Suitably refreshed, we headed off through Rickmansworth, passing the historic Saint Mary's Church and the old Feathers pub. Crossing the road footbridge we passed another, more bijou Saint Mary's Church. The sun blazed as we chatted, walking past the meandering river Chess, across flowering meadows with horse paddocks, and past pretty country estates. We headed up past Chorleywood Manor House back to our starting point.
I headed off home leaving my walking companions to enjoy a well-earned drink at the Black Horse pub. Report by Paul. April - Lost Gardens and Poldark. After a long journey for some and shorter trip for others staying locally, we all met up on Friday afternoon for drinks and homemade chilli. Some ventured on to the pub for live music. Particularly impressed was Mike who bought the band's CD. Saturday morning saw another glorious sunny day and the walkers setting off for the day's adventure.
Our first port of call was Hemmick Beach where after a brief stop we headed up the long climb to Dodman Point via Gell Point. The cross we reached was worded to welcome the second coming of the almighty. We set off for Cadythew Rock via Bow Beach, with incredible coastline views. Here we caught up with Martina, Daniel and Rachael enjoying the beach. After being refreshed we set off again uphill after some confusing footpath signs to Chapel Point. By this time the group was beginning to spread out, some wishing to take a more leisurely pace and sightseeing. As this was a coastal path, there was no need for directions.
By the time we reached Port Mellon Sands we were down to five but met up with trailblazing Dev. Dev and Kev decided to stay in Port Mellon, and we carried on to Mevagissy to rendezvous with Rachael and Martina once again at the Ship Inn and waited for the others to catch up. Once back at the hostel the warm evening made it possible to enjoy a barbecue with the added attraction of live music provided by resident HAWOG musician Kev.
After a bread slicing accident the rest of the evening's catering was gratefully done by Dev, Rachael and others. More surprise guests arrived in the form of Ian and Chrissie, visiting family nearby. Sunday morning was promising to be hotter than Saturday but with my hand needing treatment and others in various states of niggling complaints it was decided to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan by car, which also allowed everyone to plan their day to include among other things St Maws Castle.
Monday saw some visiting nearby attractions such as Charlestown Harbour and the Eden project on the way home. Some extended the holiday, travelling north. Rachael and I visited Falmouth to see Sir Robin Knox-Johnson recreate the entrance on Suhaili to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his round the world voyage. Report by Nick and Rachael. April - Richmond to Windsor Cycle Ride. I took the Met line from home to Acton Town on a mild spring morning. Arriving in Richmond I was pleased to see nobody had beaten me to the start point, great!
I had time to catch my breath and order an Americano from the cafe. After our coffee and croissants the 5 of us set off along the Thames Path, enjoying the bird song and blossom along the way. Remarkably green areas for this part of town. Crossing the Thames again we made our way to Molesey stopping at Hurst Park to read about Garrick's Ait, the only island in England to be named after an actor. As we cycled the route we admired the superb riverside properties. We soon reached Walton Bridge where Rob recommended we stopped at a cafe for lunch and coffee, an excellent spot.
Passing Desborough and after noticing a really spooky house we soon took the ferry across to Shepperton, where Brian enjoyed a lesson in arithmetic given by the ferryman. We continued along our path following the river to Chertsey where Nick recited some old stories of past camping trips at the Chertsey caravan and campsite. We continued through Laleham and onto Staines, passing under the M25 to Runnymede where we visited the impressive Air Forces Memorial, climbing up the spiral staircase to the excellent viewpoint, spotting London landmarks and Heathrow Airport.
From here it was a short ride through Windsor Park, passing the long walk with views of the castle, on to Windsor town where we completed a great day out with cooling drinks in the Royal Oak pub. Thanks to Brian for his assistance with the route, and to Nick, Diane and Rob W for joining me on a wonderful day out.
Report by Kerry. It was a little overcast and a bit chilly but as we set off across the Chess valley towards Latimer the sun came out and it soon warmed up. As we made our way up the hill through the woods towards Flaunden, we were passed by several horse riders going the other way.
We made a brief stop at St Mary Magdalene Church to catch our breath, where some of the group decided to pop in and have a look around. We then headed off across the open countryside towards Sarratt and were lucky to see a number of red kites flying overhead. Just before we arrived at Sarratt we admired the display of bluebells which were just coming into bloom in the woods. We then made our way to our lunch stop at the Cock Inn. This rain and hail, although brief, did arrive whilst we were having lunch.
After lunch we made our way back across the Chess valley towards Chenies village, then passing the manor house and continuing on towards our final destination. Again this was timed perfectly as we arrived at the station a few minutes before the fast train back towards London. We said our goodbyes and went on our separate ways. Report by Malcolm. April - Great Missenden Walk. Some started at Harrow on the Hill at their leisure - one sprinted across the platforms with seconds to spare - a great entry and unique ice breaker. Met some on the train and Malcolm with the delightful Jasper at Great Missenden station.
After a brief road path where we admired the buildings and unique "Book Share" in the shape of a bird house, we started our trail across fields, hills and kissing gates. As we climbed higher, we wandered through woods, with bluebells trying to emerge. We stopped to take in the views and admired sheep and lambs.
Other walkers 'stole' the planned seating break after Little Hampden with a view, so we continued. Hampden House and Church were admired, with impressive features open am on a Sunday if anyone is interested.
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I led us towards our lunch stop at the Hampden Arms. By ringing earlier, the helpful landlady set aside a table for us. It turned into a food fest! All said great value food, from sandwiches to fish and chips to chilli prawn dish. When all were 'fed and watered', we continued the second leg of the walk. To all who attended, thank you for a lovely day. Report by Dee. Great Missenden Walk - Photo by Brian. March - Cadmore End to End.
Anna and Keith joined me for my Cadmore End to End walk today. First time since I think since I've had someone join me for one of my 20 mile walks. Actually this one was 23 by Keith's phone and 24 by Anna's. What's a mile or four between friends! Cloudy when we departed the almost empty parking area at Cadmore End. We crossed the M40 and headed north past the Wycliffe Centre as was, now mostly demolished, presumably soon to be housing.
Heading west ish now and out of the Chilterns through Aston Rowant, Postcombe, across the M40 again and along to Adwell for lunch in a very old church in the very pretty hamlet. After lunch, the sun started to appear and as we were in the flat of Oxfordshire we cracked on following the Oxfordshire Way to Pyrton where we discussed houses and whether those in the smaller houses in the village small here means very nice detached felt inferior to others in the larger houses some absolute stunners in the village.
Probably I think was our conclusion. A final flurry saw us reach Cadmore End at For 23 miles and a start that was a very good pace. Thanks to Anna and Keith for joining me and providing good conversation throughout the day. March - Harrow Historical Walk. We had another large group of 10 including some new recruits on our latest afternoon walk. Our walk also took in the playing fields of the School, the cricket ground and St Mary's Church, with views from Byron summit. We ended with a drinking stop at the Castle.
Report by Alpa. March - Little Venice. We walked up towards the Black Horse pub where we embarked on the tow path that would take us to Little Venice. We passed some lovely canal boats in all different shapes and size, some had lovely gardens and picnic tables on board them. We even came across an allotment right on the canal.
We headed on towards our lunch stop with some members pointing out some interesting facts and landmarks along the way. There was a survival tank that had a head at the front like there was someone looking out from it. Beit El Zeitoun Lebanese restaurant was a great find with many trying Lebanese food for the first time. This was a lovely little addition to the walk. All fuelled up, we then came across a skateboard park.
We all stopped and admired until the passing narcotics were very strong and started to take effect. We also came across a young gentleman who was showing off his core skills doing exercises on a wire. So we muddled on and were amused that Elvis Presley even made an appearance. As we carried on along the canal we came across a mural on the wall that was made out of litter by the Stowe youth club and artist Kevin Herlihy.
We took a long time debating on what we could see with the mural especially the alligator. We ended our walk at the famous waterside cafe, but because we were such a big group not all could get in. So we headed on to find a pub and enjoyed a well deserved local beer and wine.
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Start of walk - Photo by Brian. Canal path - Photo by Brian. Aqueduct over North Circular - Photo by Brian. Art work - Photo by Brian. Little Venice - Photo by Brian. March - Regents Canal Ride to Greenwich. The towpath on the Regent Canal was busy with teams of joggers, walkers and cyclists. Dean led a detour to see the blue plaque outside the home of Joe Orton. Climbing over the Banana Bridge we explored the Eco Park and the converted wharves in the rapidly changing quarter.
Reaching Limehouse we admired the vessels in the yachting marina and the Hawksmoor church. We then headed south through the Isle Of Dogs beneath the soaring skyscrapers of the financial district. We cycled around the Maritime Museum and Naval College and then climbed to the Observatory and great views from the summit. Following the Thames Path we took in the Thames Barrier and cycled east to jump aboard the free Woolwich Ferry where the heavens opened with a hail storm.
Start at Islington - Photo by Brian. Limehouse Basin - Photo by Brian. Canary Wharf still building - Photo by Brian. Island Gardens Cafe - Photo by Brian. Cutty Sark - Photo by Brian. Greenwich Naval Museum - Photo by Brian. View from Observatory - Photo by Brian. March - Hall Evening: Auction.
Mike and Cathy hosted another successful auction. Jan performed the role of modelling many of the items for sale and in explaining their provenance and quality. We welcomed along many PNM's and recent recruits to join the regulars.
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Sandi was especially assertive in bidding and went home with several quality purchases. This year we had a wider variety of goods to auction than before, including guitars, violins, fishing tackle, vintage tea set, luxury brand handbags and several antique lamps. Auction starts - Photo by Brian. Jan assists - Photo by Brian. March - Hidden Gems of Pinner Walk 2. Another successful walk with 12 people. Great views from hill overlooking Pinner Farm. A great time was had by all and we covered 4- 5 miles. Three others decided it was too wet for them to join us. We took in the sights of Langley Park and then up to Black Park.
These were the hunting grounds of the kings of olden times. The variety of trees and woodland was amazing. We managed to do 7. The rain held off and the other three missed a great walk. March - Bourne End and Bovingdon Walk. Eleven of us met on a bright blustery day in Great Missenden.
We wandered along the old high street, briefly pausing to admire the surrounds of the Roald Dahl museum. Next we climbed up the hill to the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, where we found ourselves in the midst of a proper running event. Consequently, as we continued we were overtaken by the many runners on their way across the fields.
After passing a few farmhouses and some fields, we entered a very overgrown path into Mantle's Wood. We found our way through, and continued down a more well trodden path. Soon, we crossed the railway bridge reaching Little Missenden for a well-earned rest at the pub. Next, our route took us along Toby's Lane, past Mop End, and around a few more woods.
Some lingered for a while in the fabulous old pub, whereas others opted to head straight up the hill to get the train back home. Report by Phil. The walk started promptly at am, and we headed west along the Grand Union Canal for the first mile or so, then through Bourne End and south west over the A41 and across country, with the wind in front of us for the first 5 miles. There was some shelter from the wind as we approached Ley Hill, and from there we headed south-east towards Flaunden, stopping at the bottom of a hill to eat our packed lunches where there was some shelter.
From Flaunden, we headed north to Bovingdon. We eventually decided not to stop for a break in the village pub, but when we reached the church, we stopped for a few minutes to go in and listen to the pianist - I think that he was testing the acoustics rather than practising. The last 3 miles took us back to the station, which we reached shortly before pm. Thanks to Karen and Marin for joining me. Report by Mark. March - Brunel and Banksy City Break.
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We had 8 along for our city break in Bristol, staying at the harbourside Bristol YHA right in the centre of the city. The early arrivals jumped on the ferry boat outside Gromit was the mascot on the bow to glide along the floating harbour passing the converted wharves, yachts, SS Great Britain until the final stop at Nova Scotia. After drinks at this 18th century sailor's tavern we walked back via Spike Island for fish and chips at a harbourside inn.
Our first stop was the M Shed, a converted wharf now exhibition centre and rooftop gallery with views across the harbour. We then boarded the "Matthew", a replica of the ship taken by Cabot to discover Newfoundland. Rob W and Coogee stayed on board to converse with "Bob" the guide, catching the others at the Undefall Yard more shipping exhibits. Jan former resident then led us through the charming streets of Clifton village where we stopped for lunch by the market square. Then uphill to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, one of the last works of Brunel. We crossed the bridge for stunning views along the Avon Gorge.
After a detour to Brandon Hill and views over the central city area, we stopped for tiffin in the Old City by the university and museum quarters. Rachael arranged a very unusual evening meal at the Za Za Banquet, an all-you-can-eat wonder with a smorgasbord of choice from tex mex, to sushi to mediterranean and lots more. On Sunday some joined the Bansky and Street Art tour led by a fellow artist. We saw the major Banksy works and many others some just finished the day before plus learnt lots about the culture of this capital of street art. Later "Bob" emerged to give us a tour of the SS Great Britain, the revolutionary steam ship created by Brunel and now a permanent exhibit here.
The train travellers also took in Brunel's original Temple Meads station before catching the new electric expresses back east. Start of walk at Cabot statue - Photo by Brian. On the Matthew - Photo by Brian. Gromit ferry - Photo by Brian. Clifton Suspension Bridge - Photo by Brian. View over Avon Gorge - Photo by Brian.
Brunel exhibition - Photo by Brian. Banksy street art - Photo by Brian. Breakdancing religious art - Photo by Brian. March - Passing through Pishill.
Photos & Reports
We completed Starting from Ibstone in light rain we took a few woodland paths which provided some shelter. We reached Pishill before noon and had our packed lunch in the local churchyard before heading to the Crown Inn. This was closed for refurbishment so we continued on our route, planning to stop at the visitor centre at Stonor Park.
After a few miles we reached the magnificent Stonor Park. The property has been occupied by the Stonor family for the last eight centuries. We stopped to chat to the local Hillingdon group in Southend. Decided to have a pub stop in Turville which we reached just after 2pm. Had a leisurely hot chocolate stop in the very welcoming Bull and Butcher. After Turville we had a steep climb, enjoying fantastic views and lots of sightings of red kite.
We finished the walk just after 4. Thanks to Emma and Mick for joining me. March - North Downs Viewpoints Walk. Thanks to those who came on Saturday. A lovely group of six enjoyed our beautiful day out in Guildford and Shere. We met a beautiful horse along the way who joined for a group photo, and a bonus of some beautiful sunshine which we enjoyed at our first stop at St Martha's church where we enjoyed the views at our first snack break.
We all enjoyed our ice creams in Shere as a reward for our efforts. Report by Sandra. Equine farm on Downs - Photo by Brian. St Martha on the Hill - Photo by Brian. Early catkins - Photo by Brian. Newlands Corner viewpoint - Photo by Brian. February - Chess Valley Walk. The walk on Sunday had a great turnout thanks to the weather. We stopped for lunch on the lawn of Latimer House. There was a 'Private Property' sign but it was hard to take it seriously as it also said 'No Peeking'. On the outskirts of Chesham we had an unplanned detour due to my missing a turn.
Thanks to Mike who had an OS map, came to the rescue and got us back on track. We finished up at the Queen's Head for a well-earned drink having clocked up Thanks to all for a lovely day. Report by Jennifer. February - Live Music. Thank you for joining me on the live music social event of the month. It was a very good turnout, with four new recruits who enjoyed learning about the group from new and existing members.
Many enjoyed the lovely home cooked food which was great value for money. We enjoyed a wide selection of beverages on offer, some experiencing new and exciting spirits served with juniper berries. The live band were excellent, playing songs from the 70's, 80's and 90's with a lot of us engaging this on the dance floor.
Harrow and Wembley Outdoor Group - Photos & Reports
February - Barnet Loop. Along with myself and partner in planning, Deirdre, there was Natalie, Mick and Mark. It was spitting when we set off but the sky soon cleared and there was even a slice of sunshine doing its best to break through the clouds. Surrounded by overhanging trees, and passing a few small bridges, with each step accompanied by the tinkle of running water, it's easy to forget that this place is only ten miles from central London.
We passed Finchley tennis club and allotments, crossed the park where families were playing on the swings and slides, then continued on, following the brook all the way to Totteridge Lane where we turned left and headed uphill to the Orange Tree pub. Just as we arrived there it began raining quite hard but by then we were ensconced at a table having coffee and soup. The afternoon took in expanses of hay meadows, woodland and a lake, coupled with some heavy mud and the notable loss of the iconic Medical Research Centre famous for Nobel prizewinners and Batman Begins! We took a detour to view Mill Hill village and its famous public school and St.
Paul's church founded by William Wilberforce, sadly locked before heading back to the station. Thanks to all who braved the cold to join us on this rural yet suburban walk. Report by Deirdre and Coogie. February - Hidden Gems of Pinner Walk. We started off at Headstone Lane station and went through Pinner Farm. Sadly none of the animals were out. However the sun was out and we walked on clear pathways. We then made our way down through Moss Lane and visited the village church and Pinner Memorial.
We walked at a relaxed pace and the group opted not to have a tea break. I shared my local knowledge with the group about Pinner, the village, churches and traditions. We then gradually looped back to the station. The walk ended promptly at 4pm. A great turnout of 8 people including 2 on their first walk. Just 3 of us on the Herts circular bike ride. A very cold but sunny day with ice on many of the ponds and streams on route.
At the manor there was a busy food and craft market so we had coffee and cake before the start. The canal route was mostly ice free but there were a few sections where we slowed down to avoid a plunge into the canal. We noted several pairs of swans at various points, with other cyclists, joggers and walkers sharing the towpath. This trail is on a former railway track partly on an embankment with good views over the canal and streams below. A late Georgian manor it is now the club house for Pinner Golf Course. We warmed up at the 19th hole with some red wine and took in the excellent views eastwards across the valley.
Thanks to Diane and Kerry for joining me on this ride. On a cold but sunny day, nine of us set out from Uxbridge station to walk sections 12 and 13 of the London Loop. Our first section followed the Grand Union canal for most of the way and was easy walking, although care had to be taken as many icy patches remained.
We saw a number of runners taking their morning exercise, swans gliding majestically by and a narrowboat acting as an ice breaker as it moved through the frozen water. Our next section began with a steep uphill section through trees and ferns. Mike was particularly interested on what was growing on the allotments in the meadows that this path opened out onto. Apparently it was kale, which is very hardy and grows throughout winter. Continuing over fields and stiles we passed a farm where two aggressive looking little dogs tried to goad Jasper into a response, although he was far too disciplined to rise to their bait.
Shortly after we arrived at the Rose and Crown where beer and hot chocolate was drunk and bowls of chips eaten aside the open fire. At this point we said farewell to Phil who strode out ahead before the rest of us had left the pub.
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Upon leaving we walked across meadows with the snow crunching beneath our feet and soon turned into the forest of Bishop's Wood Country Park. On exiting this ancient woodland we emerged opposite Ye Olde Greene Manne, however everyone agreed it was a bit too soon for a further pub stop.
Pauline bid us farewell here as she took the bus back to Uxbridge, whilst the rest of the group continued on along a footpath marking the boundary of Middlesex and Hertfordshire. The path led us onto the Moor Park Estate where we paused to admire the lovely houses and mused over what people may do for a living in order to live there. We decided they probably aren't nurses or teachers! Now seeing the railway line we followed this down to Moor Park station for our journey home. Report by Dave. February - Aquadrome Walk. We had a wonderful 4 mile walk around the aquadrome, the canal and parklands.
The sun was out and we walked at a steady pace. A good time was had by all, with another welcome turnout of 8 walkers. January - Time Out in London. We set out on a fine fresh morning on our route which took us through Regent's Park, and over the Regent's Canal then north towards Primrose Hill. At the top of Primrose Hill we rested a while and took photos with the glorious view over London. A number of the group commented on how quickly the skyline is changing; there seemed to be as many large cranes as buildings, clear evidence of all the construction work taking place.
Here we had a short break and mused at the hundreds of runners taking part in a cross country running competition. Check it out!
Just got done with the first round of edits. And I talked to my editor to see if it was appropriate to divulge any details, because I'm now feeling a little less superstitious about the whole thing. So the contract I signed was with MLR pres Williams 7. When Nick Met Michael Skylark 0. Nick is feeling adrift at college when he meets Michael. He's a wonderful friend, but inspires unexpected feeling in Nick. Williams 3. Gentlemen of Foxgrove Hall, an Ebook by D. Roderick Wells tries to hide his desire for his father's estate manager, for it is a capital crime in Regency England for two men to love one another.
Here's my latest blog post with some news. I'm up on Smashwords! And waiting to be accepted into the premium catalog. And working on some new stuff, like the revision for that publisher, a Smashwords edition of Skylark, and lots of new stories, including an ear