next door to have a feast of a breakfast including Eggs Florentine and Shakshuka. Janet arranged a delightful boat trip along the canal for the ladies who lunch with a crossing (don't look down) of the Poncycsllte Aqueduct. Cakes galore plus Prosecco on the voyage. For the rest our walk went west along the canal to Berwyn. This is another stunning location with the heritage railway station perched on the edge of the gorge, the chain bridge and hotel below on the Dee. The stationmaster welcomed us all into the "Brief Encounter"-style tea rooms for tea and buns. She explained the history of the station (acclaimed as one of the 10 best in England) before waving us away on the train. The railway to Carrog and back was along the Dee, passing churches, farmhouses and lots of anglers wading out mid-stream. Then to the Horseshoe Falls and crossing the famous Chain Bridge, the oldest surviving chain bridge in Britain. Lunch at the Chainbridge Hotel with views across the valley including lots of canoeists hurtling down the rapids. We climbed via meadows to Valle Crucis Abbey, a stunning Cistercian establishment founded in 1200. Diane arranged our evening meal at an unusual curry restaurant. Back at the hostel it was the last night party; Betty the best dance, Soraya victor at Pictionary, Dean and Mark on the piano, with Jeremy and Nick entertaining all with ripping yarns into the small hours.

Monday saw us venture to Chirk town for a walk along the second Telford masterpiece, the Chirk Aqueduct. This is unique in that it runs alongside the railway viaduct built half a century later. We crossed back and forth between England and Wales as the border snaked around Chirk and the Aqueduct. Our walk included a torchlit descent along the canal tunnel which is very rare with its own towpath. Lots of stumbles along there as not everyone had lights, the pitch-black darkness only broken when the barges passed by with their floodlights. Final leg was our visit to Chirk Castle, high above the town with great views across to Shropshire. Our lunch break was in the castle courtyard where we admired the majesty of Mortimer's fortress.

Walkers were Diane, Brian, Rachael, Nick, Soraya, Ashima, Joan, Anne, Runi, Humay, Malcolm, Coogee, Dean, Nick, Mark A, Jeremy, Mark P, Chrissy, Janet, Christine, Zoe, Betty, Marianne, Lisa, Hira, Valji, Michael, Simon, Yolly, Tim, Steve R, Derek and Prem.

Report by Brian
6 cheerful walkers met at Harrow on the Hill Station on a clear and mild evening. We walked past Grove Open Space up the steep incline of Roxborough Park to the viewpoint where Lord Byron is buried, taking in fine views over West London and beyond. We continued to St Mary's Church (built 1042) at the top of the hill and then walked around the main buildings of the historic school, passing boys in their distinct school uniform. After a stroll down Football Lane to the school's extensive playing fields and athletic track, we proceeded to the Castle pub, via an unintentional detour. At the pub we said goodbye to Christopher and welcomed Alex, a new member.

We sat in the rear dining area of the fine wood paneled pub. There was only one other team at the time so we stood a good chance of winning the quiz, however by the time the quiz started there were 6 other teams to compete with. I devised a team name, the GOWAHs (HAWOG spelt backwards) after which we were rearing to get going with the quiz. Who knew that Mr Darcy's first name (from Pride and Prejudice) was Fitzwilliam and that lateral epicondylitis is the medical term for tennis elbow. Much fun and laughter was had and we came 3rd out of 7 teams. Must try harder next time.

Many thanks to Dee, Judy, Sally, Brian C, Christopher and Alex for a great evening.

Report by Harpreet
Five cyclists met on a sunny morning at Princes Risborough. Our ride was on a new route for the group just at the edge of the Chiltern Hills. We joined the excellent Phoenix Trail, a Sustrans track on a former railway, which was busy with cyclists, horse riders and joggers enjoying the good weather. As with all Sustrans routes it is full of sculptures, information boards and has old railway infrastructure left along the route. Reaching the historic market town of Thame, we stopped for lunch in the market square. We then admired the fine Georgian streets before reaching the town museum. Here we visited the two free exhibitions, on Robin Gibb and his manor in town, and on Midsomer Murder locations. We then cycled to the Prebendal House, the vast former monastery which was the home of Robin Gibb and family. The next-door medieval church has the grave of the musician, full of tributes, facing his former home. Our route continued through scenic villages including Sydenham and finally to Chinnor, just time for Lisa to jump on the packed steam train with her folding cycle. The rest took in the views over some rather splendid Victoria Sponge cake at the platform café.

Riders were Brian G, Malcolm, Coogee, Mark P and Lisa.

Report by Brian
Saturday brought a wonderful autumn day with sunshine and squirrels. After the necessary and essential faffing experience, most of us managed to leave the station intact. We visited four studios to explore tricksters, theatre land and the brand new cinema in Ealing. After Joan had shown us her specialty in the tastefully renovated cinema aka lap dancing club, we gave charitably to the local cafes. Afternoon brought a different vibe as we moved from communal spaces to looking at art displayed in homes. Creation does not exist in a vacuum, and knowing the artist allows us more depth of understanding of their intent and purpose. And so with no qualms whatsoever we plumbed their gardens, kitchens, hallways and on one occasion almost the bedroom (Simon) without any shame.

Many thanks to Simon, Jim, Linzi, Remi, Louise, Kevin J, Laura, Joan, Pete, Prem, Kevin M, Soraya, Julia and Brian for a wonderful day of musing and gasping.

Report by Jan
For our first walk of the new Carolean era, 15 keen walkers met by 'The Cafe in the Park' at Rickmansworth Aquadrome for an 8 mile circular walk around south-west Hertfordshire and rural Harefield. Setting off at 10:50am in fine weather along the Colne Valley Trail, we joined the Grand Union Canal and followed the towpath for about one mile to Springwell Lock, passing Stockers Farm, where the classic TV series 'Adventures of Black Beauty' was filmed during the 1970s. Here we crossed the canal to join a lane and climb a short distance to where the trail turns into a track that runs high above and parallel to the waterway, passing the large and imposing Maple Lodge Sewage Works on the opposite side of the valley. We then made a steep descent back down to the canal again at the pleasing Royal Quay canalside housing development before turning left to meet the Hillingdon Trail. Negotiating a lengthy incline, the trail at this point goes through Park Wood and runs perfectly straight for about half a mile before reaching Hill End. Just before midday we stopped at the delightful 5-star Mitchell's Village Kitchen for a welcome break. Set in a truly tranquil garden setting, this place offers generous amounts of tea, coffee, homemade cakes, cream teas and locally made ice cream at very reasonable prices, served by friendly and helpful staff. We stayed there for nearly 45 minutes and found it very difficult to get up from our chairs to continue our journey.

After the break, we crossed open rolling farmland of cow pastures and fields of scorched maize before reaching the police horse training centre and Rose and Crown pub in Harefield Road, where we sneaked in for a brief comfort stop. At this point, we joined the London Loop to continue our walk through more pastures and enter the ancient and well maintained Bishop's Wood Country Park. Arriving at Batchworth Heath, we took our lunch break sitting by an almost dried-up pond opposite the well-known 'Ye Olde Greene Manne' pub. With our lunch break over, Michael and Kevin donned hi-viz jackets, as front and back-markers for the last part of our walk across the adjoining Rickmansworth and famous Moor Park Golf Courses. With strict safety instructions given, we entered the golf course to pick up the public footpath that meanders across the courses for almost one and a half miles. Clearly defined by white marker posts and passing the magnificent 18th century Moor Park House on the way, we followed the path to Batchworth Lock, where most of the party stopped off for a well-earned drink at the White Bear pub, whilst others returned along the canal to the start point.

This lovely walk proved a great success and from comments received was thoroughly enjoyed by all those who took part, namely Michael, Runi, Kevin M, Louise, Mark A, Dhara, Debbie, Fred, Linzi, Rachel, Kumar, Ashima, Laura, Tim P and Soraya. Hopefully it will be repeated during in the springtime next year, when Michell's Kitchen re-opens for the summer season.

Report by Michael
A record 18 walkers met on a bright Saturday morning for the annual Open House London walk. Open House London is the annual festival of heritage and architecture where many private buildings open their doors to the public. After coffee at Pauls café, we entered the Temple Bar. This is the only remaining tower gateway to the city, relocated there since 2004. We accessed the interior, with an exhibition on its history. On route to the next venue, we happened upon a sign outside St Vedast church "Tea and cakes inside". Jolly good idea, said all, so we took over the nave for some rather spiffing Victoria Sponge and Upside-Down cake. Next venue was Coopers Hall, a 17th century mansion house now the home of the medieval company of Coopers. The mascot "Ajax" arrived to parade outside. Then to St Botolph's at Aldgate, a Georgian church with original bells from nearby Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The bell ringers were performing, and we climbed to the belfry for a superb display, each sequence different to create the variety of chimes. The leader showed the mufflers to be attached to the bells for next week's state funeral. Our lunch was in the church courtyard, lashings of tea and cake given out by the verger.

Next venue was Princelet Street, an 18th century Spitalfields speculative dwelling, home for Huguenot refugees. Nearly lost Derek and Jeff here, rediscovered the duo in the cellar. We continued through the Georgian terraces of Spitalfields into Whitechapel. A stop at the famous Bell Foundry (1540-2017) and Tower House, once the "largest doss house in London". We turned the corner and came upon the amazing "Neuron Pod", a unique free-standing structure designed by Will Alsop at Whitechapel campus. The academic volunteers led us inside the pod itself for group discussions on diverse topics. Route continued past the site of "Sidney Street Siege" and questions from Simon on the fate of "Peter the Painter". Last venue was Living Object Studio, a Georgian house in Limehouse, now family home and art gallery. New chap Michael, expert on London, led us to the Blind Beggar for post-walk drinks. An enthusiastic barmaid joined Nick to recreate the infamous slaying.

Walkers were Brian, Nick, Mark A, Humay, Jeff, Soraya, Janet, Derek, Prem, Pauline, Chantelle, Coogee, Simon, Michael, Mansoor, Jeremy and Sonia.

Report by Brian
On Sunday Heather welcomed 7 eager current and future walk leaders to our latest training event. Heather arranged a one-day workshop covering basic navigation techniques including: an introduction to maps, orientation of the map, determining the direction of travel, distance, and timings, identifying map features, basic compass use and route planning. Hopefully all participants will soon be adding their walk for the group.

Report by Martina
Six walkers met for the history trail around Windsor and Eton. The town was very busy with tourists on a fine sunny afternoon. The leader had earlier taken part in the "Public Eye" tour and was toting the Franks fan club badge for identification. We explored both the railway stations (rival companies set up each one). At the GWR station we found the hidden Queen Victoria waiting lounge as featured in Mr Dunn's railway programme. We explored the old market square now busy with pavement cafes and restaurants. We strolled past the Castle and crossed the footbridge into Eton. The twin town was considerably quieter, and we took in the various Georgian coaching inns and churches. At the Public School we chatted to the porter who indicated the various original 15th century buildings. Kerry and Nick led us to a reasonably priced riverside hostelry where we had tiffin and watched the boats slowly glide by.

Walkers were Brian, Kerry, Zoe, Nick, Derek and Prem.

Report by Brian
On another busy Saturday for the group, six walkers arrived at Cassiobury Park ready for the 6 mile annual memory walk organised by the Alzheimer's Society. There was music, a carnival atmosphere and even a Zumba session which we tried before we started. The walk was at a gentle pace, with a lot of encouragement from those along the route, unaware we are seasoned walkers! Many people were walking for friends and family who had been affected by dementia in various ways. People chatted as they walked through the beautiful Whippendell Woods and the park, passing various ponds and waterways. We paused at the bridge and watched people navigating the lock for their narrowboat. We finished the race and Brian was delighted with his Bourbon biscuit but accepted his medal politely! Soraya met a fellow Soraya and Derek arrived fashionably late. We took the Met line to view the vintage 1938 rolling stock roll through and join the festival set at Croxley Green. Thank you everyone for all the good wishes and donations to the appeal.

Walkers were Soraya, Mark P, Lisa, Prem, Brian and Judith.

Report by Soraya
Our latest Surrey Hills walk took place on another lovely sunny day of this heatwave summer. We first explored the heritage of Godalming including the pepper pot town hall, medieval church and the Titanic memorial (long story). We then headed through tracks bordered with very unusual ferns and riverside paths. From the clearing, great views of the Surrey Hills and the Hogs Back in the distance. At Compton we stopped at the Saxon-era church and the parade of picturesque cottages. Next was the unique Watts Chapel built by local artisans and designed by Mary Watts. Tuscan-style cloisters with the chapel a vibrant Byzantine style display of terracotta. The interior a very elaborate celtic / medieval design.

Our lunch break was at the delightful tea rooms at Watts Gallery. We took in the various buildings of this restored arts centre, busy with visitors and walkers stopping. We then headed east along the Pilgrims Way (also North Downs Way). The first section was of sandy terrain, the footprints and horse hoof imprinted along the way. Lots of blackberries and elderberries were picked and scoffed from the hedges on the way. Soon we were in Guildford where we stopped for cooling drinks at an old coaching inn by the former ferry crossing.

Walkers were Brian and Bob B.

Report by Brian
18, which became 16, walkers joined me in Sarratt for this walk in perfect weather. We set off towards Chenies, admiring the pretty village houses. There was a lot of green, but also brown where the wheat has been harvested. After three lovely beech woods, interspersed with views over the valley and hills, we made our way past Latimer House, now a hotel. Picnic lunch was in its grounds under a large tree and where we could admire the views. Some got coffee or beer from the bar.

Post lunch, we looked at the hotel and its bee houses. The lost spectacles, happily, were recovered. Then on to picture postcard Latimer village for more photos. We were in luck with the open ice cream stall and stopped for the delicious offering. Then on to the final climb back to the Cock Inn, for drinks and food, with some opting for an extra, final hill. An enjoyable scenic 9 miles done in excellent weather and fab company.

Thanks to all who joined me. Hope to see you again.

Report by Rajinder
Friday saw 40 people congregated in Newcastle via plane, train and automobile. We then headed into Haltwhistle where a lovely man did lots of trips in his eight-seater taxi to get us to the Sill. Then our first little taster of Hadrian's Wall began, when Malcolm took us up a steep incline to reach the Tower Peel viewpoint, then going over the wall with a lovely 5 mile circular walk taking in the amazing views. We stopped at the Twice Brewed pub where light refreshments were devoured. Some ate at the pub and some created a feast at the hostel.

Saturday saw us up early and eager to get our adventure underway. Once we got our correct boots and bras on we split into four groups to make it easier for walking and stopping for refreshments. Malcolm's group led the way with Jan's, Aruna's and Brian's groups following on, leaving just enough gap between each group. Our route saw us walk up to Peel Cottage then right along the wall to mile castle 39 and the sycamore tree; with the sun beaming down on us a great place to stop for a water break, with amazing views over Crag Loch. Very green compared to southern parts of the country. We then carried on along the Roman military way with some turning into song "with a back pack on my back". With song and laughter we reached Housestead's Roman Fort Vercovicium, taking us back to the Roman times. This was our lunch stop, taking in the views, with some opting to view the barracks and hospitals of Roman times. Our next stop was at Vindolanda with an re-enactment taking place of how the Roman Army became so strong. Vindolanda was first built by the Roman Army. Before Hadrian's Wall this was an important construction and garrison base for the wall. After some refreshments we completed our walk, clocking up just over 10 miles. In the evening we had our reservation at the Twice Brewed, highly recommended with lovely food and attentive staff. All full we headed back to continue our tales of the day's events.

Sunday saw us up early for another adventure, whilst ten people decided to have a more relaxing day visiting Vindolanda and Haltwhistle. So the rest of us decided to walk the wall together in the other direction with Malcolm leading the way. Some amazing views and so different from the wall the previous day, this walk took us along to Cawfields Quarry. The second legion built this to protect the weak spot of hole gap, where it hangs on to the edge of Sheer Crags. This is where Brian led another walk to the Roman Army Museum with four keen walkers taking this route. Coogee, Nishit, Joan, Runi and Hira carried on towards Haltwhistle, following the maps Malcolm had provided, with guidance from Malcolm along the way. This was a lovely walk following the stream into a forest-like surrounding; very Jurassic and not what you would expect on Hadrian's Wall, beautiful. Lunch stop was at the Railway pub in Haltwhistle then our journey back to the Sill clocking up just over 11 miles. The evening saw us visit the Twice Brewed pub with our area set out for us to enjoy a scrumptious meal. We then headed back to the Sill for some last minute refreshments and some stargazing.

Monday saw some head off in different directions, with Brian leading the rest of the 22 on a tour around Newcastle and the bridges, still clocking up five miles. So a lovely glass of vino before we bid our farewells to Dean, Sarah, Runi, Ashima, Anne, Aruna, Nishit, Saurabh, Michael, Soraya, Catherine, Imelda, Ann-Maria, Christine, Janet, Chrissy, Dee, Coogee, Elizabeth, Jane, Hira, Valji, Rita, Sandra, Rob, Maria, Chris, Mark, Louise, Kevin, Jan, Brian, Dean, Joan, Judith, Nandu, Ramji and Dee.

Thank you to all the walk leaders that helped with this trip, and to all attending making it a very enjoyable weekend away.

Report by Diane and Malcolm
Ten walkers met on a perfect summer evening at Northwood for the Woods and Views walk. New recruit Gary had just found our details that afternoon and was so impressed that he came along and paid to join the walk. We entered the Northwood Hills meadows where a cricket match was in progress. We soon reached Haste Hill summit for inspiring views west over the woods and golf course. We then navigated our way through Ruislip Woods (too many paths) and following the railway found ourselves at the Lido beach and surprise guest. We took in the views across the Lido, full of families and groups on such a warm evening. Then back through the woods, following the bridleway to Fore Street. Here Kerry guided us to the Eastcote cricket fields and onto the Case. The beer garden was very popular, so we grabbed a table for cold drinks and several tall tales from Con.

Walkers were Brian, Kerry, Kevin, Louise, Dee, Judy, Anne, Con, Gary and Marianne.

Report by Brian
Whilst there were only 5 walkers on this Sunday stroll we were really happy to have such a beautiful sunny afternoon for our walk. We started at Green Park and made our way to Buckingham Palace. The flag was up so we think the Queen was in. We walked across The Mall into St James's Park and were treated to the sight of several different bird species including pelicans. We continued through the park and walked through the famous arch in Horse Guards and onto Whitehall. We continued onto Westminster and crossed the bridge onto the south bank. There were loads of families and tourists about and it was very busy but we weaved around and continued right along the south bank enjoying all the famous sights and street performers. We reached the scoop and three of us went to M&S for food and drink before joining the others for the wonderful latin / jazz band and dancing. We had already clocked up over 5 miles and decided to go to the Horniman's pub rather than walk back along the other side of the river.

Many thanks to my fellow walkers, we really were the famous five.

Report by Pauline
4 of us met early on a Saturday morning at Watford Station for this year's Marathon Walk. We headed off at 8:25am, walking down through Cassiobury Park and then south along the Grand Union Canal, along the edge of Croxley and Rickmansworth before turning off the canal shortly before Maple Cross. We then headed west towards Chalfont St Giles, where we stopped for a mid-morning break. We headed further west to Coleshill and then north to Amersham Old Town. At this point we decided that it would be better to continue uphill before stopping for lunch, so we carried on, reaching Chesham Bois Common for our lunch stop after around 15.5 miles.

After lunch we continued down through Chesham Bois, reaching and then crossing the river Chess. We then followed the Chess Valley Walk southeast to Latimer and then Chesham Bottom, from where we headed up and out of the valley to our mid-afternoon pub stop at Church End. Suitably refreshed we continued east to Chandlers Cross, and then though Harrocks and Whippendell Woods, finally crossing the Grand Union Canal back into Cassiobury Park, from where we walked back uphill to Watford Station, which we reached just after 5:30pm, having walked 26.8 miles.

Well done to Amanda, Karen and Saurabh for completing the full distance with me.

Report by Phil
The last camping trip for 2022 was a great success. 26 campers (plus 4 more on Sunday) joined in to spend a sunny weekend in Epping Forest.

Friday was the start of an exciting weekend. After setting up camp, we went for walk to Loughton. At the Plume of Feathers the tables were all booked and we had food and plenty of drinks. Then back to camp to set up a fire pit and chilled under the stars.

Saturday started with sizzling breakfasts being cooked. Fully charged we set off on our walk through the forest, dating back to the 1600's, looking and admiring this enchanting woodland, with oldest of the beech trees known, stopping to look around Ambresbury Banks, reading about the legendary connection with Boudica, carrying on towards the Bell Common which has the M25 tunnel directly underneath. Here we had a short break before heading to our first pub stop at the Forest Gate Inn, where some tucked into hot food and plenty of drinks. Speciality coffee was enjoyed from Perky Blenders. We headed back through golden fields, where, from the high point, parts of Canary Wharf could be seen. Reaching Theydon Bois, some walkers stopped for drinks at the Bull and some carried on back to the camp via the forest, passing Birch Hall, home of a millionaire and the deer sanctuary, where on this occasion herds of deer were seen. Back at the campsite, a barbecue and pit fires were set up. Various foods were being cooked, even fresh sweetcorn. Some had decided to go for fish and chips. Sitting around the fire, songs were sung and strictly come dancing moves were performed. The singing and chatting went on till late.

Sunny Sunday started well. After breakfast people started de-camping. The Ongar to Epping train ride was thoroughly enjoyed by all. A few more members had come to join the campers for this amazing trip through bygone days and very picturesque scenery. Food and drink were enjoyed by all.

Thank you to all who attended and made a great weekend: Mark, Naz, Joan, Laura, Sally, Zoe, Coogee, Nick, Rachel, Malcolm, Zak, Lou, Kevin, Anneka, Zoe, Sally, Michael, Prem, Derek, Martina, Daniel, Soraya, Tony, Dee, Nishit, Runi, Brian, Kerry, Mark (x2) and Jeremy.

Report by Runi and Martina
Eight cyclists alighted at Shoreham Station for our fifth adventure to the coast this summer. It was scorchio again, the trains busy with day trippers to the resorts. Our route took in the new town and medieval church. We then crossed the river Adur to arrive at the stunning Shoreham Aerodrome. Built in 1936 it is a perfectly preserved art deco terminal, used in many films and series such as Poirot and The Crown. Tim P said, "shall we stop"? "rather" said all. We grabbed outside tables by the airfield, light aircraft and helicopters taking off directly in front. Inspired by the views, Mark P ordered jam doughnuts for all, just the ticket. Soon it was chocks away and we cycled along the river Adur to join the Downs Link. This is a superb route on a former railway path through lovely countryside of Sussex and Surrey. Passing the neo Gothic wonder of Lancing College we continued on the trail, clouds of dust in the distance as the surface had been baked hard by the summer heat. Our variety of steeds included Lisa on a vintage 1972 Folda original. At Bramber we climbed up to the 11th century castle site next to another Norman church on the hillside. We had our picnic there in the shade, taking in the views of the fortress.

Our route contained in the fierce afternoon heat, lots of swimmers in the river below. The Downs Link has a few structures remaining from the railway age and we came upon the Cat and Canary, a restored former railway hotel. Perfect for cooling drinks in the garden, with live music from a local musician. Onwards we cycled, lots of cattle lazing in the meadows, an old platform remaining at West Grinstead. The ride finished at Christ Hospital for trains back after another excellent ride from the coast.

Cyclists were Brian, Kerry, Tim P, Dean, Coogee, Mark P, Lisa and Saurabh.

Report by Brian
6 of us met at Rickmansworth Aquadrome to try out our bikes and get a little bit more confidence in getting back on a bike. Malcolm as always was number one ready and raring to go. We soon met up with Sauradh as Daniel and I got our bikes out of our car, making sure our tyres were pumped up and ready to go. Unfortunately we were slightly delayed as Prem had shown Derek the wrong entrance. We headed off out of the aquadrome to Batch Lock Canal where we then joined the Ebury Way. We were soon cycling merrily on, learning to go over rocks and hollows and how to use our brakes correctly. We got to the halfway mark in no time and Malcolm then asked if we wanted to extend our cycle journey. We agreed as we all know Malcolm is trustworthy. He said he felt that our skills were progressing really well. We followed Malcolm down the path we had just come up and then Malcolm took us off to the right and suddenly you're all cycling on the road following Malcolm around roundabouts and dual carriageways! Daniel said that it was exhilarating. He loved being on the road.

After this we all turned in to Cassiobury Park. We all headed down through the beautiful park past the railway station and the miniature train and then along the canal all the way back to Batch Lock cafe. The second part of our cycle was harder than the first as it involved lots of manoeuvering on the canal path which was quite narrow in places and we met lots of other cyclists and pedestrians coming the other way. But it was a brilliant day; thumbs up to Malcolm. We then ended up in the cafe where we all had refreshing drinks and ice cream.

Thank you to Malcolm, Subraya, Prem and Derek for joining me and Daniel on this fantastic cycle.

Report by Martina
On another heatwave weekend of this fabulous summer five walkers alighted at the new Crossrail station at Woolwich. We explored the Royal Arsenal quarter, formerly the largest munitions factory in the world. The converted workshops and barracks are now a variety of apartments, pubs, cafes and galleries. We took the river boat through the Thames Barrier to Silvertown. We stopped for cold drinks at the Royal Victoria Docks before climbing to the top of the Transporter Footbridge. We were graced with soaring views over the entire Docklands, the airport and vast derelict Millennium Mills to the east; to the west the water skiers and sunbathers around the docks with the towering skyscrapers of City Island and Isle of Dogs.

Amidst the towers, a hotel-style ocean liner was navigating its way along the Thames. Soraya inveigled herself onto the luxury Sunborn yacht hotel. We followed her on a guided tour of the banqueting suites. Next was a ride on a DLR, where we bagged the front seat for a roller coaster journey to Limehouse and a return to the delightful Yurt Café for cake, coffee and elucidation from Jeremy. Last section was a walk through the Wapping docklands and final drinks at Captain Kidd's, by Execution Dock, on the riverside terrace in the afternoon sun, watching the ships slowly glide by.

Walkers were Brian, Jeremy, Soraya, Maria and Burgunde.

Report by Brian
This Surrey Hills walk was on another scorchio day with perfect blue skies all day. Passing very impressive villas in Reigate we reached Reigate Heath with its immaculate golf course. We followed sandy tracks through the ferns and gorse to find the unique windmill with church inside. We took in the views from the clubhouse, lots of golfers having cooling drinks on the terrace. We then followed the Greensand Way north with a tough climb up to the North Downs. At Colley Hill we had our picnic with panoramic views, the South Downs easily identifiable on such a clear day.

Our route then took in Walton Heath, the coal tax stone pillars accompanying us on the bridleway the whole journey. At Walton on the Hill village we stopped for tiffin at the tea shop (rather spiffing lemon drizzle cake) by the village pond. We then continued north on bridleways to climb to Epsom Downs. More great views as we walked across the famous racecourse, Wembley Arch easily seen. On such a hot day we were glad to find ice cream vans at the racecourse to finish this rarely done walk.

Walkers were Brian and Mark P.

Report by Brian
On a very hot summer Sunday, nine eager walkers met at Theydon Bois Station. We started off, admiring the area, which had a lot of character and some listed buildings. After a short walk we arrived at a lovely cafe for a cake and coffee stop. We then carried on towards the forest. Once inside this amazing wood, the group admired its larger than life trees and took plenty of photos. We continued on, feeling the energy of these enchanting woods, through dense thickets. Here I decided to do bit of a detour to check the campsite for our camping trip in a couple of weeks. Everyone admired the site and of course took the opportunity to use their very clean facilities. Passing Birch Hall, the home of multi-millionaire David Sullivan, the owner of West Ham, we continued on, stopping to look at a vast deer park, picking berries to top up our vitamins, and there were plenty.

Looping through the forest and taking in the scenery we finally exited the forest at a lovely spot by Dell Common for our picnic by Epping Cricket Club, situated above the Bell Common Tunnel on the M25. This was followed by a pitstop at the well-known Forest Gate pub and of course Perky Blenders. Well-earned drinks, coffee and ice cream were enjoyed by all. Recharged, we set off on our journey through the golden fields as far as you could see, heading towards the 'Bridge over the M25' from where we could see the entrance to the tunnel we had earlier walked over. Heading back through more golden fields and hidden paths. The group decided to do bit of scrumping and picked lovely juicy plums. Brian even found an old bucket for Naz to stand on. Bellies full, we carried on to our last stop for well-deserved cool drinks at the Bull pub, where Brian enjoyed his cake and tea again. Plenty of drinks and food were enjoyed by all.

A big thankyou to Brian, Kerry, Pushpa, Naz, Michael, Soraya, Luna, Harpreet, Ashima and Runi.

Report by Runi
7 of us met at Berkhamsted Station on a warm and sunny Sunday morning. We set off at around 9:40am, heading northwest along the Grand Union Canal to Northchurch, from where headed northeast onto Northchurch Common and then Berkhamsted Common. We stopped under the shade of a large tree in front of Ashridge College for a mid-morning break. I had intended to stop somewhere with a view of the Bridgewater Monument but somehow I managed to miss it, so I was glad that the others hadn't. We continued northeast through Little Gaddesden, and then along the Chiltern Way to Studham, where we stopped for lunch on the edge of the common.

After lunch we headed east across the common and then south to Clement's End and later Great Gaddesden. We then headed southwest to Potten End where we stopped for well-deserved mid-afternoon refreshments at the Martins' Pond pub. We then headed across another common before picking up the Hertfordshire Way to take us back to Berkhamsted Station, which we reached at 4:00pm having walked just under 17 miles.

Thanks to Amanda, Indira, Karen, Malcolm, Narshi and Saurabh for joining me.

Report by Phil
Fifteen walkers alighted at Bosham Station on another scorchio day of this heatwave summer. This walk is the fourth of our coastal walks for the summer and is a new route for the group. We arrived at the Roman town of Bosham where we grabbed ice creams from the market café. We then explored the historic town; the impressive church has a Saxon tower and was featured in the Bayeux Tapestry. We stopped at the quay for views across the channel and for the dogs to have a swim. The harbour was at low tide so can be walked across the causeway. We then walked along the coastal path, passing several impressive manors with south facing sun balconies. We then jumped on the ferry taking us across to Itchenor, passing some luxury yachts and launches. The sun was blisteringly fierce, so we stopped in the shaded gardens of the Ship Inn for lunch and lots of tall tales from Con, Mark and Coogee.

We then headed south along the coast of the Selsey Peninsula, passing many yachts sailing from Bosham to the sea beyond. Along the way we were buzzed by a spitfire and a bi-plane circling overhead. We reached Wittering Beach, its expanse of golden sand full of sun bathers and swimmers on such a perfect summers day. Prompted by Mike and Soraya we paddled in the warm waters and took in the views across to the Isle of Wight. Just in the nick we arrived at the village for the double decker to Chichester. Chichester is another historic city, and we explored the gardens of the Bishops Palace and the Cathedral. After walking along the medieval walls, we finished with well-earned cold drinks at the Duke and Rye, built within a neo-Gothic church.

Walkers were Brian, Kerry, Con, Soraya, Jeff, Coogee, Mark P, Lisa, Cathy C, Imelda, Elaine, Jane, Amanda and Anna.

Report by Brian
5 campers were met by 7 walkers at the Chocolate Cafe in Henley on Thames by the river on a scorching day. We passed through the town towards the Oxfordshire Way but stopped briefly at the roadside to pay homage to "Jimmy" the tiny marmoset whose plaque sits under a tree. We now had a steep climb to No Mans Hill. Plenty of rehydration was needed. Once past the open fields with panoramic views it was decided to take the quiet hedge-lined roads to Fawley to take advantage of the shade. At the church there were two rather large and unusual mausoleums. We carried on to the top of the Great Wood with a long downhill stretch ahead. The Great Wood is one of Britain's most ancient woods and has a superb range of trees and ferns. The next viewpoint was overlooking the showground where the retro concert had been cancelled. Walking down we came across the abandoned stage. Crossing the road to a short uphill stretch to our lunch stop, the village of Hambleden, one of the most picturesque villages in England and no surprise there was a wedding at the church. Unfortunately this meant the only pub was booked out so we went to the village shop that served almost anything, with benches outside for us to sit.

After lunch we walked down some sheep fields completely turned brown and looking like a different country. Once we reached the river the greenery returned and we crossed to the other side via the weir and had a pleasant final stretch along the river, passing the temple and the dismantling of the Henley Regatta marquees. Once at the bridge we headed for the Wetherspoon pub with probably the best pub garden in Henley.

Many thanks to those who joined me on the walk: Diane, Dee, Dawn, Joan, Karen, Laura, Sally, Prem, Mark and Aruna.

Report by Nick
Three cyclists alighted at Thatcham Station for the Kennett and Avon Cycle Ride. Our 25 mile route followed the canal to the Thames at Reading, then onto Sonning and Twyford via Thames Path. It was another sweltering day of this great summer as we headed west, the GWR railway following alongside for several miles. We nodded to the boat crews as we passed; the canal is certainly busier than the Basingstoke canal on the last ride. A feature is the swing bridges and we stopped to see one in operation. Our lunch was at the Aldermaston canal café, busy with walkers and boaters.

The next section has several pill boxes and turf locks. The picture postcard "Cunning Man Inn" has a thatched roof and vast garden by the canal so we stopped for cold drinks in the afternoon sun. Through Reading the scenery abruptly changes from meadows and cattle to noisy bars and canalside cafes. Onto the Thames where the riverside was busy with picnickers, canoeists and several luxury launches. Our final stop was the very chic Boat House by Sonning Bridge where we joined the locals for drinks by the Thames after another leisurely cycle ride, nearly all traffic-free.

Cyclists were Brian, Kerry and Malcolm.

Report by Brian
Hira and Rita waited early at Canons Park Station in slight trepidation and wondering who would turn up as we were going to lead our very first walk for HAWOG. We needn't have worried as 22 lovely walkers joined us making us the perfect 2 dozen. A lovely July morning, not too hot or cold and perfect for our trek through the stunning local green spaces with its ponds, gardens and woods. We headed off towards Canons Park, a 5 minute stroll away where we had a welcome chat with everyone including some new joiners to the group. We proceeded through the park visiting the beautiful King George V Memorial walled garden and pond listed as Grade II on the Register of Parks and Gardens. After looking around and some walkers had chatted with the volunteer gardeners we proceeded to the end of the park. We exited to the road and immediately crossed into the narrow strip of greenery that took us to Marsh Lane and our short walk in to Stanmore town immediately heading for Stanmore Country Park. It was great to be in the woods with the cool temperature and enchanting trees. A few brambles didn't put us off track but next time we might bring our mini shears! We walked around the different ponds, in and out of the trees and narrow paths enjoying the tranquility and each other's company. We eventually made our way from Stanmore Country Park to Bentley Priory Nature Reserve. We were ready for our packed lunches by then and a chilled break to relax.

We had a slight detour when we noticed the herd of pale dairy cows grazing exactly on our planned route. Good for them. Bentley Priory has a number of ancient woods. Growing here are hornbeam, midland and common hawthorn, birch, cedars, yew, and odd patches of laurel, and rhododendron. We were all so appreciative to see close up the amazing master oak tree, the oldest tree in Middlesex. Many photos were taken there. The tree is near a beautiful large pond. We headed through bramble and woodland until we got to the lane leading down to the deer park. A pleasure to be able to feed them with fresh carrots brought especially for them. Eventually we dragged ourselves away from the deer for the final stint of our trek towards Stanmore High Street. We veered off to look at the beautiful old St John the Evangelist Church and nearby ruins. The name has been held by two churches: a red-brick church dating to 1632, now abandoned and in ruins, and its replacement, a stone church dating to 1850, which remains in use. Both buildings are separately Grade II listed. Next we visited another amazing walled garden, Bernays Gardens very near the High Street shops. Here we said our farewells and went our separate ways, a lot of us wanting to get home before 5pm to watch the fab Lionesses play in the Euros final. Congratulations Ladies.

Thank you so much to everyone who came to walk with us, including David, Lesley, Naz, Sanjeev, Maya, Tina, Aruna, Simona, Nile, Valji, Pushpa, Sebastian, Vasu, Marianne, Dhara, Azadeh, Hina, Nandu, Ramji, Girija, Teresa, Dee, Rita and Hira.

Report by Rita
On a very warm morning we met at Denham Station. The conversation was quickly geared around fast trains / cancellations. As people started to arrive, introductions and chit-chat started. We set off on our walk. Everyone was excited and questions were asked about the walk. We passed through quiet roads, admiring the well-kept gardens with different colourful plants. We walked towards the Denham Aerodrome, where we stopped to see the small planes queueing for take off, cameras clicking away. I explained that this is the spot for perfect sunset views across the vast sky. We geared off towards Northmoor Hill Woods. Amazing woodland with abundance of trees, plants, insects and birds. The woodland was amazing to walk through. Up and down, the effects of flint quarrying provided a great opportunity to explore and navigate our way through, heading towards private paths with amazing, interesting houses with tropical garden settings. Walking towards the Misbourne valley via vast fields and narrow paths, seeing the signage for the M25 / M40 in the distance through trees. We 'walked over water', well, shimmed across the gate as the river had overflowed. Stopping for a well-earned picnic in Cap Woods, surrounded by nature and the walkers scattered around on a golden carpet of dry leaves.

Well fed and rested we set off on our last leg through woodland and fields towards historic oldie-worldy Denham Station by Denham Golf Club. Some went to check out the platform, which reminded us of bygone days. Finally made our way to picturesque Denham village, for well-deserved cold and hot drinks. We gathered around the big tables in the garden area and enjoyed drinks and some had meals. Everyone said they enjoyed the walk and the scenery.

A big thank you to Alan S (new member), Joan, Angela, Michael L, Esther, Kevin, Kumar, Ian, Pat, Asha, Rupa, Runi, Prem, Derek and Laura.

Report by Runi
On another perfect summer's day by the Thames, five of us met by the Tower of London for our historical walk. The riverside was packed with tourists on such a sunny day. We noticed lots of new outside eateries. After crossing under Tower Bridge we explored St Katherines Dock. This was the first of the London Docks to close, in 1968, due to containerisation of trade. Mark pointed out the type of yacht he had hired for his birthday voyage. We continued through Wapping, with many fine Georgian buildings and converted wharves. We stopped for coffee and cakes at the unusual Turks Head, a former dockers pub now café with garden.

We stole into Tobacco Docks and looked for where Harold Shand (Long Good Friday) made his speech in 1979 about the Olympics coming to Docklands. Then north to the first Hawksmoor church, "St Georges in the East". This is a church within a church as the interior was razed in the Blitz and rebuilt in the 50s. Exteriors also featured in LGF where Harold's Rolls blows up. We admired the Cable Street mural and then picked mulberries from a 100-year-old mulberry tree in the St Georges Garden. Back to the riverside and Shadwell before Limehouse and late lunch at the amazing Yurt Café. Part of St Katharine's Foundation (founded in 12th century) the café is alongside the DLR viaduct and has several Mongolian style yurts extended with canopies over outside tables. We had a very healthy vegetarian lunch there with London Pale Ale.

Onto Limehouse and more luxury yachts, then St Annes, the second Hawksmoor church, its baroque tower dominating the area. Walk finished in the roof gardens of Canary Wharf Crossrail Station, its rooftop café with fine views across all the Docklands.

Walkers were Brian, Mark P, Lisa, Simon and Yolli.

Report by Brian
A record 16 walkers met at Northolt village green for the latest evening walk. It was another lovely summer evening so lots of other walkers around the parks. We climbed to the 14th century parish church and then explored the site of the original manor house. Next onto Belvue Park, where major preparations are in progress for some mystery festival (huge marquees being erected) arranged by next door mosque. Onto the Grand Union Canal (Paddington branch) which we followed to Marham Fields. Here Joan directed us via footpaths to the "Stone Circle" hidden in the woodlands. We then crossed back to enter Northala Playing Fields, full of strollers on such a warm evening. We climbed to the summit of the highest mound (beacon installed for the Jubilee) for panoramic views as far as Canary Wharf and the North Downs in the distance. Walk ended at the Crown in Northolt village with its tropical island themed smoking shelter.

Walkers were Brian, Rob W, Kerry, Kevin, Louise, Soraya, Mike Mc, Dean T, Sarah, Derek, Prem, Runi, Judy, Sandy, Joan and Laura.

Report by Brian
7 of us met at Harrow on the Hill Station on a lovely warm day. I explained the format of the walk, which was to be a gentle ramble with various stopping-off points where I would give my artistic point of view with pointers of how we might proceed when it came to do a drawing. Exiting the station we took the path that led to a familiar landmark for group members, the Our Lady of St Thomas Church. Instead of heading straight up the hill we took a path to the right of the aforementioned church. This brought us out to our first viewpoint. I asked the students to look through their cameras and use their viewfinders to aid their possible compositions. We then took a central path gently ascending the hill going in a direction of West / South Harrow. We reached the end and made a left turn heading up the hill. The conversation moved in a left field direction as Sarah talked about how her parents took a house 2 up 2 down on the hill and when they could they got away to find a better existence in a house with a garden in Wealdstone! How things have changed! She also pointed out a striking building which was a workhouse, this brought the conversation back to drawing houses in a landscape context. Marion said that it reminded her of her workplace / workstations that were not dissimilar to my description of compositional angles. We carried on veering between Byron Hill Road and Middle Road before reaching the pinnacle at St Mary's. At this juncture I gave the group one and a half hours to do a drawing and have lunch. I left the group to discover their drawing places whilst I ate.

When I'd finished I went to give the group the benefit of my wisdom. 4 of the group choose the original viewpoint from the bottom of the hill. Vic seemed to think I was in life drawing mode and chose to draw Marion! Everybody had a go which was heartening, although it might have been better if I had assisted at an early stage, as starting off seemed to be the most problematical. Something for me to consider for next time. After a short general critique I extended the walk through the church and then down Cricket Hill to the tennis courts. We returned to the top as it was tea time. We chose the art tea shop Battles, as Jockey would be able to sit outside. Catherine had a good idea and summoned Judith to join us. It wasn't necessary to head back to the starting point as we could disperse more or less from this point.

Thanks to Marianne, Marion, Vic, Catherine, Sarah, Kerry, and a belated Judith.

Report by Humay
A large group had already arrived at the start point fifteen minutes before 10:00am so we were expecting a very enthusiastic group, which they were. Crossing the road outside Croxley station took us through fields with a path and bridge across the Grand Union Canal. We then joined the Ebury Way where we walked along this path which used to be the railway track where barges would unload after travelling from the Midlands with their cargo. Because we were slightly delayed we only just made it to the boat in time where the skipper was anxiously awaiting our arrival, thinking perhaps that the passengers might have mutinied. Although there were only places on the boat for twelve the remaining five were happy to wave us off and wish us 'bon voyage'. The boat company provided food for the ducks on the canal and Runi kindly produced some nibbles for the passengers, although some of us could not tell which was which (sorry Runi, only joking, your cakes were lovely).

On our return to Batchworth Lock we soon joined up and continued our walk to the aquadrome where we all sat in a small park area where we had our picnic and a useful dose of vitamin D. Walking around the lakes we saw especially modified sailing dinghies which Ian told us were used by a local charity to take disabled youngsters out sailing on the lake. On another lake we saw a water skier whose turn of speed looked very impressive. Leaving the aquadrome we walked on the other side of the canal along the towpath. In the heat the ice creams for sale at Batchworth Lock seemed irresistible so we all stopped there. Leaving the towpath we met at the Red House pub where we sat outside and some enjoyed a very good Sunday roast and well earned drinks.

We hope that Mark, Lou, Kevin, Hema, Mala, Soraya, Saurabh, Elaine, Louise L, Michael, Esther, Angela, Joan, Kumar and Maria enjoyed the walk as much as Runi and I did.

Report by Ian
Eight of us met at the Rickmansworth aquadrome on a lovely Saturday morning. Malcolm and Vasu were there first and very enthusiastic to start. All were excited to get on their bikes and learn some new skills. We got our bikes out of our cars and some had cycled to the start. We quickly realised Mary-li and Vasu's bikes were identical. We made sure that our tyres were pumped and that people knew how to use their gears correctly. Martina informed all the new cyclists about the local council free training session and would encourage all to do a course with them. The details can be found on your local council site. We then talked a little bit about safety, having the correct helmet and visible gear. But as we were cycling on a cycle path not much more safety was needed.

We headed out of Rickmansworth aquadrome and we soon lost three cyclists who thought the route was too short and added on a bit. They were so enthusiastic to get going they didn't realise that we had to turn off onto the cycle path and would have followed Daniel anywhere. Malcolm soon caught up to the 3 and brought them back and we joined the Ebury cycle pathway. We headed off towards Batchlock Canal. We had only cycled about 1 km when we realised there was a tree fallen down on the pathway. We quickly manoeuvred around and under the tree and some people carried their cycles over the tree. Nothing was going to stop these intrepid cyclists going out for the day. It was an easy cycle from there on, approximately 3 miles to Watford and 3 miles back. Along the way some people lost their chains but we had Malcolm to come to the rescue and some were a bit wobbly but nobody fell off and everyone completed the full 6 miles. When we got to the Watford side there was a lovely park where we all sat under a tree and had our lunch. Then Mike did a quick how to fix your brakes for Fara. We then cycled back taking a different route to miss out the tree along the canal, back to the cafe at Batchlock Canal. We all enjoyed spiffing tea and cake or ice cream and agreed it was a brilliant cycle to get you started on a bike.

Thanks to Vasu, Malcolm, Mike, Mary-li, Daniel, Martina, Fara and Joan.

Report by Martina
On another scorchio day of this great summer, eight of us jumped on the Javelin train at St Pancras for our walk along the coast and town of Folkestone. This former ferry town has been reborn as an artistic hub after the closure of the ferry station. We walked along the fashionable Leas promenade and parkland, bandstands and Edwardian era grand hotels facing across to France. Lots of gatherings there for music and to follow the art trail. Yoko Ono is one of the many artists to have contributed to the permanent art trail, her creation using morse code to shine signals out to sea. We descended to Sandgate Castle, a Tudor fortification with an adjoining beach café, ice creams and hot dogs for all. Whilst scoffing Coogee met someone he knew from Barnet by spooky coincidence.

Our beach walk took in the house of HG Wells, then hundreds of newly decorated (in geometric patterns) beach huts which we discovered were also part of the art trail. Many windsurfers and yachts were visible close to shore with the ferries and container ships out to sea. We climbed to the Memorial Arch (similar to the one in Baghdad) and then the pedestrianised creative quarter. Here art shops and galleries blend in with well frequented pavement coffee shops and antique shops. On such a hot day Con (Fred) led us to a local bar for cold drinks including strawberry cider (very sweet). Our route continued to the former harbour railway station now restored as an international railway heritage artwork. The platform buildings repainted in 1930 colours with period signs for "Wagon Lits" and "Telegrams". We continued onto the harbour pier and lighthouse, all now transformed into cafes, bars and restaurants, packed with day trippers and locals on such a sunny day. After walking to the lighthouse and back, we ended the day with fish and chips on the harbour, looking along the coast to the white cliffs in the distance.

Walkers were Brian, Kerry, Kevin, Louise, Con (Fred), Mark P, Lisa and Saurabh.

Report by Brian
On a perfect summer day in Surrey, two cyclists alighted at Ash Vale Station. Our route was along the bucolic Basingstoke Canal, restored in 1991 after a century of neglect. The tow path has a good surface and is bordered on both sides by an abundance of ferns, different to all other canals. As it was such a sunny day, we stopped at Mytchetts canal centre for ice creams. Shortly after we discovered the canalside abutments of the Bisley Camp Railway, abandoned in the 50s, once serving the vast military establishment there. The north bank still houses Pirbrett and Deepcut barracks, and the Bisley Rifle School. Our lunch was at the cricket ground at St Johns village, now on the edge of Woking conurbation.

We passed the extensive grounds of Brookwood Cemetery, once served by the Necropolis Railway from Waterloo. The canal was busier through Woking Town, the railway running alongside. We then joined the Wye Navigation and reached Brooklands, the first home of motorsport and aviation in Britain. We stopped by the art deco original control tower and cycled through the Mercedes Benz test track, sports cars spinning on the skid hazards. Next to the original raised banking we admired the vintage vehicles and Concorde at Brooklands Museum before the final leg to Weybridge and trains back.

Cyclists were Brian and Mark P.

Report by Brian
It 'ain't 'arf 'ot mum! On a extremely glorious hot Sunday, 12 keen photographers met at Denham Station. After welcoming everyone and giving introductions we set off towards Buckinghamshire Golf Club, fully equipped with hats / cameras and the latest gadget phones. It was great that some members had actually brought their good ol' pride and joy cameras, zoom lens and all the other paraphernalia with them. As we walked, I explained some of the techniques to use in capturing certain features and making use of light, especially the amazing Denham sunsets. I also talked about some phone settings which the group were very interested in and keen to learn. We explored what the phone can do compared to the camera. The group was quickly snapping away and happy to carry their heavy equipment. With sun beaming down on us, we admired the effects of sun on the famous Denham greenery, which gave us the opportunity to snap away using the different settings on the tall grass, which looked like a golden carpet as it covered vast areas of the golf course. Further down, after giving ideas / tips on movements and the height of the subject, these were put to use on certain points of interest. The group were taking photos and it was evident from the laughter and the mischievous antics that everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves. Walking, snapping and experimenting. For some walkers it was their first walk in Denham to admire the views and enjoy the scenery.

Taking a well earned lunch break we enjoyed a cool drink and ice cream afterwards. We did a detour to the herb garden and then walked toward the canal, passing some cows, who were being very playful. They were facing us but when they heard the cameras click they turned away. A herd of divas. I showed some tricks for capturing the movements of running water at a weir. An excellent example for this feature. Also at the weir were lots of other people of different age groups, who were diving and swimming. An excellent day for a dip in the river. We sat by the river and I showed some examples of my photos to explain the best way to take group photos as well as portraits, paying special attention to movement and the background. In addition, I gave details of the photo competition I had set up following the walk. I passed photo examples around, in which every one took great interest in spotting the emphasis of different techniques. We carried on towards the canal, where many snaps were taken of a narrowboat passing through the lock. After watching the whole process of unlocking / locking the gates, the narrowboat gently continued its journey along the canal. More photos were taken in the woodland and by the lake showing amazing views of the trees shadowing over the clear blue water with a coot or two in water. We then strode back through the woods towards the famous village and St Mary's Church, where to our absolute delight there was home-made cream cakes / teas and fresh lemonade available, where some of us enjoyed the delicious cakes and teas available, whilst others went into the churchyard to see the grave of Sir John Mills, the famous actor and also to learn about the historic tragedy of the Denham mass murder back in 1870. Some headed towards the green, where a live band was busting out golden oldies with people sitting around with ice cool drinks and listening to the music. Some were showing some great moves too. Later six of us decided to try the delicious Sunday Roast in one of the pubs; amazingly big portions and full of flavour.

A big thankyou goes to Brigitta, Mala, Michael, Kerry, Priti, Naz, Pushpa, Kumar, Mark, Jeff and Ashima. Oh what a fun day we all had.

Report by Runi
We met outside Preston Road Station on a beautiful sunny morning. We set off at about 11:15 and made our way to Barn Hill, which was called Bardon Hill in 1547 and was landscaped by Humphrey Repton in 1792. The hay meadows are the remnants of two manor houses originally owned by King Edward the Confessor. We arrived at the pond and gathered around the trig point, which has excellent views of Wembley Stadium and the Shard in the distance. We then headed down to Fryent Way, passing a strip of land that once had a row of prefab houses on it, built after WW2, one of which was occupied by Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones. We crossed over Fryent Way and headed up to the viewpoint with its fabulous views. I believe there was a WW2 look-out post and concrete bunker there, which is now filled in and levelled off. We went onwards towards the Welsh Harp. We saw the magnificent St Andrew's Church, which was built in 1847. It was a church in search of a congregation, located originally in central London near Oxford Street. But due to a change in the demographic in that area, had few patrons and was carefully dismantled and re-erected at its new site in 1934, ready for the new estates of houses being built.

We then carried on towards the Harp, where we found some benches in a lovely area shaded by trees, where we stopped for lunch and a chat. We then headed away from the Welsh Harp and into Jubilee Park. We were then on the final return leg of the walk through Fryent Country Park and back to the station, where we said our goodbyes. An enjoyable day was had by all.

Thank you to Girija, Vasu, Lily, Hira, Nile, Kalpna, Nicky, Sonia, Sebastian, Pankaj, Dean T and Mick for joining me on my walk.

Report by Patrizia
Our fourth camping trip of this great heatwave summer was to the High Weald of Kent for 23 campers. It was scorchio on all three days at Bedgebury, with soaring views across the sun-baked meadows to the village of Goudhurst on the hill. We pitched camp to the sound of Boom Radio helped by choc ices from the farm shop. Soon it was cake o'clock, Louise presenting her rather spiffing Victoria Sponge to all. Brian led the walk to Goudhurst; we explored the scenic village, duck pond, tile-clad cottages and manors. After a tour of the parish church (full immersion font on display) we had fish and chips on the terrace of the 15th century Star and Eagle, with splendid views south. Back at site Kevin and Malcolm lit the campfire and we were soon stargazing around the blazing logs. Campfire yarns included how we got a name check on Boom Radio last week, after the Cotswold camping.

On Saturday, the blistering sun and Boom woke us early, for a yoga class led by Anneke. Then Coogee's strong coffee and healthy breakfasts for all in the heat. Our 12-mile walk took in the orchards and vineyards of this garden of England. We passed several converted Oast Houses, all with impressive barns and colourful gardens looking perfick in the sunshine. We reached the truly picturesque town of Cranbrook, "the Jewel of the Weald" where we explored the famous smock windmill, Victorian public school and the many independent shops in the bustling market town. Hikers split up for lunch at the pub and rear terraces of the various cafes. Some happened upon a lunchtime concert at St Dunstan's "the Cathedral of the Weald", where there were lashings of pop, tea and cakes for all. Our route continued over meadows of freshly cut hay and fields of wheat resplendent in the afternoon sun. A huge troop of ducks were disturbed by us at one pond, all then leaping into the water below a cloud of dust. At Goudhurst we were just in the nick to race up to the rooftop of St Marys Church tower for panoramic views of Kent, the South and North Downs in the distance. We took over the rear terrace of the Star and Eagle for cooling drinks, then some jolly decent cream teas with strawberries, just the ticket said all. Back at site it was wine o'clock in the heat, with Sally proffering the cava, olives and dips to all. Soraya and Anneke lit up the healthiest barbecue meal seen; aubergines, maize, vegetable kebabs with yams. We noticed lots of new arrivals with fancy designs, teepees, bell tents, Land Rover tower safari tents and one minimalist couple with a designer style canopy over their mattress, suitable on such a sweltering night. Many dined on Edmundo's paella, with lots of the campsite sampling the gin cocktails from the pop-up bar by the marquee. Soon Martina had the campfire lit, marshmallows toasting, Diane and Coogee leading the singing whilst Dee introduced a new camping game, dominoes around the campfire using camping chairs and stools.

Sunday was another scorcher. Some headed for breakfast at Edmundo's for waffles covered with strawberries and cream. Many posh campers in the queue that morning: "Octavius, do you want two or three toppings?" directed at a boy toting the biggest teddy since Aloysius. After striking tent we headed to High Rocks, where acres of breathtaking sandstone rocks are interlinked with timber bridges. We walked through this charming woodland setting, Chris and Maria leading us through some narrow chasms in the monumental rocks. The High Rocks Hotel was busy with a wedding party on the terrace. The huge Victorian building has an extensive garden with its own heritage railway station. Soon we were waving as the steam train passed our tables. We took in the views from the gardens over a sumptuous lunch after another great camping holiday in this garden of England.

Campers were Brian, Kevin, Louise, Diane, Martina, Mark A, Malcolm, Coogee, Jan, Nick, Sally, Dee, Laura, Chris, Maria, Soraya, Joan, Derek, Prem, Anneke, Anne, Kiran and John.

Report by Brian
Ten of us met on another glorious evening of this heatwave summer by the canalside at the Black Horse. Our walk followed the Grand Union Canal, passing the many impressive apartment blocks built on the former Glaxo site. Riverside terraces and new footbridges had been created as part of the development. Reaching Horsenden Hill we climbed to the summit for views west. Some of the group did an extra loop via Alperton as they wanted to increase the mileage. Our route back took in the playing fields and meadows by the canal. The sunset across the uncut grass of the meadows was quite striking, lots of walkers out on such a warm, sunny evening. Back at the Black Horse we enjoyed well-deserved drinks in the garden as the narrowboats sailed by.

Walkers were Brian, Rob W, Kevin, Louise, Con, Soraya, Dawn, Julie, Teresa and Marian.

Report by Brian
Yesterday morning, the intrepid 13 set out from Tide Tables at Richmond Bridge into a beautifully sunny day exploring the Thames, Bushy Park and Hampton Court Palace gardens. As promised - no hills! And plenty of shade too. A glorious first stretch of the Thames, taking in a sublime view of Marble Hill House, took us to Teddington Lock and a conveniently free pub garden at The Tide End. We then touched on Teddington life via the High Street and the imposing Landmark Arts Centre (a cathedral really). Onward into Bushy - more shade (phew) and our lunch stop in the midst of the Woodland Gardens' Waterhouse Plantation - by the pond with the local heron for extra company.

Then the expectedly spectacular bit - Hampton Court Palace gardens via Sir Christopher Wren's Chestnut Avenue and the 1637 Diana (goddess, not princess) fountain. Both informal and formal Palace Gardens entirely free to visit - amazing beds, sunken gardens, and the Great Vine (world's largest). Even a game of real tennis in play (court in continuous use since the 1600's)..magic! The sporting theme continued for those of us who walked the final 3 mile leg along the Thames to Kingston Bridge (a good few chose to stay and soak up more of the palace gardens) with oodles of people paddle boarding, boating and swimming in or on the Thames. And finally, we stumbled upon the Kingston Regatta - a sizeable affair - before stumbling into the White Hart garden, where we lingered.

Walkers were Dean, Sarah, Rob, Brian, Teresa, Dee, Dawn, Di, Julie, Prem, Derek, Lesley and Soraya. Thanks all for making my first walk really enjoyable.

Report by Sally
On a scorching beautiful day, nine of us jumped on the Javelin train at St Pancras for our walk on the Viking Coastal trail from Broadstairs to Ramsgate. We meandered round the old town of Broadstairs passing the tiny Palace cinema, the Grade II listed building in Harbour Street. We then climbed to Bleak House, home of Dickens and inspiration for the novel. Then down to the beach at Viking Bay, teeming with families and holidaymakers catching the beautiful weather and enjoying the sea. Multi-coloured beach huts were busy, with sunbathers and sandcastles much in evidence. We walked along the esplanade, where surprisingly Brian knew of a charming cafe where we had a lovely lunch overlooking Dumpton Gap. The proprietor was particularly hospitable, sheltering us from the scorching sun with a huge umbrella, although it did smack Soraya squarely on the head.

After the refreshments, we carried on the coastal path that took us through the verdant King George VI memorial park with spectacular views of the sea and a series of distinctive Victorian seated rest areas and a large folly. We visited a gallery of local art, decorated with beautiful flowers and plants. We then descended to Ramsgate with spectacular views of the very impressive marina, full of oligarch-sized yachts. Simon and Yolley visited the Ramsgate Tunnel which during the war accommodated a fifth of the population sheltering in the blitz. The rest of the party stopped for tea and cakes and chat overlooking the marina on local recommendation. Soraya and Anne-Marie couldn't resist nosing at the high-up terrace of the local yacht club as they were welcome to non-members.

We walked down the high street hoping for some retail therapy and found a fantastic shop called Elephant in the Room, which is worth a visit if in the area. As the blistering sun beat down, we headed for cold drinks on the 1st floor sun terrace of the majestic Royal Victoria Pavilion. Enjoying our Pimm's and well-earned fish and chips, our table overlooked Ramsgate beach after a perfick day out in sunny Kent.

Walkers were Soraya, Con, Steve, Brian, Rob, Anne-Marie, Marianne, Simon and Yolley.

Report by Soraya
8 keen walkers joined me on this walk, many of whom had not been here before. The beautiful and varied scenery was much admired, along with the picnic lunch under a shady tree by the Latimer hotel, where a wedding was in progress. We then stopped at the chocolate box village of Latimer for photos. Unfortunately, the ice cream kiosk was closed. We spotted some shorn llamas, lots of red kites, horses, cows, swans etc. Apart from some footwear malfunctions, everyone enjoyed a lovely day out.

Thanks to everyone who joined me on the walk.

Report by Rajinder
Our third camping holiday of this excellent summer saw a record thirty-one return to the Cotswolds, this time at a new site for us in Charlbury. We pitched camp in glorious sunshine to the sound of Boom radio; Sandra and Rob checking out their vintage gypsy wagon. Aruna and Tony had a "Tardis style" camping pod each, debutante campers Nathalie and Soraya sharing the retro Bell tent. As it was "cake o'clock", Louise unboxed her awfully nice coffee and walnut cake outside our log cabin / kitchen. A unique feature, the cabin has full facilities including a range-style wood stove.

Brian led the late afternoon walk to Charlbury, a very scenic Cotswold town. At the impressive medieval church, we chatted to the verger about the town. The perfectly preserved railway station is a very rare Brunel-designed original. After cooling drinks in the beer garden of the Bull, Jan led us to the fish and chip van. Tuck gathered, we had out picnic on the common by the memorial. Back at site, Tim B lit the campfire and soon we gathered around blazing logs on a great night for star gazing. Tim recounted his spooky encounter at Yosemite with the mystery janitor and how he escaped from Pearl Harbour.

Saturday saw us wake early with Boom for a healthy breakfast at the cabin, Dean and Coogee providing the revitalising coffee from their vintage Italian mokas. Our 14 mile walk took in the Cotswold villages of Spilsbury, Chadlington, Churchill and Kingham. Each had its outstanding medieval church, too large for most of the hamlets and testimony to the region's wealth during the Wool era. We stopped for coffee and pastries at Café de la Poste at Chadlington, the staff very efficient at dealing with the sudden arrival of 30 hikers. Our route took in wildflower meadows with poppies in abundance on field margins. Passing the rebuilt manor of the Top Gear presenter we noticed his "humorous" warning to trespassers. Lunch was at Diddly Squat farmhouse; the gourmet burgers and strawberry cheesecakes got the thumbs up in the barn. Colourful Hollyhocks were in great profusion at Churchill and Kingham villages. We stopped for drinks at the very stylish Wild Rabbit at Kingham. From our stone tables in the front garden we saw how the afternoon sun reflected against the honey-coloured stone of the cottages and manors. The GWR express sped us back to Charlbury.

Back at site the sun shone on the righteous, Sally opening up the cava and olives, Runi the biscuits. Nick, Mark and Dean soaking up the rays from their rocking chairs on the cabin veranda, mint julep in hand. Tim B and Nick lit up the barbecue, including the rotisserie for the spicy sausages. Martina arranged the campfires, three firepits for the extended group. Diane and Coogee led the singsong as we toasted the marshmallows on the warming logs.

The early sun woke us early on Sunday and we struck camp over rounds of tea from the cabin. As we packed, several vintage aircraft soared overhead including a biplane and then a Spitfire on route to a local display. We headed to Chipping Norton, another fine Cotswold market town. Our town trail took in the very grand neo-classical town hall and marketplace. We took in the converted Bliss Mill, Italianate chimney and dome now housing luxury apartments. The 17th century alms houses and gardens were stunning in the sunshine, lavender and valerian bordering the dwellings. The medieval church was busy with parishioners, hymns singing out through open doors. Yet more spectacular Hollyhocks were in evidence in many gardens. Two former members joined us in town. We all gathered for a final tiffin stop at the Jaffe and Neale bookshop tea shop after another jolly decent holiday in the Cotswolds.

Campers were Brian, Kevin, Louise, Runi, Diane, Martina, Mark A, Malcolm, Coogee, Jan, Dean, Nick, Rachael, Tim B, Sally, Dee, Sandra, Rob P, Aruna, Tony, Mike D, Laura, Chris, Maria, Nathalie, Soraya, Joan, Derek, Prem, Mike McA and family.

Report by Brian
On another fine sunny evening 11 walkers met for pre-walk drinks in the popular garden of the Case is Altered. We caught up on recent camping adventures and welcomed along Anne (joined at summer party) on her first walk. Our route took in Eastcote House gardens, full of colour as ever, Sarah and Soraya identifying many of the flowers. We then followed the Celandine Way along the River Pinn. Our route took in a hidden meadow and footpaths via quiet lanes. After a detour through Cuckoo Hill Park, we arrived back at the Case for post-walk drinks and much planning of future walks.

Walkers were Brian, Dee, Dean T, Sarah, Marian, Kevin, Louise, Soraya, Runi, Humay and Anne.

Report by Brian
The second of this weekend cultural walks was part of the Bedford Park Festival and the Open Gardens afternoon. The Bedford Park Garden Suburb was bathed in sunshine today as we visited ten gardens open to the public just for the day. The gardens were full of delights, hollyhocks, hydrangeas and hostas throughout. Many houses had conservatories to house large pot plants, and yew box hedges divided the gardens into sections with water features and sculptures. We took advantage of the deckchairs and arbours to take in the views. At one garden Soraya met an old acquaintance, the actor Ewen Stewart, who chatted to us about his film career. At the next garden the host handed out Pimms to the visitors and explained about the Norman Shaw architecture of his mansion. We retraced our steps to the start and finished with cream teas in the sunny gardens of the parish church of this charming quarter of London.

Walkers were Brian, Rob W, Soraya, Kerry, Mala and Priti.

Report by Brian
9 of us met on a fine sunny day, for a walk around River Lee Country Park. We promptly proceeded to the canal towpath where we marvelled at the Silvermeade, home to a colony of water vole. A bit further down the towpath we crossed at the King's Weir. This afforded scenic views over the Holyfield Lake from the Kiora Radial Gates. Following the footpaths, we admired the enormous glasshouses of the nurseries and then made a little climb of the only hill on our walk. We then joined the cycle path coming to a cafe at Lee Valley Park Farms which was the perfect place for our lunch stop.

After lunch we continued to follow the path, and shortly we met a friendly guide at the viewpoint overlooking Seventy Acres Lake. She informed us of the several different species that frequent the area, and also convinced us that the birdwatcher's viewing point in Hall Marsh Scrape was well worth a look. Following the advice we proceeded and found a strange metal construction with viewing holes, but sadly there were no birds to be seen. After visiting the ice cream van, we returned back along the canal towpath, where there were still many kayakers and paddle boats out enjoying the sunny weather.

Thank you to Priti D, Olivia H, Ujen B, Naz G, Pushpa G, Marianne Y, Louise M and Laura O for joining me on the walk. Total distance walked approx 9.7 miles.

Report by Mark

This weekend we had two cultural walks, in glorious sunshine both days as part of local festivals. On Saturday 8 walkers with 3 dogs met at Daisy's for late breakfast in sunny Pinner Park. Brian and Prem had earlier run the Northala parkrun so rushed here for the later start. Into Pinner village area of Moss Lane and our first studio at the fabulous Tudor Cottage (sections date back to 16th century). The gardens were full of sculptures and art works by the owners (former film actors). We then followed footpaths to reach Headstone Manor Park. The sports area was busy with three cricket matches in progress. Our second studio was the manor museum and gallery, followed by more cakes at the Park café.

We then headed north to Harrow Arts Centre where we met Humay and Katherine P at the hidden studio. Humay had a large exhibition of his works including a work in progress piece where visitors could contribute; Prem and Soraya added their touches to the tableau. As we were the final visitors and it was such a fine day all the artists joined the visitors outside for wine and chocolates to celebrate the arts show.

Walkers were Brian, Jan, Kerry, Prem, Annette, Laura, Soraya and Liane.

Report by Brian
We had our annual summer garden party in the grounds of the church yesterday. On a very warm sunny evening on the hill Pauline and helpers set out a vast array of homemade cupcakes, sandwiches, salads, tarts and pastries. We welcomed along around 37 newer recruits and regulars. Lots were planning for the camping trips so it was a good opportunity to meet and plan walks. The winning cake was made by Louise, runners up included Dee, Joan, Mark, Laura and Prem. Soraya won prize for most unusual recipe and Nitti best salad. Many thanks to Pauline for hosting and to everyone who brought along a dish to share.

Report by Brian

The annual midsummer sunset ride arranged by London Cyclists always takes place in good weather and this year's ride was again on a very warm sunny evening. Around thirty cyclists assembled at Ealing with lots of friends catching up over comparisons of the various cycles. The tandem took pride of place; we chatted to the owners about the recent Suffolk trip with our own tandem. Our route was via quiet lanes, Grand Union Canal and Thames Path through Syon Park, Richmond, and Ham House. The Richmond riverside was very busy with drinkers, walkers and sunbathers on such a sweltering evening. After a cycle through Richmond Park, we reached the summit of Richmond Hill where we joined the other cycle groups (Hounslow, H & F, Kingston) for drinks on the terrace. The clear blue skies afforded great views from Turner's famous viewpoint.

Cyclists were Brian, Nick, Rob W and Tim P.

Report by Brian
A fine body of 7 eager walkers and a dog set off on a walk along the Chess valley on another warm day in the Chilterns. We started off by crossing Chorleywood Common and passed through the attractive grounds of Chorleywood House, before making our way down the Chess valley to reach the river. The River Chess is a fairly small river, but has carved itself out an impressive valley through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is a fairly short river rising in Chesham and making its way about 10 miles downstream to Uxbridge where it joins the Colne River. We proceeded upstream at a leisurely pace, and we swapped banks, crossing to and fro across bridges and fords as the mood took us. We passed the watercress farm - the cress said to thrive on the pure waters draining out of the local chalk hills. By lunch we had reached Chenies, admiring the pretty village and lunching well at the Bedford Arms. We sat outside and enjoyed the food, real ales and the fine sunny weather.

We walked on, passing the impressive Chenies Manor House, with more than one member earmarking it for purchase, once their lottery numbers finally come up. We rejoined the waters and again followed along the babbling river, and doing some babbling ourselves, we covering the short distance to Latimer, where we walked around the village and the De Vere's Estate and Hotel, enjoying the great view from its elevated position in the valley. This would be a nice stop for a cream tea on a future walk, though I am sure a lottery win would again be useful. From there, we crossed the valley again and headed to Little Chalfont where we got the train home.

Thank you to everyone who joined me on the day, it was lovely to see both new and old members with everybody on good form.

Report by Mike McA
For our second camping trip of this excellent summer twenty four stayed in scorchio Suffolk at a new site for the group. Halfway between Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds, Brighthouse is a working farm managed by Odell, perhaps the friendliest campsite manager we have ever met. We pitched camp to the sound of Boom Radio, with five of the group checking into the sumptuous bed & breakfast farmhouse alongside. New camper Anneke won prize for smallest tent. Brian led the late afternoon walk in the heatwave to Lawshall village, passing fields of wheat and meadows with friendly alpacas. We had cooling drinks in the sun filled beer garden of the Swan before welcoming late arrivals back at camp.

On Saturday the early sun and Boom Radio woke us early for Coogee's strong coffee. Anneke practised her yoga moves in the sun, Dean and her swapping stories of Caplinism over a very healthy breakfast. Martina and Runi led the seven walkers on the day's walk. Michael L, living just over the border joined us for the walk. The 14 mile walk followed trails through fields of rapeseed, barley and poppies. Pub stop at a noticeably quiet Suffolk village, Joan kindly taking charge of Duke on the walk. The others (seventeen) went on a 30 mile cycle ride through the lovely Suffolk countryside. We hired cycles including a tandem from Maglia Rosso, a busy cycle hub with repairs workshop, café and glamping units on site. Mark P and Lisa volunteered for the tandem and, after practising techniques in the field took off with elan. Our route was all on quiet rural lanes almost traffic free, passing many scenic thatched cottages, painted in the timeless salmon pink colours of Suffolk. We stopped for lunch at Lavenham, perhaps the finest of the Suffolk "Wool Towns". Lavenham boasts 300 listed buildings, its half-timbered dwellings dating back to the 15th century. After a tour of its lanes and manors we had lunch at the tea shops and pub in the marketplace facing the magnificent Guildhall, location of the key scenes in "Witchfinder General". We then headed south, happening upon a disused railway station with derelict buildings on the way. At Long Melford, another perfectly preserved "Wool Town" we stopped at its stunning cathedral-sized medieval church. We then cycled along the High Street, stopping for some rather splendid Victoria Sponge at yet another tea shop. Back at camp it was wine o'clock with Odell joining us to chew the fat. The sumptuous barbecue feast was prepared by Kevin, Louise and Joan with Nick on the tongs. Diane and Malcolm lit up the campfire with Coogee leading the singsong with his trusty ukulele around the blazing logs.

Sunday was another day of glorious sunshine. With Boom waking us we struck camp with many rounds of tea and Louise's bacon baps. Just after departure Martina was involved in the hot pursuit of a fugitive, using her initiative to slow his flight. Drama over, we headed to Bury St Edmunds, the site of the richest Benedictine monastery in England. The extensive abbey grounds now contain the many ruins of the complex, original Norman gateway and landscaped gardens for the town to enjoy. We strolled through the rose gardens, the sculpture park and the impressive ruins and towers. The cathedral was hosting a beer festival with a barrel of ale in every aisle. As the afternoon sun beat down, we continued to the marketplace for a final cream tea after a tip top holiday in rural Suffolk.

Campers were Brian, Kevin, Louise, Runi, Dawn, Julie, Diane, Martina, Mark A, Malcolm, Joan, Coogee, Jan, Carla, Mark P, Lisa, Anneke, Dean, Jeremy, Nick, Rachael, Tim P, Peter and Daniel.

Report by Brian
Our latest cycle ride was on another scorchio Sunday by the Thames. Route through Old Isleworth and onto Richmond. After passing Marble Hill House we were joined on towpath by many runners doing the Bearcats 10k fun run. At Orleans House we stopped at the 10k finish point, where, by chance, we met Tim P who was a marshal at the finish point. We cheered in the runners and swapped tales of the park runs (yesterday 3 from HAWOG at Gunnersbury charity parkrun). We rode on with a stop for teas at Twickenham Yacht Club Open Day, then we toured the grounds of Strawberry Hill House, the birthplace of the Neo Gothic movement. We crossed the Thames at Teddington to enter Richmond Park via Ham village. After a circuit of the park we stopped for lunch at the cyclists café by Roehampton Gate. Many cycle groups were there on such a sunny day with a variety of cycle makes.

We then headed north to cross Hammersmith Bridge for the first time since it reopened (now just open for walkers and cyclists). We then joined CS9, the newly completed (almost) cycle superhighway, segregated from traffic, which runs from Hammersmith to Brentford. The ride finished at the Bedford Park "Green Days Village Fete". This festival celebrates the creation of this perfect example of the garden suburb movement. Tim cycled to join us and we met other cycle groups including Ruth M who has been at the vanguard of creating cyclist friendly traffic changes in London. After listening to the live music and browsing the stalls the day ended, as always, with a jolly fine cream tea in the tea marquee.

Cyclists were Brian, Nick and Tim.

Report by Brian
Nine of us spent a very warm summer afternoon on the annual Open Squares Gardens day. We explored eight gardens as part of our urban walk through Kensington, Chelsea and Belgravia. All the gardens were splendidly maintained, and several had newly installed sculptures and water features. There was a great mixture of plants and trees (London Plane being ubiquitous) with several palms, banana trees and an unusual bamboo plantation being noteworthy. We had lunch at Cornwall Square with music from a local band. Joan entertained the newer ladies with her tales of working with Tommy Steele, Karen responding with what she did with George Michael's shuttlecock. At Belgrave Square the gardens were surrounded with embassies. The pop-up stalls there served us with Pimm's and ice cream as the afternoon sun reflected on the impressive Georgian terraces. We finished at Eaton Square gardens with teas and Lola's rather splendid cupcakes on the lawn listening to music from the band and the soothing sounds of the water fountains at this hidden gem.

Walkers were Brian, Joan, Carole, Sally, Dee, Soraya, Anneke, Karen and Juliet.

Report by Brian
14 met at Greenford Station on a glorious morning. We started our adventure through a little park then into Paradise Fields (a former golf course), wetland area and hay meadows, a haven for wildlife. Then we joined the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal, a lovely part of the canal. This took us to Horsenden Farm courtyard, with a brewery, farm shop and a pop-up stall serving lovely cakes. We declined on this occasion although very hard to walk past. We started our climb up Horsenden Hill, passing through the cow grazing field, at 275 feet providing stunning views of London. We then headed on down to Harrow on The Hill and St Mary's Church, where a member kindly gave the history of the church and Harrow School.

We had our lunch stop there overlooking Harrow School playing fields. All refuelled we continued our adventure passing Northwick Park golf centre and reaching our final destination at 7.5 miles. Not enough for some we headed on home clocking up 11 miles.

Thank you to Kiran, Soraya, Marianne, Dean, Malcolm, Joan, Judith, Kalpna, Esther, Kevin, Angela, Tony and Prem for joining me on this enjoyable walk.

Report by Diane
Four of us met at the canalside Fox pub on a very warm sunny evening in Hanwell. Early arrivals enjoyed cooling drinks and desserts with ice cream. Eventually we left the pub for the walk. Our route took in the canal and the River Brent trail through the country park. We admired the many diverse locomotives racing across the skyline along Brunel's impressive Wharncliffe Viaduct. We then tried out their puzzle solving skills to reach the centre of the millennium maze. After walking through the "Bunny Park" our route back followed Hanwell heritage trail including several Georgian mansions. At Hanwell Crossrail Station we snuck in (no barriers) to see the restored heritage waiting rooms with GWR posters. Back at the Fox we regained our table to exchange tales of the many Jubilee events including a jolly good street party in Teddington.

Walkers were Brian, Sally, Marie and Soraya.

Report by Brian
Four Hawogers - Chrissy, Maureen, Chantelle and Tracy, joined me for my two towers tour on Saturday. We met up in Parliament Square and set off to see the statues of Churchill, Gandhi and Mandela amongst others, before a brief visit to the jewel tower, opposite the Houses of Parliament. In ruins now, back in the day it was used to house the King's jewels. Crossing Westminster Bridge, we viewed a revamped Elizabeth Tower / Big Ben, shining out under the sun as it broke through the clouds. The South Bank was busy; we passed the London Eye, then crossed the Jubilee Bridge to visit York Embankment where the Thames used to flow, and took a few pictures at Cleopatra's Needle, before stopping for a coffee in the lovely Somerset House. Post coffee break we crossed back over the bridge to visit Coin Street, an area that was earmarked for commercial development (offices, a hotel and the like) before a housing association / pressure group were granted permission by the now disbanded GLC, to build housing for the local community. There were no sand sculptors in sight but there were some Brazilian dancers we enjoyed watching. After a short walk along the sand, we popped into an art centre at the base of the Oxo Tower, to see many a modern portrait of the Queen; some good, some not so good. As most of us had already visited the Monument we missed that out.

Passing The Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe and Clink Prison, it was a lovely hot day, and we were all grateful for a chance to cool down and chill for a short while in Southwark Cathedral. After the Cathedral, Chrissy headed off for a final spot of shopping before jet setting off to Greece late this week while the four of us visited the memorial gardens sited behind the Tower of London, where Tracy was able to locate a memorial dedicated to her grandfather and his compatriots who were on a ship that was sunk during the war. Chantelle was tired and didn't fancy the Tower so Tracy, Maureen and I headed off to enjoy the panoramic views looking out from the tower, and the glass floor where we could watch the traffic and pedestrians crossing the bridge below. After a visit to the engine rooms where we marvelled at the quality of the engineering, we finished off the day with a couple of well-deserved drinks in the Dickens Inn in St Katharine's Dock. Thank you to those who joined me for a lovely day out.

Report by Coogee
On a beautiful sunny day we sat next to Lake Windermere waiting for arrivals, tough times. After booking in we set off on a walk to Stockgyll Force just outside Ambleside to admire the stunning waterfall. We then descended on Ambleside and found a hidden pub I discovered on an earlier recce that could seat all of us, phew! Later a hostel staff member admitted we found the best pub in town. At the hostel we found a seating area that became our mainstay for the weekend.

On Friday weather watching was the order of the day and it was decided to change the itinerary around Brian and his four challenging walkers headed up to Langdale Pikes while Martina and Jan took the main party on a walk to Grasmere. Five of us drove to Tarn Hows Wood to walk around this picturesque spot in spite of the weather. We then all met up in Grasmere at the Jackdaw Cafe (not its real name, but apt for the residents outside). Others found a pub with space and signalled so via WhatsApp. Back at the hostel there was a surprise guest waiting for us. After an emotional catch-up we settled in for the evening.

On Saturday the weather was glorious and we were back to plan A. Brian's group set off for the very challenging Fairfield Horseshoe while the bulk of us took the bus to Keswick, probably the most scenic bus journey ever taken. We walked down to the Derwent Water harbour where we took a launch across the lake to the start of Catbells. After a long uphill climb we reached the summit and had the most incredible views. On our way down Vito made a suggestion to follow the lake back to the launch. As we had made good time it was perfectly feasible and we were rewarded with a scintillating walk through pine trees by the lake, breathtaking. Once back in Keswick we made our way to the old police station and courthouse, not for partygate reveal, but that it had been converted into a Wetherspoon incorporating the court room, prison cells and history. After returning by bus we resumed contact with the rest of the group and sat outside by the lake in glorious sunshine. The evening was about celebrating the Platty Jubes with hats, flags and outfits. A convieniently located TV gave us the opportunity to check in with London.

On Sunday an early walk to the castle via the ferry was organised followed by Bowness and Beatrix Potter land.

Many thanks to Jan and Martina for the Friday walks and Brian for the challenging walks, and to Mark, Mike S, Kathy, Rachael, Diane, Dawn, Dean, Shilpa, Joan, Laura, Aruna, Sughanda, Mike D, Nishat, Vito, Zoe, Catherine, Sonia, Nicky, Rajinder, Rob, Sandra, Anusha, Daniel and Danny for joining me on this monumental weekend.

Report by Nick
Eight cyclists took part in the annual London Free Cycle Ride this year. We started with coffee at Northala and then headed east along the Grand Union Canal. Next stop was the café barge at Little Venice where we met some of the group who started from there. We then took the excellent cycle routes through Hyde Park to join the main circuit. We then came upon the thousands of cyclists taking advantage of this special day. All traffic was banned from central London so it was a perfect day for taking in all the features on two wheels.

We stopped at some of the festival sites (entertainment and mechanics) to coordinate with others. Our lunch break was on the South Bank by the Festival Hall. We passed the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, Holborn and the Bank on the circuit. All kinds of cycles were on the ride including adapted recumbents and several dogs happily taking in the views from cycle baskets. At Lincolns Inn we had a final tiffin stop after a very special cycle day.

Cyclists were Brian, Kerry, Tim P, Rob W, Simon, Muneer, Nick and Anneke.

Report by Brian
A group of keen walkers were waiting outside Marlow Station, waiting for the walk leader to arrive, who misunderstood his own instructions which said 10:00am prompt; he was delayed in traffic. After introductions and being given a brief description of the walk and the plan for the day, we set off at 10:15. The weather was perfect for walking, as it was not too warm or too cold but the weather forecast did say that there may be the possibility of a light shower. After making our way out of town we picked up Shakespeare's Way which is a long distance path that runs from Stratford upon Avon to London. As we made our way along this path we made our way through several woods and across Marlow Common. This part is quite hilly in places but these hills did give the group some excellent views across the open countryside. Our final steep climb of the day was up and into Homerfield Wood where we intended to leave Shakespeare's Way. At this point we stopped for a well-deserved lunch break.

After lunch we began our return journey, which took us back downhill along a valley. As we followed this valley towards the River Thames, we passed several fine displays of rhododendrons that were in full bloom. Crossing the Thames at Mill End, we then headed back towards our start point at Marlow. As we made our way along the Thames Path we spotted some modern art, pausing for a moment to decide what these items might be depicting, before moving on and into the deer park at Remenham Court, where we did manage to spot a few deer. Upon arriving back at the outskirts of Marlow we paused for ice creams before completing the final mile back to the start point at Marlow Station, managing to finish the walk shortly before the predicted showers arrived.

Many thanks to Phil, Kalpna, Phu, Sauralsh and Dee for joining me on this 17.3 mile walk.

Report by Malcolm
On Sunday Heather welcomed 6 eager current and future walk leaders to our next training event of the year. Heather arranged a one-day workshop covering basic navigation techniques including: an introduction to maps, orientation of the map, determining the direction of travel, distance, and timings, identifying map features, basic compass use and route planning. Hopefully all participants will soon be adding their walk for the group.

Attendees were Angie, Sean, Declan, Martina, Vito and Pragna.

Report by Martina
Eight of us met on another sunny morning at Egham. The trains had been busy with passengers in fancy dress (cowboys, 118s, Allo Allo and many others) going to sevens rugby at Twickenham. We headed along footpaths through meadows and woods, to reach the ever-delightful grounds of Virginia Water. We strolled through the expanse of the landscaped park with an avenue of redwoods leading to the totem pole by the lake. As always, the ice cream van was in place for our 99s. We were joined at the lakeside by a large Capital Walkers Ramblers group with whom we exchanged updates on the route. We then did a circuit of the lake before entering the Valley Gardens. This is full of twisting paths giving dramatic views of the varied landscape. At this time of the season the vibrant colours of the rhododendrons are the main feature. We wandered along the paths, each corner revealing more displays of colours. We had our picnic in a clearing overlooking the valley, Marius sharing out the prosecco.

After lunch we continued to the Obelisk Lake and Windsor Great Park. Then through wildflower meadows and the former polo fields before the exclusive estates around Englefield. We then reached the summit of Coopers Hill and the always rewarding viewpoint at the Commonwealth Air Force Memorial, the rooftop balcony now reopened. We set off downhill passing Runnymede riverside. With a quick stop as always to admire the Ferraris we arrived back at Egham for cooling drinks in the rear courtyard after another colourful walk in Surrey.

Report by Brian
There were sixteen of us that set off from Uxbridge Station for what was to be a ten mile return walk to Langley Park. Leaving the station we walked through Rockingham Recreational Park and a short distance later reached the Grand Union Canal. After passing the many houseboats that were moored alongside we left to start the route of the Colne Valley Trail. Following this footpath we reached a steep bridge where, from the top, we had a scenic view of the heavy traffic below us on the M25. Following on from there we passed a number of cottages and large houses on our route to Langley Park. We stopped to admire a very high tree with branches only at the top which was, in fact, an aerial mast disguised as a tree.

Arriving for lunch at the Langley Park Cafe we afterwards decided to view the huge range of rhododendrons on display. There was a wide range of colours and along the path there was a long distance view all the way to Windsor Castle. Before leaving we also had time to look at the lake which was nearby before heading back towards a well deserved drink at a pub opposite the station in Uxbridge.

Runi and I enjoyed the company of the fifteen walkers who joined us on the walk who were Joan, Pat, Angela, Olivia, Mark, Shirley, Cathy, Marian, Pat, Nile, Sushma, Kevin, Katherine, Louise and Burgande.

Report by Ian
Nine railway enthusiasts met at Little Venice café barge for coffee before our Crossrail Architecture Walk. Our walk took in four of the newly opened "Cathedrals of Transport". We entered the first station, Paddington, and were struck by the vastness of the platform concourse, and the "futuristic" design. Trains leave every 5 minutes, so timetables are superfluous. We entered the train, and the burst of speed was appreciable in the tunnels compared with the relative sluggishness of the tube. We alighted at Farringdon and explored the cavernous passageways, empty of clutter or advertising for now. We climbed to the surface via a funicular-style incline lift and walked around the Smithfield and St Barts area. Our intention to visit St Bartholomeus was stymied by the Netflix team who were filming a new drama inside. Luckily the film crew catering table let us help ourselves to tea while we discussed movie news with the team. Our next station was Whitechapel with its unique design allowing the new concourse to "float" above the three railways. The Underground (District, Hammersmith and City), Overground and new Crossrail lines all converge there. Our final stop was the strikingly modern Canary Wharf Station, five storeys high with a maritime inspired design. The station is contained within West India Docks and has an amazing roof garden on the roof level. We took the vast escalators to the roof to take in the views from the gardens (plants and trees from across the globe reflecting the maritime trade of the docks). Walking through the trees the sound of birdsong was notable, the secret was that part of the roof is exposed allowing birds to fly through the gardens. Nick led us to the roof gardens café where we had a late lunch looking east over the Docklands, now just a few minutes from central London.

Walkers were Brian, Nick, Sally, Rob P, Derek, Prem, Anne Marie, Zoe and Hedy.

Report by Brian
Our latest evening walk took place on a sunny evening in Pinner. Eleven walkers followed the Pinner Association "10 walks around Pinner" guide north via Waxwell Lane, passing several 17th century farmhouses. We welcomed back a former member doing first walk for ages. After a stop at the former Lilley villa, we continued through Metro-Land suburbs of Pinnerwood Park with rose gardens and manicured lawns. Then onwards to the lush meadows of Pinner Hill. We admired Pinner Hill House and the fine Victorian Pinner Hill Farm (very ornate timber and brickwork). We next climbed to the summit of Pinner Wood and the viewpoint from the Georgian Mansion of Pinner Wood House. Our route then descended south, passing Tooke's Folly and several detached villas on the private roads of this secluded quarter. Kevin and Louise impressed us with local knowledge when pointing out former homes of Elton John and Bob Holness. Walk ended at Oddfellows Arms for drinks where Tim B outlined his plans for moving to Dorset.

Walkers were Brian, Tim B, Dee, Humay, Kevin, Louise, Pinder, Roger, Mark P, Kathryn and Dean T.

Report by Brian
Fourteen walkers met me at Baker Street including some new members via Meetup. We started our walk on the busy Marylebone Road and headed towards Paddington. Once we reached Praed Street we found the almost hidden entrance to Merchants Square which is the end of the Paddington Basin part of the Grand Union Canal. This top end is all new buildings and has many cafes and restaurants. We walked along admiring the architecture including the "Brunnel" building. There are also party boats, and kayaks for hire. We stopped to look at an amphitheatre which is currently rubble but I hope will be finished and used later in the summer. We continued onto the famous Little Venice which is more picturesque and as the coffee boat was busy we walked on a little further to the church (just set back off the canal) with a fabulous cafe and had our break. We were joined by two other HAWOG members at this time who spotted us from the canal, what luck!

We made out way onto the more run-down part of the canal which does have some character and came off at Goldbourne Road to stop at the very famous Portuguese cafe. Unfortunately as it was Saturday there was another massive queue so we decided to continue onto Portobello Market. As there were now 17 of us I was doubtful we would get through a busy market with all walkers keeping together. I had already stated this and given those who wanted my phone number plus general instructions of where to go. It was really just walking straight up through this fascinating the market to Notting Hill Gate. There was a pub at the top with a "secret garden" and for future reference this one was called the Sun in Splendour (unfortunately I had not remembered the name). Anyway several of us kept together and 7 of us went to the pub with several others contacting saying they had enjoyed the walk but were heading off or spending some further time exploring the market.

All in all a successful new walk so I would like to thank everybody who joined me.

Report by Pauline
Our first camping expedition of the year saw 14 stay at a new campsite for us. We enjoyed great weather as always and had nine along new to HAWOG camping, with Runi, joint leader, arranging her first weekend away for the group. The site has stunning views over the valley as we pitched camp to the sound of Boom Radio. Anne Marie and Phu stayed in a hand-crafted shepherds hut in a field full of glamping bell tents resplendent in the sunshine. Sandra won the prize for smallest tent from "4 peg Maree". As it was soon "cake o'clock" Runi surprised Kevin and Louise with prosecco and a scrumptious cake for their anniversary. After Chas's Turkish kebabs (long story) Nick joined us for the campfire. We gathered around the blazing logs for campfire yarns including Kevin and Louise's tale of their eight sheds.

On Saturday the early sun and Boom Radio woke us early for Coogee's strong coffee. Joan and Louise cooked sausage baps for all. Runi and Michael L led the 10 mile walk. A very scenic route through buttercup meadows and sheep pastures passing the villages of Radnage and Bledlow Ridge. We strolled past impressive farmhouse and stables and a final climb to West Wycombe church and mausoleum on the summit. We had our picnic there with panoramic views on such a clear day. Red kites were a feature the entire weekend and there they soared closer than ever, swooping for leftovers, photographed by a group of bird spotters with zoom lenses. We then explored the picturesque village of West Wycombe with its coaching inns and cottages. Tea and cakes were just the ticket at the Apple Orchard tea rooms. Our route back took in more hills and fields of maize before the climb to 'The City'. Back at site "the miracle of the keys" occurred; 'By Golly' said Sally as she popped out the cava to celebrate. Sharing round the glasses we tucked into some rather splendid cupcakes from Louise. In the evening Runi had arranged the meal at The Crown next door. We had two tables with a wedding reception in the marquee. Brian F joined us for the meal and caught up with the group news. Back at camp Malcolm lit the campfire, Zack toasting the marshmallows. The sing song was led by Coogee with his trusty ukulele again in fine tune.

Sunday was another scorchio. Over many rounds of tea we struck camp to Boom and headed for Chinnor. At the heritage railway station we crossed by the signal box and, over coffees and pastries at the platform café we cheered the arrival of the steam train. Some of the group took the next train out and Brian led the rest on a 5 mile walk along the Ridgeway. After climbing to the ridge, we took the chalk track eastwards. At a meadow full of sheep and lambs we waved at the others on the steam train chuffing by. At Bledlow village we strolled past the manors and cottages with wisteria and rose gardens in bloom. We reached the ever-delightful Lyde Gardens and wandered around the water gardens with its tropical features. As the afternoon sun beat down, we stopped at the village green for cooling drinks at The Lions. We took in the views, with a vespa scooter rally and several road cycle groups racing by, with the steam train's whistle ringing out in the distance.

Campers were Brian, Runi, Coogee, Sally, Malcolm, Sandra, Joan, Kevin, Louise, Anne Marie, Phu, Laura, Maree, Tony and Zack, with surprise guests Michael L, Nick and Brian F.

Report by Brian
Fourteen keen walkers met just before 10:00am at Chipperfield Common car park for this popular and varied 10 mile circular walk. The weather was a little cloudy but warm and ideal for walking, although rain was forecast for later. Setting off in a clockwise direction across the common, we joined the Hertfordshire Way at Top Common and walked the steady incline towards the adjoining Berrybush and Langley Lodge Farms. Through the farms and the cow pastures beyond, with no threatening cattle in sight, we skirted Berrybushes Wood before descending the steep incline to the farm track in the valley below. A steep descent invariably means a steep incline to follow and this was no exception as we climbed the steep ascent to Little Westwood Farm and Bucks Hill House at the top. After crossing a lane, another steep descent was taken through a small wood to Bottom Lane before negotiating yet another steep incline towards Newhall Farm. With an end to any more hill climbing and the faint hum of traffic on the M25 in the distance, we then headed along a straight wide farm track for about half a mile to Micklefield Green. Crossing the busy Sarratt to Croxley Green road, within fifteen minutes we arrived at Church End, Sarratt for our lunch break around 12:30pm.

Unfortunately, it then started to rain, so whilst some of us took our lunch in the porch of Holy Cross Church, others decided to have theirs in the Cock Inn opposite. After our 45 minute break, we joined the familiar Chiltern Way, high above the Chess valley, to continue our walk through the well managed Sandfield Wood, Dawes Common and open farmland towards the horse meadows at Rose Hall and Bragman's Farms beyond. The rain now began to fall rather heavily for the remainder of the walk and with raingear on, we headed towards Newhouse Farm, the outskirts of Flaunden and Black Robins Farm. From open farmland the countryside now changed to woodland for the final stretch back to Chipperfield Common. Lower Plantation and Woodman's Wood were negotiated before arriving at Belsize for the short climb back to our starting point on the Common. Whilst some went back to their cars, half of the party finished the walk with an enjoyable drink in the popular Blackwell's Café.

Although the weather turned to rain during the afternoon, a great walk was enjoyed by everyone, namely Michael, Narshi, Indira, Runi, Angela, Louise, two Kevins, Laura, Pankaj, Katherine, Esther and Harsesh.

Report by Michael
The famous five arrived at Southampton on a sweltering day by the coast. We headed to the quay to catch the ferry to Hythe. The "ticket office" was just a wooden shed hidden in the vast Red Funnel complex. The Hythe Ferry and Pier Railway eschew all modern fads and keep to the system created in 1922. We sailed across the Solent passing the new fleet of leviathan hotel-sized cruise liners. Yachts sailed around us as we reached Hythe Pier. We then boarded the unique Hythe Pier Railway. Celebrating its centenary this year, the electric locomotives and rolling stock were converted from the military railway of WW1 and all have been running ever since. We rattled along the pier, admiring the vessels out to sea through the open doorways (why fit doors after a hundred years?). We explored the bunting festooned streets of Hythe village and had our picnic at the sea front park, busy with people on such a fine day.

Back in Southampton we walked through the old town, its medieval walls and towers largely intact. As the afternoon sun was bearing down we stopped at the Georgian hotel (within the town walls) for cooling drinks and more cake (for some) on the terrace. Shortly afterwards, we heard the cruise ship sounding her horn as she slowly headed for the ocean. We waved towards the passengers silhouetted against the blue sky on the sun deck of the vessel. Our walk continued along the town wall walkway via Tudor and Georgian buildings. A final ice cream stop was just the ticket before we jumped on the fast train back home.

Walkers were Brian, Soraya, Kevin, Louise and Luna (Timmy).

Report by Brian
On what looked to be as Brian would say a 'scorcheo' day, 8 happy hikers met at Great Missenden Station. We set off on the road until the first of many fields, pausing at the top for a water break before entering the wood. It was pleasing to see some remaining bluebells, although sadly they were depleted in number. Through the woods to the Queen's Seat for a quick snack, and one reduced their walking trousers into shorts, although Mike was not convinced to participate. Few stops to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings and a few photos. Pleasing to admire and spend few moments to appreciate nature. Continuing, we enjoyed the shade of woods emerging out to "The View". Our bench was taken by a couple, so we continued downwards, then up again, and had 2 minutes to sit on the bench on the opposite side. This is when the the reality of where we just walked from, surrounded by lush green trees and sunshine, hit home. We could have been anywhere in the world. Walking past and admiring Hamden House with the dragons on the top one realised we were approaching our lunch stop. We had sole use of the marquee, and great banter was had over lunch. Discussions on "where's your next walk?", to how to decide the names of walks. From "The Best Ever" to "Shakespeare themed", what can be next? "Carry On" themes were discussed, and Monty Python. Watch this space. And some shared possibilities of future walks.

Refreshed, we set off on the final leg of our journey. Mike introduced me to The Fast Show, and Issey Miyake Perfume. Carrying on, all downhill now to end our day, passing Roald Dahl Museum, to our farewells. A beautiful day out - great weather, scenery and company.

Thank you to Mike D, Sarah, Mick, Pat, Lesley, Marianne, Malcolm and Diane for joining me.

Report by Dee
Fourteen walkers met at the Manor Farm site for our first evening walk of the season. As always, we took a look at the historic manor house, motte and restored barns of this heritage area. We then followed the Celandine Way through the manicured lawns of this very quiet part of Ruislip (more post-box knitted hats seen on the way). We then entered the Ruislip Woods and followed the tracks to the Lido. The evening was very sunny with the rays of the setting sun reflected in the waters as we gathered on the sandy beach. Some of the four dogs with us went for a swim in the lake, Logan venturing well out as always. We swapped stories of swimming in the Lido back in the day plus taking a ride on the railway. The walk continued through the wooded path surrounding the lake. We reached the Waters Edge pub for drinks with fine views across the lake.

Walkers were Brian, Dean T, Runi, Kerry, Soraya, Debbie L, Mick W, Kevin, Louise, Anne Marie, Vic, Pinder, Derek and Prem.

Report by Brian
Three cyclists met at Didcot Station on a very warm sunny morning for the Thames Valley cycle ride. Passing the GWR heritage railway centre we heard the steam locos chuff by. We followed Sustrans route 5 for most of the day. First village was Long Wittenden, with many thatched cottages, before we reached the Thames and the hamlet of Clifton Hamden and its unusual church overlooking the river. Our next stop was the ancient village of Dorchester on Thames. The high street (full of coaching inns and cottages) was resplendent with bunting for the annual arts festival. We joined the festival in the cloisters of the abbey. Some rather spiffing tea and cakes was the order as we listened to the bands and explored the craft stalls.

We crossed the Thames at Shillingford and climbed to Bridewell Vineyards. We cycled up to the shop and chatted to the owner, waiting for the invite to try some wines, not forthcoming so we continued to Wallingford. The afternoon sun was now beating down so we were glad to happen upon another unexpected festival in this delightful town. The spring vintage transport festival was in full flow with a vast array on display including jeeps, VW campervans, Porsches, Triumph motorcycles and many secondhand cycles for sale. We had our picnic lunch in the shade beside the showground.

Our route then continued along the Ridgeway bridlepath through the secluded hamlets on the east bank of the Thames. At one we stopped at the green to see a couple of overs of the cricket match. The ride ended at the Thameside town of Goring and trains back to London.

Cyclists were Brian, Kerry and Anneke.

Report by Brian
Although this was a repeat of an earlier walk, as a result of a recent recce we included a couple of changes to the route. From the aquadrome in Rickmansworth we walked along the Grand Union Canal until it joined the weir at the River Gade. Then into Cassiobury Park where we stopped for a drink before setting off to walk through wheat fields which stretched as far as the eye could see. Next was the danger zone where the footpath crossed a golf course with signs asking us to beware of flying golf balls. Fortunately we all passed through unscathed. Up a steep hill to the entrance to bluebell woods where we found a deep dell where we had lunch. Then on past a working farm and to a pub where we had a well deserved drink before walking back to the aquadrome. A very enjoyable walk with a whole variety of scenes on the 10 mile route.

Runi and I both enjoyed the company of Mark A, Jalpa, Joan, Michael L, Hema, Vito, Angela, Ann-Marie, Olivia and Soraya.

Report by Ian
Nine of us met at Wimbledon Park Station on a fine Saturday morning. We made our way across Wimbledon Park, passing the very busy tennis courts and bustling activities, to see the sailing boats on the lake and a clutch of geese chicks inquisitive about the bread throwers. We left the park and headed down Church Road and were now outside the All England Tennis Club where we found we could go inside for a mini look around. Onwards then towards Wimbledon Common with its variety of tracks. We were looking for the one that took us to the windmill and tea room. Suitably refreshed we took the track to the edge of the common and crossed into Richmond Park. After a short stretch we arrived at the Isabella Plantation. With the sun out we delighted in the array of colours provided by the azaleas and rhododendrons.

After lunch by the lake we decided to head to Richmond as most of the group were not familiar with this walk. The sights on the way included the lodge, King Henry's mound, the viewpoint over the Thames and the RBL poppy factory near the Star and Garter. We were now in Richmond and headed straight to a riverside pub to sit outside in the pleasant sunshine.

Thanks to Rita, Sharon, Jenny, Monica, Joan, Annette, Marianne and Mark A for joining me.

Report by Nick
The rain showers had dissipated by the time I arrived at Cowleaze car park. My one solitary fellow walker, Kalpna, was patiently waiting for me. Despite the lack of a large group (possibly because of last weekend's postponement) we decided to boldly proceed for the full walk. As we set off downhill towards Aston Rowant nature reserve, the sun emerged with a fine day in store. We joined the Ridgeway, one of the world's most ancient pathways, till we came to White Mark Hill, one of several ascents and this one the steepest. Stopping to catch our breath and take in the scenery, we proceeded through the yew forest and various tracks till we climbed another hill. Kalpna and I had our lunch, appreciating the magnificent views of the Oxfordshire countryside, then suddenly a red kite swooped just past my head from behind in an attempt to snatch my smoked meat sandwich. I could feel the power of its huge wings. Shaken but not stirred, we finished our packed lunch without further ambush.

We walked through a very fine bluebell wood amidst the towering beeches and arrived at The Fox and Hounds pub at Christmas Common. After a refreshing libation of Thatcher's Gold cider, we carried on past a field of sheep and their crying lambs. Unusually, the little balls of wool came right up to us and we coddled and petted them like delighted kids on a farmyard visit. The two of us proceeded through the glorious Shotridge Wood and skirted around the Wormsley Estate through young woodlands and spring meadows. One final hill, a stroll through the woods and we were back at the start after five hours.

Many thanks to Kalpna for her companionship on this very fine Chilterns walk.

Report by Tim
A happy band of 23 HAWOGians landed in Leominster at different times and bounced straight into the fun fair which had taken over most of the town square. After dragging Sally off the dodgems we wandered through the town which is part of the Black and White Villages Trail. Higgledy piggeldy buildings nestled amidst the hostel and 12th century minster church, and we were assured by non-drinkers that it wasn't just the alcohol which made them wonky.

Saturday started in Kington where the obligatory faffing permitted Rob to enjoy local rhubarb frangipan whilst everyone moved their cars several times. Steve was delighted with the remarkably improved speed of starting HAWOG walks, having not joined us for quite some months. Only 1.25 hours later than planned we set off up Offa's Dyke Path, following a winding road to the summit. After a few more ups and downs, each hill was surprisingly only 20 minutes away from the planned lunch stop at Old Radnor. The pub did not disappoint, revealing the Welsh mountains and the English hills on either side. Daniel learnt to use a whistle and we all shook up. After another welcome hill climb to a 400m summit, with a couple of elegant and dramatic tumbles, we ended up with fabulous panoramic views of the Welsh hills and English countryside across the ridge. This beautiful area inspired the 1974 album 'Hergest Ridge' by the English musician Mike Oldfield. As we meandered downhill (finally!) we saw the amazing wild Welsh ponies and monkey trees. Competely unexpectedly we had clocked up 12 miles with elevation of 1800ft. Dinner was taken in the great pub by the river, where the local hen party welcomed everyone so long as they were male. Brian took an unknowing group back to the hostel via the graveyard which thankfully was unoccupied at that time of night. We sat in wrapt attention back in the hostel as Nick brought us fully up to date with politics and the natural habitat of hares.

Sunday brought an unexpected drive to Wales for Prem and Derek when their satnav decided it wanted to go on holiday too, before meeting up with the rest of the Grand National riders at the stables. They then joined us as we ambled along the river banks at Hay on Wye for three miles, with another couple of walkers taking well earned tumbles to get back to civilisation. We spent a leisurely afternoon in Hay exploring the fantastic bookshops, charity shops and tea shops with ice creams.

Monday saw us break camp and most headed to Hereford, traditional market town where Sandra grabbed the ginormous bull between the horns and we saw the Mappa Mundi which originates from 400 AD, one of the oldest medieval maps in the world. As the map didn't show Harrow on the Hill, we left it there. We bumped into a stationary Elgar on his cycle, and three gentleman of the road who were drinking with him. One of the happy chaps told us that he had been in a regiment with Lewis Collins, which must have been tricky as he was never in the army. Aruna provided us with contraband lemon cake in the stunning cafe in All Saints church. And then we went home.

Many thanks to the happy band of revellers, Tim B, Malcolm, Steve, Brian, Nick, Coogee, Daniel, Derek, Rob, Daniel, Prem, Martina, Diane, Helen, Jackie, Azadeh, Sally, Chrissy, Christine, Liane, Rachel and Sandra. A particular thanks to those helping with map reading, as those hills wouldn't navigate themselves! Well done everyone.

Report by Jan
On a sky blue, cloud free morning six met at North Harrow Station. Greetings were made and we set off to our first park (Yeading). Walking through and chatting it did not take long to reach Streamside. A quick detour to the "Telephone Box Book Library" where I picked up a book. Back on route to Roxbourne Park, crossing the bridge, where the train driver tooted at us, so we dutifully waved back. This set the mood pre next park were there was a zip wire. One enthusiastic walker had to be reminded there were 3 children using it, so she queued. We all had a turn, and it brought out the inner child in us all (and great fun). We continued, Olivia counting the parks. Crossing Field End Road another suddenly got their bearings. Discussed navigation, as drivers to what we can miss in local areas. Continuing behind Cavendish, we continued through to behind Highgrove and looked at the Bletchley plaque, and discussed the history of the area. A break at Eastcote Wall Gardens Cafe. We enjoyed the break and then appreciated the garden.

Over halfway now, we carried on back via Joel Street then through alleys and fields to reach Pinner Memorial Park and a quick break to use the facilities, watch a resident heron and admire the space. Then through Pinner High Street, with discussions and recommendations on where to eat, and via Wakemans Hill we returned to North Harrow Station where we said our goodbyes. A great, witty group.

Thank you to Olivia, Dianne, Punkish, Hira and Nandu for joining me.

Report by Dee
For our second spring colours walk of this sun-filled weekend around twenty-five gathered at the charming riverside terrace at Richmond. After coffees and pasties (and some late arrivals) we finally set off. Serendipity was the watchword for the day. Our first happenstance was a new café before the Petersham meadows (noted for future excursions). In Petersham we admired the many mansions in this historic hamlet, passing the fine parish church on route. Into Richmond Park we ascended to Pembroke Lodge (lots of fallow deer on the ascent). We climbed King Henry's Mount to view St Pauls through the telescope and took in great views over the Thames Valley. Rob P guided us through the park to reach Isabella Plantation. We strolled around the kaleidoscopic display of azaleas on display in this delightful enclosure; pink, red and purple were the dominant colours. Nick was the bearer of another gift, the discovery of a hidden pond with the vibrant colours of the azaleas reflecting in the water. We had our picnic in the sunshine by the lake; lashings of pop and some awfully nice upside-down cake.

Derek had cycled here to meet us and sped off on his new electric bike in a blur of speed. We walked through Richmond Park, with views across London and to the south. At Ham Gate we entered Ham village, noting the splendid wisteria in bloom on the many manors around the village. Then, serendipity again, as we happened upon an open garden banner inviting us into the extensive gardens of a mansion. It was Pimms o'clock inside; as we filled our glasses the host (a charming fellow) asked how far we had walked. "I say, you've all done jolly well" he replied to our answer. After a tour of the colourful garden (box hedges and many features) we carried on towards the river. After admiring the Jacobean majesty of Ham House, we caught the ferry across to west bank. At Orleans House (home of exiled king of France) we enjoyed a final tiffin stop in the stable's café after a rather splendid spring colours walk.

Walkers included Brian, Rob P, Derek, Prem, Nick, Angela, Olivia, Peter, Humay, Kevin, Louise, Sally, Martina, Malcolm, Diane, Katherine, Soraya, Joan, Dawn, Laura and quite a few others (apologies as so many on the walks nowadays).

Report by Brian
Our first bluebell wood walk for 3 years saw 15 visit the Perivale Nature Reserve. On a very sunny day the bluebells were magnificent in the sunshine. We explored the paths and tracks through carpets of bluebells and many ancient oak and ash trees. A couple of us managed to pay at the gate, so a lesson for next year for those who tried to book. We met up after the circuit for tea and cake at the meadow. One of the servers was a fellow park runner. We then climbed to the summit of Horsenden Hill for panoramic views over London. Our descent included the Gruffalo Trail where Mark P and Luke found the hidden sculptures. We finished at the very popular Horsenden Hill Farm with its pop-up café and bar. Some musicians were jamming in the afternoon sun, so we grabbed a free table for wheat beers and Rita's supply of sandwiches. Jan and Dawn ordered more pints and then surprise guest Dave T arrived. Still time for Pauline to order some rather spiffing pepperoni pizza for all after a jolly fine day out in Perivale countryside.

Walkers were Brian, Jan, Malcolm, Dawn, Hira, Mark P, Lisa, Linda, Ivan, Rita, Pauline and quite a few others (apologies, lost track of names).

Report by Brian
Seventeen of us met on a cloudless Sunday morning. Ambling past the fast flowing River Gade in Cassiobury Park, we soon crossed the ford and headed down the Grand Union Canal. Passing colourful narrowboats with eccentric names, we chatted along the way, as the group spread out. At Batchworth Lake, where the UK champion water-skiers practice, a speed boat suddenly took off, closely followed by an expert water skier, who dramatically carved through the water and disappeared out of sight. We regathered at the cafe by Bury Lake in Rickmansworth for a picnic on the grass, before setting off around the lake, with sail boats bobbing.

Through a gate, we entered the nature reserve at Stockers Lake, stopping to admire the beautiful scenery and wildfowl. Lake on one side and river on the other, in this little oasis. Circling the lakes, we rejoined the other side of Bury then Batchworth Lakes, retracing our steps along the canal, before branching off along the Ebury Way, path of a disused railway line. The scenery briefly changing to a woodland walk, passing allotments and imagining the old steam trains passing along the track. Walking and chatting we were soon back at the station, sun still shining. Averaging a good 3 miles an hour pace, finishing after 4 hours, including half hour lunch stop, about 11.5 miles in length. Four of us enjoyed a well-earned drink at the Essex Arms after, catching up on various past walks, adding an extra mile and a half, to walk off the beer, making about 13 miles.

Thank you to Humay, Kevin, Kalpna, Narshi, Indira, Ashvin, Katherine, Sanjeer, Jeetendra, Ranisi, Nandu, Hira, Valji, Zaira, Saura and Diane for coming, and for the interesting tales and tips from travelling past.

Report by Paul
On a sunny Good Friday morning 7 members (6 walkers and 1 cyclist) met on the grounds of Ibstone cricket ground. A mix of familiar faces and new ones, including a new member (but seasoned walker) who joined up the day before to come on the walk. We organised our rendezvous at the barn with cyclist Derek and set off, taking the Chiltern Way. Shortly after emerging from the Great Wood we were rewarded with a magnificent view looking towards Northend. We then braved the long climb to Northend and took a breather at the village pond. Next we were off to Turville Heath, passing through Swains Wood where pretty English bluebells were in bloom. Making good progress, and after the next ascent we emerged onto Turville Heath Common. Although they were fully booked, and we were half an hour early, the friendly Barn Cafe staff very kindly accommodated us weary walkers. We met Derek and all enjoyed lunch outside the courtyard. We spotted the lady of the manor (owner of the Barn and smallholdings), walking about in the sunshine. However, we spared her time for a history lesson (unlike last time teehee)! The Barn and Heath common were filled with families, cyclists, walkers, dogs and even a pony was visiting.

After a leisurely lunch we headed to Turville village and stopped by the Vicar of Dibley church and vicarage where we met Derek. The Cobstone windmill, perched on Turville hill, was luring up some walkers on the steep incline, and in the heat. Though thankfully none from our group! We left the village via a less gruelling climb and made our way to Ibstone church. Our final stretch took us through the cool shelter of Parsonage Wood and got back to our cars a little early, a great achievement by all. As a fitting reward we headed to the Fox Inn pub for post-walk refreshments and a chocolate Easter bunny.

My warm thanks to all the walkers: Angela, Asha, Shelesh, Sourabh, Prem and cyclist Derek (apologies for spelling errors) for the great company and joining me on one of my favourite walks in the Chilterns. I hope to see you soon.

Report by Aruna
19 of us went on an amazing holiday to the beautiful Cornwall coast of Treyarnon Bay. We all met on the Thursday night with people coming in at various times of the day. We all travelled the long distance from London, some came by train and some by car. Martina had provided an amazing kitty of food and Brian and Joan made sure we all had some lovely cake and tea. After settling into our rooms we set off for a gentle little jaunt around the coast near the hostel led by Anne and Brian. We then came back to a nice feast in the hostel and settled in for the night.

On Friday morning 10 of us headed off to Padstow to pick up some hired bikes and we set off on the famous Camel Trail. This is a 20 mile cycle on a circular route from Padstow to Bodmin along the old railway line which follows the River Camel. We had varying degrees of bikes; some had push bikes, some had e-bikes and Brian kindly had a tag-along bike so Daniel could join our trip. We set off from Padstow towards Bodmin. As we cycled along the path, our first stop was Wadebridge where we had the lovely views of the River Camel. Nishit and Soraya had some lovely drinks and both educated us on the finer side of dining. We left Wadebridge with Rachel and Nick leading the pack as we continued on with beautiful views of forests of bluebells, and smells from wild garlic, as we headed towards Bodmin. Anneke was very knowledgeable about the types of flowers surrounding us.

Just before the halfway point at Bodmin we visited the Bodmin steam railway. We then found the tea shop. We stopped there for lunch and Daniel had the most amazing vegan pasty and the rest of us had soup and glorious food. A few of the boys: Nick, Chris and Nishit headed into Bodmin to visit the old jail. I think the two boys locked Nick up and we should be getting him out in the next 5 years. The rest of us headed back to the Camel Valley winery where Mark P said it was the most amazing wine he ever had. It was a steep climb up to the top but the views were magnificent. With a refreshing glass of wine in hand we waited for the boys to come back and join us and then we all headed back towards Padstow. On the way back we had some gentle showers but nothing could dampen our spirits as we went through the beautiful countryside of the Camel Trail. When we arrived back at Padstow a few went over to the famous Rick Stein's restaurant and had fish and chips. Some of us went back to the hostel and had dinner there. The rest of the group had divided into two, some going sightseeing to the local National Trust and some going on a walk where they found the famous big hole. This big hole led to many discussions on how it came to be there, a most engaging discussion and more enjoyable as we had no internet and the 'google gang' couldn't find the answer.

Saturday brought the most beautiful glorious sunny day. We all got up early and headed off at about 9:17 for a walk on the coastal path towards Newquay. All 19 of us decided to do the walk and we were joined by Liane 2 miles into the walk at the beautiful cove of Porthcothan. We had a quick break for some coffee and refreshments and took in the most beautiful beach. Our next stop should have been going down the Bedrudhen Steps to hit the beach there but unfortunately there had been a bit of a landslide and we were not able to get down the steps. We then stopped for lunch in the National Trust cafe. Our walk continued on to Magan port which was supposed to be our final destination at 8 miles. But some of us were not tired and decided to walk all the way back to do a glorious 16 miler. With the wind in our hair and music in our souls we headed back, stopping in Port Cothan for ice cream with Nishit having a triple whammy. Yes Runi we did it! With Kayla and Chris taking over the lead of the rest, the consensus was not to continue any further so they all sat in the pub drinking wine. They got a bus back later. Thanks Anne for saving all the big kids. We then all got showered and changed and dressed up for Saturday night with a traditional band who played at the hostel and we had a little dance. Later on Janet entertained us with her gymnastics stool routine.

On Sunday we were up again for our boat trip. We were travelling to Newquay by car and then we were supposed to do a 2 to 3 hour seal trip. Unfortunately, when we got to Newquay, Martina realised that the boat trip had been booked incorrectly and we could no longer go out on the boat because the tide was out, so Brian took the decision to take us into Newquay and we all enjoyed the train ride. A few of us found Millets and we decided to purchase lots of gear for our next trip. Joan, Daniel and I found the best fish and chip shop in town for our lunch. Soraya and Mark found an alternative healthy guru venue. Another lovely day. We headed back to the hostel where we met with the rest who had walked to Padstow and then dined in Rick Stein's restaurant. On our last night the giant Jenga came out with Zoe being top master. We also played charades with Mark coming out on top.

On Monday morning we all were up early to check out and go our separate ways. Brian, Chris and Mark spent the morning on Bodmin steam railway, did the complete length of the line, explored all 3 stations and lunched at Bodmin station cafe, where Chris had his 5th Cornish Pastie of the holiday.

Thanks to all who came to make the weekend magical: Nick, Rachael, Brian, Chris, Mark P, Nishit, Mark A, Janet, Christine, Anne, Kayla, Anneke, Zoe, Joan, Liane, Soraya, Runi and Michael.

Report by Martina
Six walkers met at Watford Station for the start of the day's adventure. Wandering leisurely through the nature area we headed towards Whippendell Woods, picking up Sonia on route. It was lovely to see the first bursts of bluebells - another 7-10 days and it will be a carpet of blue. Continuing through, we saw the alpacas. Sadly they were camera shy, so we carried on behind York House School. Returning - a few recognised where they were - and after a water break, we returned to Cassiobury Park via the canal. Pausing at Daisy's, we had tea and snacks. Thanks to Bharti for sharing her soup, which tasted homemade. Then most of the group decided to check out the "Jurassic Encounter"; it brought out the inner child in Katherine and me, and Dianne enjoyed an '99 ice cream.

Thank you to Dianne, Bharti, Katherine, Marianne, Hasmita, Pankaj and Sonia for joining me.

Report by Dee
Seven met at Princes Risborough for the steam railway walk. The station is shared between Chiltern mainline and Chinnor Railway so ideal for connections. As the whistles blew, we climbed aboard the heritage carriages for the scenic journey passing the Chiltern hamlets and cricket pitch on the way. At Chinnor we alighted from the steam train and walked to join the Ridgeway National Trail. On such a sunny day there were great views of the Oxfordshire Plain below. We reached the sleepy village of Bledlow and after touring the famous Lyde Gardens we had a leisurely lunch at the Lions pub (good value Sunday roasts). The pub front garden was busy with walkers, cyclists and passing horse riders, with the sounds and views of the steam trains passing back and forth just below us.

We then climbed along the Icknield Way footpath up to Lacey Green and the impressive windmill on the ridge. It was an open day so we took advantage of the guided tour of all the levels. The last leg was a long descent through meadows full of sheep and lambs back to Princes Risborough for trains back to London. Distance recorded as 10.5 miles so will correct details next time walk is added.

Walkers were Brian, Humay, Joan, Kevin, Louise, Saraub and Julia.

Report by Brian
12 walkers met outside Gerrards Cross Station on a perfect walking weather day. From the station we headed off across Gerrards Cross common and then following the road down to Fulmer where we paused for a few moments to admire the village. At Fulmer we started our journey along Shakespeare's Way which is a long distance path from Stratford Upon Avon to London. This path took us across Stoke Common, where some paused to look at the corrugated sheeting that had been put down to encourage some of the reptile life that can be found in this area. We then continued onwards to Farnham Common and then into Burnham Beeches where we stopped at the café for lunch.

After lunch we continued along Shakespeare's Way through Burnham Beeches until we reached Littleworth Common, where we said goodbye to Shakespeare's Way and started our return journey, which would take us through Egypt Woods and on to the village of Hedgerley, where we stopped for group photos by the village pond. We then made our way through the RSPB nature reserve of Church Wood. As we made our way through these woods, we took time to take in the flowers that were just coming into bloom and admire a small group of giant redwood trees. We had a small problem leaving the woods as the footpath led to a very overgrown stile, which forced the walkers to climb over a gate and fence. Undeterred we then carried on across open fields, before arriving back into Gerrards Cross, where we said our goodbyes.

Many thanks to Michael, Laura, Angela, Jo K, Sean, Nirav, Efisia, Kalpna, Ekta and Sorga.

Report by Malcolm
On another fine sunny afternoon 22 of us met at Tide Tables for coffee, cakes, and introductions to newer walkers. We set off on the Thames Path, lots of Edwardian skiffs on the riverside. We crossed to east bank at the lock footbridge and continued through Isleworth old village with its mix of Regency and Strawberry Hill Gothic architecture. On to Syon Park with its landscaped estate and group photo in front of the 18th century palace. Lulu surprised a sunbathing couple by leaping on them and never stopped running ahead of us. We joined the Grand Union at Brentford, passing lots of house boats and boat yards. We popped into the artists' studios on Johnson Island then Carole then led us to the hidden outdoor café by the Brewery Arms. We all had a slice of Mona's rather splendid homemade date and walnut cake.

We continued through the classic car courtyard (a Plymouth and Rolls and others on display) on to The Butts with its Georgian townhouses around the square. We then crossed back at Kew Bridge where Rob led us to Gainsborough's tomb at Kew village church. Crossing the green we arrived at the station parade, with its awfully inviting row of tea shops. Just the ticket said all so we ended with tea and apple cake after a jolly good afternoon stroll by the Thames.

Walkers were Brian, Jan, Rob W, Tim B, Tim P, Rita, Mona, Bob, Carole, Ivan, Ashwin, Nicky, Sonia, Derek, Prem, Sonia, Chris, Maria and others (forgot names, sorry).

Report by Brian
Eight of us met in the woodland car park. We set off but all was not quite rosy in the jungle. The elephant was on its back and the bear had lost its nose, thankfully just the wooden sculptures. The shell sculptures were still intact, giving us our first vista over the villages around Maidenhead. Onwards through the woods and steeply down to the the River Thames in all its glory. We walked along the banks past the islands with the geese honking and the wild flowers, and came upon Queen Victoria's private landing site, followed quickly on by the cottage reputedly to have been the site of the 'Profumo Affair'. Maree and Kevin had a shiftee through the window of the next cottage. You can rent them; not cheap by all accounts but such a fantastic setting. And then - what goes down must come up! And we climbed up the deep steps. We got up there past the ampitheatre. Nitti said we should do a performance. We saw our first of a selection of semi-naked statues (mostly female, we only found one male). We went through the long garden with its fantastic topiary and planting. To the house and its amazing presence and architecture and opulence and the sculptured parterre gardens. Then with the assistance of Katherine we went to the Japanese Garden, wow! I couldn't understand how only a small group could keep getting lost. We then went back through the woods, visited some more spectacular views at the duke's statue. Took a detour to Clive's den (where we made a little girl and her dad wait while we did a photo). And we got back with a bit of time to spare before the car park closed.

The weather was fair and the company was delightful. All in all we walked 6.3 miles. It was lovely to meet Anusha and Shona as new members. And thanks to Maree, Louise, Kevin and Nitti for joining me. And special thanks to Katherine for her Cliveden knowledge. It's a place I think everyone should go to.

Report by Zoe
Twenty one adults and Soreya's dog met at Embankment Station on a cold but sunny day. We proceeded across the road to the Uber Thames Link Clipper and after queuing and the lady at the booth next door trying to get us to buy the tourist trip tickets we bought our tickets. It was a very busy day for the Clipper and sadly five of us got on the first boat and the rest of us had to wait for the second which was just 5 minutes behind. Most of us sat inside the boat ready to enjoy the ride and the famous buildings along both banks of the Thames. On our arrival at Greenwich we met up with the rest of the group and started our walk through the town to the park and hill leading to the observatory where we took in the spectacular views of London. We had a break to enjoy some food and refreshments.

We then proceeded to find the deer park but were disappointed as the deer had only recently been moved to Richmond Park. We then walked through the flower garden and strolled round the park. Mark explained some of the buildings and took us to the park where there are fantastic views of the Thames. We also walked on a Roman path. We then made our way back to Greenwich village where we spent some time at the market taking in the variety of craft and jewellery stalls. We then walked along the Thames Path to the Trafalgar pub where we finished our walk with a well earned drink.

Thanks to everyone who joined me on Saturday. We were very lucky with the weather; the sun stayed out for most of the day.

Report by Christine

On Friday, 30 of us congregated in Liverpool on a fine Friday afternoon. As we arrived early we decided to take advantage of the weather and headed up Mathew Street to the River Mersey, passing the cavern and Cilla Black. We had a photo opportunity with the fab 4 and Billy Fury, then had a lovely stroll around the Albert Dock, stopping at the pump house for a refreshing drink. We headed on back to the hostel for a freshen-up before we set out for our evening entertainment. We had a scrumptious meal at the lovely Hard Days Night Hotel. The meal was just fabulous and we celebrated a birthday in the group. Some of the night owls carried on to Sergeant Peppers with lots of dancing and singing taking us into the early hours of the morning.

On Saturday, we were up early to start our hectic day of sightseeing. Our first stop was at St George's Hall. The tour was led by Sean, a very enthusiastic gentleman who gave us all the history of this fabulous building. We also found out about the super lambanana; 125 of them can be spotted all over Liverpool. With a quick coffee stop the whistle was blowing, time to move on. We walked on up Mount Pleasant to the Metropolitan Cathedral, nicknamed the Wigwam. We climbed the large amount of steps to the entrance and had a wander around. Our next stop saw us walk along Hope Street, passing the Everyman Theatre and a quick look in as some musicians were playing. We gave them a clap and carried on passing the Philharmonic Hall and some luggage created by a well known artist. We reached the Anglican Cathedral and were not disappointed. I think I heard everyone say wow. We were able to go to the top of the cathedral tower, passing the enormous bell on the way. After climbing the stairs we were delighted with the views of the city. On such a fabulous day we were able to pick out lots of iconic buildings and stadia.

Sunday saw us take to the ferry across the Mersey. Lovely to hear the song and all the history along the docks and local area. Some took a tour of the city, taking in all the sights and houses of the Beatles. We ventured to the Baltic Triangle to visit the street market. Very retro, with a trip inside the Peaky Blinders Bar. With a quick glimpse of the yellow submarine we ventured in to this once known boutique hotel at the Albert Dock. Some enjoyed the Museum of Liverpool and the art galleries. We bid farewell to some, with 21 staying on an extra night and 15 of us headed into Chinatown for a fabulous meal. We were not disappointed, it had to be some of the best Chinese food we had ever tasted. The night owls were out again and having a nightcap in the Adelphi Hotel, where lots of laughter was had.

Monday saw us de-bunk. Our last port of call was the fabulous Dean Street Kitchen on Duke Street, to end with a fabulous breakfast. We were not surprised there were constant queues outside this place for breakfast. Well worth a trip.

Thank you to Daniel, Christine, Lisa, Mark A, Jan, Helen, Mary, Janet, Coogee, Cynthia, Joan, Brian, Judith, Dean S, Nick, Rachael, Martina, Colin, Elizabeth, Sally, Zoe, Nitty, Mark P, Sugandha, Anne, Aruna, Humay, Dean and Sarah for joining me on this fabulous weekend.

Report by Diane
On Sunday Heather welcomed nine eager current and future walk leaders to our next training event of the year. Heather arranged a one-day workshop covering basic navigation techniques including: an introduction to maps, orientation of the map, determining the direction of travel, distance, and timings, identifying map features, basic compass use and route planning. Hopefully all participants will soon be adding their walk for the group.

Attendees were Heddy, Hira, Rajinder, Harpreet, Janet, Zainul, Mary, Sanjeev and Olivia.

Report by Martina
7 of us met at Watford Station on a sunny but chilly Sunday morning. We headed off shortly after 9:30am, walking down to Cassiobury Park, over Jacotts Hill and west towards Croxley Green. From there, we headed northwest to Church End and Sarratt Bottom, and then walked along the Chess valley, turning north after Chenies Bottom. We then headed east and southeast to Sarratt, where we stopped on the green for lunch.

After lunch, we continued southeast to Chandlers Cross, and then through Harrocks Wood and Whippendell Wood, crossing the Grand Union Canal to return to Cassiobury Park from where we walked back up to Watford Station, which we reached at around 3:00pm.

Thanks to Amanda, Dee, Kalpna, Malcolm, Nirav and Soraya for joining me.

Report by Phil
13 met at Greenford Station on a beautiful sunny day. We headed off down the backstreets of Greenford, visiting some unusual parks that we had never seen before as we headed towards Perivale Park. We passed the grounds of Tara gaelic football club who are the rivals of Daniel's team TCG. We then entered Perivale Park and our first stop was at the Nicky Hopkins memorial bench. Nicky was a musician who played with some of the greatest stars, like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. We continued on over some lovely brooks and streams and the weather was still beautiful. We crossed over the Greenford Road and into to the Bunny Park. We all did the maze in Bunny Park and lost nobody. 6 of us went into Hanwell Zoo where we saw lima monkeys, armadillos, flamingos and cranes to mention a few of the animals. It's a wondrous zoo and well worth going to see. We then went to the local cafe and refreshed ourselves before we headed back again towards Greenford. We finished at Greenford in the Railway Bar and had a celebratory drink to end our day.

Thanks to Girija, Hasmita, Janet, Daniel, Martina, Diane, Marianne, Jackie, Ashwin, Tim B, Soraya, Angie and Sean for joining us.

Report by Martina
On a very sunny afternoon 19 of us met at Putney Bridge pavement cafe for the day's afternoon walk. We entered the extensive estate of Fulham Palace, the historic residence of the Bishop of London. Medieval and Georgian architecture with various carved sculptures in the walled gardens. Daffodils were all blooming in Bishop's Park next door. At Craven Cottage, Kerry and Tom explained about the original cottage which is still in place within the stadium. The long riverside promenade through Fulham and Hammersmith was busy with walkers, cyclists and scooterists on such a fine day. Jan arranged the refreshments at the Blue Anchor by Hammersmith Bridge.

With an effort we restarted on the walk, admiring the blue plaques on the Georgian terrace on Chiswick riverside. High tide had flooded the next section so a detour was called for, arriving at Chiswick village church and the tomb of Hogarth. Onto Chiswick House and the elegant Palladian architecture of Burlington's estate. We explored the landscaped gardens; a new sundial was notable with the hour shadow arranged via stone spheres around a calendar-based flagstone. At the sunny tea gardens Mona provided an awfully nice homemade date and walnut cake for everyone to celebrate the walk.

Walkers were Brian, Sally, Imelda, Kerry, Tom, Anneke, Jan, Monica, Mark P, Bob, Nicky, Sonia, Laura, Kevin, Louise, Mona, Anne Marie and Marie.

Report by Brian
It was a sunny spring day when a baker's dozen met at the Boot pub on St Patrick's Day. The story of Barnaby Rudge was told in the melee of Irish office workers watching the horse racing. We moved on to the Dickens Museum where Charles Dickens lived most of his life. From there we crisscrossed to the Betsy Trotwood but we were more interested in Pear Tree Court opposite, where Oliver Twist meets the Artful Dodger and pickpockets Mr Brownlow. Onwards to Saffron Hill and the One Tun (Three Cripples in Oliver). Stopped for a drink in 'Spoons before descending to Fagin's Lair just off Fleet Street.

Next to find London's most hidden pub, Ye Olde Mitre, the surprised faces when we entered an innocent looking alleyway and revealed the gem that resides there. Onwards to St Paul's and a brief history of Temple Bar. The evening was getting very busy everywhere in the city and it was decided to head straight over London Bridge to the Borough via Nancy's Steps (Oliver). We put aside Dickens to look at Bridget Jones flat and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The George Inn (Little Dorrit) was busy as expected but we sat outside in the huge courtyard and appreciated the fine balustrade. We crossed over the river via the Wobbly Bridge after a photo stop at the Globe Theatre. Next on the list was Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities) in Fleet Street. On the way to Charing Cross we snuck into the Hen and Chicken Courtyard, the site of Sweeney Todd's barber shop which supplied Mrs Lovett's pie shop just behind us in Bell Yard.

Many thanks to Rachael, Sally, Pankaj, Mark P, Mark A, Hasi, Chris, Maria, Mike, Anne and the family of 3 that left early for a birthday party.

Report by Nick
Henley riverside was full of cycle groups and hikers at the cafe terrace enjoying pre-excursion refreshments as the boats sailed by. Our route was a loop around the villages and hills surrounding Henley. The bridleways and quiet lanes were perfect for off-road riding. Our first fast descent took some skill and there was one unnamed faller. We cycled through the picture postcard villages of Skirmett, Fingest and Turville. We popped into St Bartholomew at Fingest; our timing was out, as on departing the verger and team arrived with a huge flask and cups. At Turville we admired the famous windmill and church of Dibley fame. A long climb followed all the way to Christmas Common. Our lunch was in the very welcoming Fox and Hound pub where we enjoyed a Sunday roast after the climb.

Our next section was a breathtaking descent over two miles long, the glorious countryside flashing by. Our way back to Henley was on quiet lanes including a flooded section. The road sign "Road Closed" was, as is custom, ignored by cyclists. Back in Henley we had time for some final post-ride drinks at the riverside Angel Hotel watching the rowers and canoeists glide by.

Cyclists were Brian, Malcolm, Kerry, Dean, Coogee and Lydia.

Report by Brian
On a cloudy morning 6 of us met at Headstone Lane Station and walked down to Headstone Manor Park. The park was serenely quiet and we were able to explore the wonderful wildlife and surroundings. We gently made our way to the medieval grounds' barn and museum. The museum and barns have been beautifully renovated and restored. The entrance to this historic gem was free and a great way to learn about Harrow's heritage. Everyone loved exploring the past life and development of Harrow's landscape and development over the years. A brief coffee stop was made at the barn cafe where we all enjoyed banter with coffee and snacks.

We then headed back via a loop to take in the bottom end of Pinner Farm where we were greeted by the sounds of grazing cows and bulls. The picturesque scene was a delight and at times it was hard to believe we were within the metropolis of Harrow. A brief stop was also made at the Harrow garden centre to appreciate the seasonal plants and flowers for sale. The walk ended at Headstone Lane Station.

Thank you to my fellow walkers: Heddy, Deepinder, Asha, Christiana and Philomina for their wonderful humour and for travelling from afar to join me (apologies for any name misspellings).

Report by Alpa
24 people met at Baker Street Station on a fresh sunny spring day. We set out along Baker Street towards Regents Park. Spring felt ever closer with numerous magnolia trees on display. Daffodils were at their best all through the park. We made our way into Primrose Hill, and at the top we enjoyed spectacular views over London and far beyond to distant hills. I was pleased to find a number of our group had not been to Primrose Hill or enjoyed the fine view - hopefully they will return. Various small back streets led us to the lower slopes of Hampstead Heath where all manner of sporting activity was taking place. Onward to Highgate where we stopped by Highgate Cemetery, famed for the great and the good interred there.

Waterlow Park lays to the north of Highgate Cemetery and has a splendid cafe, where we stopped for lunch. There were too many of us to fit in the cafe but it was warm enough to sit out and enjoy the fresh air. Fully rested and fed we made our way to Highgate High Street with its quaint old pubs, cafes and book shops. As advertised, we stopped briefly to pay homage to the late George Michael. Now on to Hampstead Heath and Kenwood House with fine views over the heath and great toilets. Our last awesome viewpoint was Parliament Hill - slightly higher than Primrose Hill, so the view seems to encompass a a greater expanse of the city. The Flask pub in Hampstead was at the end of the walk, where a number of us had a well earned drink.

This was a really special day, thanks to the friendly people of HAWOG. Regards to all who joined me: Sarah, Paul, Beverley, Ollie, Mick, Pat, Chris, Marie, Saurabh, Malcolm, Laura, Amelda, Gill, Cathy, Perrin, Louise, Kevin, Sally, Maureen, Jeremy, Olivia, Christina and Mark.

Report by Mike
Seven Wednesday wanderers met outside The Case is Altered, a 17th century pub in old Eastcote on a lovely sunny morning. Opposite, we walked onto the cricket club (I divulged that I had played there once, literally once) and we skirted around the edge to admire the carpet of crocuses under the trees and along the bank. Crossing the road was a bit tricky as a bus and car had decided to get a bit too close but onwards we went. Chatting away we entered the woods on the bridleway which after a while became a bit boggy so we went a bit further into the woods until we came to the 'woodland roundabout'. With Con still searching for 'Mad Bess', we took the path up towards Northwood and St Vincent's Hospital where conversations went from nuns running the hospital in days gone by to a couple of us being taught by nuns and then onto terrible things that had happened at school. I only heard half of Chris's conversation but it had something to do with a plate? At the top admiring the views in the distance of the hospital at Mount Vernon we did a detour around Haste Hill golf course, and with the help of Katherine we managed to avoid flying golf balls and made our way to Ruislip Lido where we collectively decided to have lunch 'on the beach' and a well deserved sitdown and nosh was had. After pretending to be on holiday we made our way through another section of woods and crossed the roads to get onto the Celandine route for our return journey. Pankaj peeled off to collect his car and Chris and Delroy for a cheeky pint leaving the remainder to pay a quick visit to Eastcote House and Gardens to show Con where it was, and then goodbyes at the Case is Altered.

Thank you to my fellow wanderers Con, Chris, Delroy, Katherine, Nitti and Pankaj for a most enjoyable 6.8 miles.

Report by Zoe
13 walkers met me at Baker Street Station on a fairly dull and cold morning and we headed off to Regents Park. We managed to get a good look around the various parts of the park, including the rose garden (not at its best at this time of year but still worth a walk around for the small lake and waterfall), before moving onto the beautifully planted urns in the avenue gardens. Unfortunately the secret garden was closed due to water logging so we walked up the broadwalk to Camden. Camden was not as busy as pre pandemic but seems to be getting a bit more back to normal with the vast amount of stalls, eating and drinking places. The sun came out for a while and then we spilt up for lunch (impossible for 14 of us to stick together in the narrow alleys) and met back at the Amy Winehouse statue.

The last leg of the walk was along the Grand Union Canal to Kings Cross. The weather seemed to turn cooler and the breeze was very biting so we stepped up the pace to get a bit warmer. The route took us past the converted gasometers which are fabulous flats before getting into Coal Drops Yard and Granary Square. Several people headed home at this point whilst some preferred to mingle.

Many thanks to all my fellow walkers (I am sorry I didn't do a roll call so not going to list names) but you know who you are.

Report by Pauline
A group of 27 gradually assembled at Isleworth Station in a cold wind, appearing in twos and threes from warmer refuges, often one of the numerous welcoming coffee shops that grace the locality. The walk took us through Silverhall Park where a photo opportunity was taken by the original ice house before joining the north bank Thames Path by the Isleworth Ait. At a leisurely pace we made our way past Richmond Lock, the old sites of Richmond Ice Rink and the Belgian Village, past Marble Hill House and up to Twickenham Riverside. We walked through the quite quaint Church Street passing a huge Ukrainian support operation to then be warmly welcomed as a group at the quirky Eel Pie Museum with tea and coffee. There was a museum tour put on especially and some enjoyed it so much they decided to sign up for an Eel Pie 'passport' with a view to return to spend more time with the many exhibits that have been assembled to illustrate the island's varied history.

Most in the group then enjoyed a good lunch, in a number of sittings, at the Eel Pie pub as well as looking around the near vicinity before reassembling for the walk back down the river to Isleworth. Those who decided that the day had been too short proceeded to investigate the London Apprentice where good conversation extended well into the evening. Thanks to all of you who provided excellent company throughout.

Report by Tim
Our first Surrey Hills walk this year was on a cold and sunny morning at Witley. Eleven walkers, quite a few from Friday's social, Kevin and Louise got top marks with three events attended this weekend. We set off from the platform before joining the Greensand Way. We walked alongside a donkey sanctuary and through the shooting grounds of the Combe Court estate. The footpaths and bridleways were all slightly boggy after the previous week's storms. We noted the many large cottages adorned with the red tile cladding so typical of the Surrey Hills. Rounding a corner we reached the timeless village of Chiddingfold. The village has a perfect setting around the common and pond (full of coy carp), with the medieval church facing the 14th century Crown Inn. After exploring the church with its impressive stained glass windows, we took in the colourful displays of crocuses in the churchyard. At the Crown we enjoyed a sumptuous Sunday roast with some revealing anecdotes from Jan and Humay.

The walk then took in some more boggy tracks, passing flocks of sheep with some very young lambs watching us warily. We stopped for views of the afternoon sun reflecting on the Hammer Ponds at Imhams. Our route was then through National Trust estates before arrival at Haslemere. After some refusals we found a tea shop still open for some jolly fine tea and cakes before catching the trains back home.

Walkers were Brian, Kerry, Jan, Humay, Rob P, Olivia, Diane, Kevin, Louise, Kalpna and Marianne.

Report by Brian
25 started at the Black Horse pub on a beautiful day. The was shining and the chill factor was very low. After a brief instruction of how to keep up with group and explaining back markers, we headed off towards Maybank Avenue. We passed the famous LNER football and social club where the lead walker Daniel will hopefully make his debut into Premier League football. We then headed down over the rise and into the beautiful forest and hill called Horsenden Hill where we were joined by Tim and Derek. We then ascended to the top of the hill and could see panoramic views of the London area and we tried to figure out the landmarks which we could see in the distance. We tried to find the geocache which had been found on the previous visit but it was not to be found. As we descended the hill to the gruffalo trail we found them all; the mouse, the snake, the owl, the fox and the gruffalo. It was a lovely sight to see adults reliving their childhood. We headed into the Horsenden cafe and had a quick stop with some lovely coffee and locally produced cakes. Then refreshed we headed back towards Harrow again and made our ascent up through Piggy Lane and Harrow on the Hill (yes plenty of hills on this walk). We saw the famous Harrow on the Hill schools and local eateries. We visited St. Mary's Church where Judith, one of our long-standing members, gave us a magnificent chat about the historic foundations of St. Mary's and John Lyon and we saw the signage of Lord Byron. Then off the hill through Football Lane across the fields and tennis courts of the private Harrow boys school through the orchard and out onto Sudbury Hill where we all ended up back at the Black Horse pub where we had started, for a refreshing drink. Thank you to the 27 who came and made the day enjoyable. We ended up doing 7 miles over 4 hours.

Walkers were Rachel, Nick, Mike S, Daniel, Martina, Zoe, Angie, Mark P, Louise M, JJ, Sanjeev, Tony, Tom, Anthony, Marian, Moni, Harleena, Lisa, Judith, Ashvin, Kieran, Pankaj, Kathy, Tim P, Prem and Derek.

Report by Martina
Six of us embarked on our six mile walk in slightly windy conditions but thankfully nothing to rival Eunice or Franklin. Chatting our way down the canal tow path we picked out our favourite properties (money no object, of course). The boat graveyard seemed to have grown, all sorts of shapes and sizes from Dutch barges to dredgers and even an orange craft called Mungo. Or is mungo a thing? Onwards towards our lunch stop at the lovely tea shack at Woodoaks Farm where panini, cake and hot chocolates were enjoyed, and eggs purchased (by me).

After carefully scaling the slightly wobbly farm gate, we made our around the fields, and discussions and apps were used to work out what crops were growing. Consensus was most likely rapeseed but possibly cabbages. Then small uphill section of woods towards West Hyde and its quaint little church where we had a rest on the benches in the graveyard in amongst the snowdrops and primulas, not wanting to stay too long! Onwards to the last stretch along the path with gravel pit lakes on either side and here Eunice and Franklin had definitely been at work. We managed to navigate our way around stumps and branches and arrived safely and on time back at our starting point of the Coy Carp inn.

Thank you for the good company, lively conversations and laughs to Nitti, Simon, Yolly, Pankaj and Mick, and I look forward to another Wednesday Wander.

Report by Zoe
After the storms just 3 on the latest cycle ride. After cheese toasties at the Rusty Bike Cafe we set off on the canal route. After the pill boxes and aqueducts, we encountered several trees down on the towpath but easy to carry the bikes over them. We then joined route 61 via tracks through Langley before Jubilee Park. We crossed the Jubilee River on the impressive timber footbridge to reach Eton. The day was dry so far, however forecasts of rain in the afternoon led us to change course to follow the river path to Dorney. Our lunch stop was the famous Pineapple with its stupendous choice of doorstop-sized sandwiches. The rain arrived as we were by the fireside, and we kept our jammy status with the skies clearing as we left the pub. Our last leg was a fast pursuit to Burnham where we boarded the new TfL train back to London.

Cyclists were Brian, Kerry and Coogee.

Report by Brian
9 brave walkers met outside Gerrards Cross Station on a chilly overcast morning. After checking various weather apps we headed off at brisk pace knowing that the return leg of the walk might well be wet as rain was predicted to arrive by midday. We quickly made our way out of town and into the open countryside and onwards to our first port of call, the small hamlet of Hedgerley, where we met a small group of walkers looking for directions which we were able to help out with. We continued on our way towards Egypt Woods but came across a locked gate blocking the bridleway. Having negotiated this obstacle we finally arrived at the woods where we paused for a short while for a mid-morning coffee break. Continuing onwards we arrived at Littleworth Common where we then picked up Shakespeare's Way which was to take us to our lunch stop where we made full use of the café facilities to shelter from the rain at Burnham Beeches.

During our lunch break we changed into our wet weather gear as it had now started to rain quite heavily. We continued to follow Shakespeare's Way but somehow managed to lose the footpath as it made its way through a housing estate. We could see where we wanted to be but there was a house and a fence in our way, so we had to retrace our steps a short way to the point where we were able to find the path again. This path was to take us over both Farnham Common and Stoke Common before arriving at Fulmer, and from there we headed back to our start point, after completing the planned 15 mile walk.

Many thanks to Vito, Dee, Phil, Sally, Paul, JJ, Olivia and Sarabh for joining me on todays walk.

Report by Malcolm

Arriving at Denham Station, I saw about 4 people and thought that's it. Got chatting and took their names but someone called out there were a few more walking up, well, I needed a bigger piece of paper to jot down the names of 30 very eager walkers. A massive thankyou to all for coming. Between greetings and chatting I managed to say a few words on safety etc. As my partner in crime, Ian, could not make it I had to reel in volunteer Mark as back marker (well, he had no choice). Our adventure began, and we stopped to look at Denham Aerodrome, plenty of activities going on there, then headed towards the beautiful, magical Northmoor Hill Wood Nature Reserve, an ancient woodland dating back to 1600. A varied historical wood full of geological interest and amazing wildlife (just missed seeing the elephants / tigers though). We made our way through the woods with amazing ancient trees, plenty of up and downs, slippery slopes, just brilliant to see how the walkers tackled the obstacles (got photo evidence). Stopped for a couple of minutes for a water break and head count. Phew, all present and correct. The route took a lively bunch of people along the Misbourne valley paths towards Great Haling Wood (yes, taking a large group of people in to the woods again) via the scenic larger than life Denham private residential roads. Great eye opener, magnificent houses with immaculate acres of gardens.

Lovely lunch stop in the woods where people scattered around. Banter and laughter echoed through the trees with glistening sun rays upon us. We continued our walk over logs, and limbo danced underneath a fallen tree. We carried on towards Redhill (yet another head count, all present), along winding narrow muddy paths to a grassy area where the River Misbourne had overflowed. I then performed magic and the group were able to 'walk over water' across an 'olde worlde' wooden bridge. Plenty to see as the banter continued. Finally the walk went through the beautiful historic village of Denham. We all made it back safe and sound and the day was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Finishing at one of the four pubs in the village, where drinks and food was enjoyed by many. Thank you for the excellent feedback and I've had overwhelming requests to put this walk up again.

A personal thankyou goes to Marianne, Joan, Michael, Mark, Christina, Hema, Kevin, Ashvin, Esther, Pat, Pankaj, Louise, Kevin, Simon, Yolly, Katherine, Marianne, Elaine, Kumar, Prem, Derek, Iram, Mick, Sherry, Harsesh, Julie, Gary, Mike, Jo and Runi. Apologies if I have misspelt any names and I look forward to our next adventure.

Report by Runi
On Sunday Heather welcomed eight eager current and future walk leaders to our first training event of the year. Heather arranged a one-day workshop covering basic navigation techniques including: an introduction to maps, orientation of the map, determining the direction of travel, distance, and timings, identifying map features, basic compass use and route planning. Hopefully all participants will soon be adding their walk for the group.

Attendees were Janet, Elaine, Cynthia, Linzi, Narshi, Lucy and Justin.

Report by Martina
On a bright Saturday morning, eight gallant walkers turned up at Northwood Station for a 4 mile circuit of Ruislip Lido. Once assembled, we battled through the throng of Saturday shoppers on Northwood High Street before heading down through the aptly named Gravel Pits - where gravel was extracted for road surfaces up to the late 1890's. We then veered up Links Way, the Beverley Hills of Northwood, before heading into the adjacent ironically named Poor's Field, one of London's largest heathland remnants, which in the space of two weeks had transformed into the Somme. After twenty minutes of slithering and squelching, we arrived at the Water's Edge pub for a quick loo stop where we met up with Laura, and Bonnie the dog. Back safely on terra firma, we did a leisurely circuit of the Lido which was recently transformed into a French beach resort courtesy of Netflix - watch out for the release of "Half Bad" which hopefully will be better than the name suggests. Following our circuit of the Lido, we crossed back to the lower section of Poor's Field before passing through Haste Hill golf club and back to Northwood town centre via Maxwell Avenue.

This was my first experience of walk leading and I want to extend a massive thankyou to Laura and Bonnie, Louise, Kevin, Roy, Katherine, Prem, Derek, JJ and Sonic (apologies if I have misspelt / pronounced any names) for providing excellent company and making it such an enjoyable first walk leading experience. Hope to see you all again soon!

Report by Linzi

Our Winter Peaks weekend was cold, wet and windy with a sprinkling of sun. In spite of this YHA Hartington Hall was full and busy as was the town - or was that because fewer ventured out because of the weather?

Saturday morning was cold and mostly dry with intermittent sun. We skirted up Pilsbury Castle Hills, through its muddy paths, stopping at the ruins of the castle before heading down to Longnor for early lunch. Cafe, bus shelter and the church were used for lunch before the weather turned (as forecast) around midday. We departed south following the Manifold Trail along the river to Brund, Sheen and back to Hartington a little early as we were all wet, ~11 miles distance. Most convened at 17:45 for dinner in the Devonshire Arms.

Sunday morning was better weather, a few short rain showers but still cold. Even with the rare appearance of me using a 1:25k map we all managed to miss the look-out-for-the-footpath-on-the-left as we left the town! The sign was very recessed next to the toilets, which we all saw. All good after that, aim to take in three dales starting with south path along the River Dove, until in Beresford Dale we reached a flooded patch. Two options, take your chances over barbed wire fence (not for all) or head back. We took the latter, reaching path back and taking that to Biggin Dale for lunch. We finished with the northern end of Biggin Dale before returning home with multiple rainbows on show and a short sharp splattering of heavy hail (needed to stop and wait for a few minutes), ~7 miles distance. Fun not quite over for Carol, Lochlan and me, we had a blown tyre on the way home, A53 south of Newcastle-Under-Lyme. Very quick arrival by the pick up truck meant we were home by five.

Many thanks to Anne-Marie, Aruna, Nicky, Nishit, Marian, Phil and Sonia for joining us for some definitely winter walking in the Peak District National Park.

Report by Steve
We set off from Chenies just after 9:30 enjoying the winter sunshine as we passed the Manor House making our way along the route of the River Chess. We stopped in front of Latimer House to enjoy one of the finest views of the day. This part of the route was mainly flat and we soon reached Cowcroft Wood outside Ley Hill. We had a brief stop outside the Swan pub which remains closed and a community group has formed to buy the pub and save it.

We then headed to Flaunden and had our lunch in the local churchyard. The 17th century Green Dragon pub has reopened after refurbishment and some of us enjoyed a coffee by the fire while others sat in the huge beer garden. We had already done over 7 miles at this point so I realised that the route would be longer than the stated mileage. We were making very good time as we headed to Chipperfield, picking up the Hertfordshire Way. We reached Sarratt and had a brief rest stop before once again heading down to the River Chess and returning to Chenies just after 3:30pm having completed 13.7 miles.

Thanks to Aruna, Kalpna, Kevin, Louise, Malcolm and Paul for joining me.

Report by Mary
Eleven keen walkers met at 10:30am on Chipperfield Common for this 10 mile walk around rural West Hertfordshire. Surprisingly for the time of year, the weather forecast was almost spring like, with sunshine predicted for most of the day but with possible wind and cloud showing later. Following a slightly delayed departure, we started the circular walk at 11:45am in a clockwise direction. After negotiating the confusing network of paths in the Common's Wood we joined the Hertfordshire Way at Top Common to walk the steady incline towards Berrybush and Langley Lodge Farms, in warm sunshine. Through the farms to the pastures beyond, we were pleased to see our way was clear of cattle, unlike last time in May last year, when our exit was blocked by some cows protecting their calves. Onward to Berrybushes Wood we continued along its edge before making a steep descent to a farm track in the valley below and climbing the sharp incline to Little Westwood Farm and Bucks Hill House on the other side. After crossing a lane we made another tricky descent, through a small wood to Bottom Lane before negotiating an arduous climb towards Newhall Farm. With the hum of traffic on the nearby M25 masked by the increasing sound of the wind, we then headed along a straight wide farm track for about half a mile to Micklefield Green. Crossing the busy Sarratt to Croxley Green road, we sensibly took the footpath that runs along the inside of the hedge, next to the road, before crossing a couple of fields, where a large badger sett was seen, to arrive at the Cock Inn and adjoining Holy Cross Church in Church End, Sarratt for our 45 minute lunch break. As forecast the weather had now turned rather cloudy and chilly but whilst half of the group enjoyed lunchtime in the pub, the others spent time in the churchyard equally enjoying their packed lunches amongst the snowdrops.

On leaving the pub in sunnier weather, we joined the familiar Chiltern Way, high above the Chess Valley, to continue our walk through the well-managed Sandfield Wood, Dawes Common and open farmland towards the horses fields at Rose Hall, where we encountered members of an end of season shooting party leaving the event in their 4x4 cars. Following the Chiltern Way for a short distance further through Bragman's Farm, we joined a lane before negotiating a rather unusual and difficult stile in a steep banked hedgerow to enter fields that led toward Newhouse Farm, the outskirts of Flaunden and Black Robins Farm. From open farmland the countryside now changed to woodland for the final stretch of the walk through Lower Plantation and Woodman's Wood before arriving at Belsize for the short climb back to Chipperfield. With the rowdy sound of a football match taking place at the ground of Chipperfield Corinthians FC (for those who are interested, they beat Cockfosters Reserves 3-1), we ended the walk at Blackwell's Café on the common, where we had a most enjoyable farewell drink before driving back home.

A great walk was enjoyed by everyone, namely Michael, Kevin, Louise, Joan, Nick G, Jo, Sean, Saurabh, Shilpa, Nicky D and Sonia and I hope to put this walk back on agenda sometime during May, when we can once again enjoy the beautiful countryside of West Hertfordshire and see the magnificent bluebells in Berrybushes Wood.

Report by Michael

Fourteen walkers met on a dry Thursday morning - delighted with the turnout! All keen to avoid the January mud - decided to explore parks in Harrow and Hillingdon, but wanting a walk. Introductions made outside North Harrow Station - a few new welcomes and a few 'Happy New Year' exchanges were made. On route to park number 1, we admired the front garden ... of gnomes, yes gnomes! After Yeading Park, to Streamside Park we took a delightful, deliberate detour to "The Book Hub", a telephone box converted into a library outside a house. The owner came out, and we caught up on the history behind this, including the 5000 books in her house. My family call it "The Library", all free. It's a community unique / quirky original! We then returned to walk through Roxbourne Park, ending up by "The Clay Pigeon" to some of us (now a banqueting venue). Discussions and memories were shared there, showing our age, or misspent youth. Tiny patch of mud, all successfully navigated and coped! Via bowling grounds behind Cavendish tennis area, before some pavement walking to Warrendel Park behind Highgrove Swimming Pool- where "in the Second World War it was known as HMS Pembroke, serving as an important outstation to the now renowned Bletchley Park, where machines were used to identify and break German codes".

Halfway, and a well deserved lunch / picnic break at Eastcote House Gardens, with the walled gardens reopening last week. Sausage and bacon buns enjoyed by some, no ice cream, to Maria's and my disappointment, but Judith got top trumps with her "door stop" of cake. I wish I'd taken a photo! Continued, came to 2 stiles, not built for little legs, then through alleys back to Pinner Memorial Park. The sun came out to join us. No stopping at Daisys for us. Keep on moving, through Pinner main street. Some left us at 6 miles, the rest towards Wakeman Hills. I got Ronnie Barker's house wrong, Dean T had info. Mick decided on a water break, and photo, but by then all comfortable in each others' company, so humour came out! From Barker to TV. One fact I learned today was that years ago when there were 3 TV channels I remember TV "off", a beeping, Dean said the BBC played the national anthem, wowzer! And another - saying how he stacked 3 TV's, one per channel! Memories, but reality. Then we got onto local celebrities, the witch with green hair, Pinner lady. Then Mick regretted his decision, so we continued, laughing, and what fun. I managed to reign them back. Returning via Wakeman Hill, discussion on properties. Final route, past Nower Hill, and Dean's memories of his routes, and "fancy cars", and mine of an old snooker hall. Lovely day off, walking with like-minded people.

Thank you to Yolly, Simon, Pankaj, Chris, Maria, Dean, Mick, Reena, Judith, Nandu, Hira, Heddy, Nitty. 8.15 miles on my phone. But laughter and fresh air. Great way to spend a day off.

Report by Dee

A record ten cyclists met at the Rusty Bike Café on a cold bright morning. After coffees and warming cheese toasties we set off on the Grand Union Canal. Anne Marie, on her first ride with the group, joined us there. Detour through Denham Country Park before cycling through the historic Denham village. Derek managed to get his electric bike working so caught us up at Denham Golf Club Station where we ventured onto the platform to see the unique surviving GWR pagoda shelters. A steady climb through wooded lanes to Chalfont St Peter village. Another detour to pop into Jordans YHA and then Jordans village, which was very quiet.

Our lunch stop was Merlin's Cave at the ever-charming Chalfont St Giles. Prem went grand with mussels, Mark P, Dean and Coogee entertaining the pub with lots of ripping yarns. Our route back took in Chiltern Outdoor Museum (Malcolm explaining that a forthcoming Tom Hanks film was recently shot there) and a fast descent to West Hyde. Rejoining the canal, we headed back south passing the emerging infrastructure of the HS2 Colne Viaduct.

Cyclists were Brian, Dean, Coogee, Tim P, Kerry, Malcolm, Mark P, Anne Marie, Derek and Prem.

Report by Brian

We think we have achieved a "first" in the group's record books as we had a total of twenty three who joined us on our walk. We all met at the Aquadrome Cafe in Rickmansworth in perfect weather for walking. Setting off we walked alongside the Grand Union Canal with all kinds of houseboats lined along the route. Our joint leader, Runi, stopped us to take a picture of our group, which was not easy given the large number of us. We encouraged her to move back to get us all in, knowing that the canal was just a few steps behind her! Realising that if she fell in the canal we would not have a leader to show us the way, we changed our minds and stopped her, just in time. Moving onwards we followed the canal to Cassiobury Park where we made our way to Daisy's Cafe for drinks and refreshment.

From there we walked along the path through West Hertfordshire Golf Course. As the path took us through the centre of the course nearby golfers were bemused to find a herd of 23 walkers walking in line disrupting their game. Safely leaving the golfers to finish their game we entered Whippendell Wood where our path led us to a few steep descents followed by a few steep climbs. Fortunately it was not that muddy otherwise we would have all been struggling to avoid falling down the descents and then climbing up the slippery slopes. Moving on we walked through Dell Wood until we reached the Coach and Horses pub in Croxley Green where we had a well deserved drink. From there we headed back to the canal, passing a World War 1 memorial, All Saints' Church and finally to the Aquadrome. Whilst returning to our start point we saw a water skier in the lake who was braving the cold water.

For those technically minded we walked 10.82 miles equating to 26,449 steps and used 2,154 calories. Well done to everyone who walked the distance and having such a large number meant that there were lots of people to talk to on the route. We both enjoyed it and hope you all did too. Our 23 walkers were: Joan, Kevin 1, Louise, Mark, Michael, Angela 1, Laura, Saurabh, Anjusha, Meghana, Humay, Kevin 2, Angela 2, Esther, Kalpuna, Giulia, Marianne 1, Sally, Judith, Shilpa and Marianne 2.

Report by Runi and Ian

First eight of us met at WH Smith as planned and then we met a further four on the high road (as I gave them the wrong info). We proceeded to make our way towards the Thames Path by way of Clapham Market joining the path at Battersea village, where we passed the local church featured in the film 'Alfie'. We continued on into Battersea Park passing the amazing pagoda and stopping at the Pierpoint Cafe for a quick coffee. We then walked on towards Battersea Power Station, where we stopped for our second break for coffee and cake and a sit down.

At this point we had to come off the path as construction is still in progress, and joined the path again next to the new American Embassy which we all agreed is not as majestic as the old one. At this point you pass a flat where, whenever I have done this walk before, a lady is always on her balcony singing and dancing with a cup of tea in her hand (don't think it is tea!) and without fail she was there. Again at this point you have to leave the path because of the MI5 building and rejoin just before the 'Covid Memorial Wall', which is both beautiful and very sad, and onto the Southbank, where three people left the walk as they had other prior engagements in London. We continued on the path, passing Shakespeare's Globe and many other London iconic buildings towards London Bridge where four walkers stopped and five of us continued on to complete the 8.1 mile walk at Tower Hill. Christina recommended the pub 'Hung Drawn and Quartered' for our last stop together for a drink, which was a lovely pub. Mark and I then walked back to The Horniman pub to rejoin the other four we left earlier, for a meal and of course more drinks.

Thank you so much to Louise, Kevin, Shirley, Mark, Christina, Carole, Alpa, Christine, Linda, Janet and Zoe for joining me and making it a fab day.

Report by Chrissy
On a chilly morning 10 of us met at Baker Street Station and began our walk to the Wallace Collection via the Royal Academy of Music and the affluent Marylebone High Street. We had a look around the Wallace Collection and several members said they would come back again for a more comprehensive look. We carried onto Marble Arch and whilst "the mound" was closed it is still there and created some discussion!

We continued our walk along the edge of Hyde Park and onto the Italian gardens in Kensington Gardens where we stopped for lunch and a natter. The sun started to come out as we made our way to Kensington Palace and its gardens to take a look at the Princess Diana statue recently unveiled. We walked onto the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall before heading back into Hyde Park and onto Hyde Park Corner. We crossed the madness that is the Hyde Park roundabout and went into Green Park. We noted the memorials and people were particularly impressed with the RAF memorial for the second world war. A comfort break was required so we made our way for a well deserved drink in Shepherds Market.

Thank you to all my fellow walkers for making this such a lovely walk.

Report by Pauline
Twenty five set out on a delightfully sunny day for a hike to Wendover Woods. Admiring a Bentley 4.5ltr Boat Tail we were soon heading along the canal with little egrets, mandarin ducks and heron to gaze at. After the only climb of the day we lunched at the café in the woods taking photos of the Gruffalo. On the return leg St Mary's church drew in a few, possibly praying for the sins of the others, and the walk ended with hot drinks at Rumsey's Chocolaterie. Someone suggested leading this must have been like herding cats and yes in some ways it was ;-) however a good walk is not just about the route but also the people that go on it and in this case it was a superb walk!

Thanks to all who came including Dean, Paul, Mick, Dee, Narshi, Indira, Sarah, Gita, Humay, Brian G, Malcolm, Georgiana, Tom, Sandra, Rob, Diane, Louise, Martina, Johanna, Lesley, Mike D and Kerry.

Report by Brian F

On mild Sunday morning I was joined by 10 walkers at Hatch End Station for a prompt 11:00am start. I went through the history and heritage of Hatch End with some Covid guidance. Our first stop was a stroll down to the 14th century historic St Anslem Church, with the doors ajar for morning service. Some of us managed a brief glance at the ornate stained glass windows that have been so greatly restored. With the strong smell of incense a swift exit was made by all. We then headed through Hatch End high street onto the rugby fields. We then carried on to the High Street to see the telephone exchange and diverse restaurants. A turn off was made to the lower grounds of Pinner Farm which with the recent heavy rains was rather treacherous. At the end of the first half we had to divert around the tennis courts to lead us on to Moss Lane to see homes of Heath Robinson, Faye from Steps and where Elton John spent a lot of his younger years at his grandparents' home around Moss Lane.

Thank you to my lovely fellow walkers who joined me on this picturesque and delightful walk.... a great way to start the New Year.

Report by Alpa