There were forty-five on our annual walk with the London Blind Rambling Club yesterday. Twenty were from the LBRC, five of whom were sighted guides. A team of extras from the G&H Rs helped prepare the refreshments at the end of the walk—gallons of tea and an endless supply of cakes—and the venue—the back garden of two in the group.
We met in drizzle in Blackheath car park. As I stood with two others waiting for all to arrive, one of the hosts asked us to pass a message to the organiser who had yet to appear as she was part of the convoy collecting the LBRC from Guildford railway station. An hour later I realised I’d forgotten to do this. Unfortunately, by now I’d forgotten what the message was. The other two, to my surprise, were no help; they had also forgotten the message.
Once we were all assembled by the car park, with back and middle markers and those from the LBRC paired with guides from the G&HR, we set off in a long line across Blackheath on a bridleway towards Farley Green. Drizzle was intermittent; the day was damp rather than wet.
At Farley Green we turned south on a footpath by Ride Lane byway. This footpath provided a test of the G&HRs’ ability to guide the LBRC past obstacles such as stiles, low branches, roots, holes, barbed wire and nettles. Fortunately, they were up to the task. The rest of the route after this was straightforward. When we crossed the B2128 (twice) drivers stopped to let the whole group cross together. (We waved thanks.) They must have had the wit to realise that this was safer and quicker for all. Yellow jackets and white sticks indicated that the host of walkers was a special group.
From Ride Lane we turned west on a byway, passed Mayor House Farm, continued on a bridleway to Farley Heath Road, crossed this, continued west to Reelhall Hill, then took a footpath SW to Woodhill Lane and Shamley Green, our stop for lunch. We had walked five miles. Two and a half miles remained.
After lunch we crossed the village green, took a footpath through a residential area to Lordshill Road, turned right (north) on this, branched left on a footpath that led to the B2128 by St John’s Seminary, walked past this on a footpath to Lynes Farm, turned right on a bridleway to Derry’s Hill, crossed Littleford Lane, entered Blackheath and walked via the car park to the garden of the two hosting the tea.
The tea was splendid. There were tables and chairs under three gazebos, plates of cakes on the tables which were restocked frequently, and a separate table with cups, saucers, and a large urn to refill teapots. The hard work of the organiser (in particular) and her crew, and the assistance provided by the LBRC paid off. It was a memorable day.
Map: OS X 145