There were 27 on this morning’s five mile walk. The leader told us that this was the highest number he’d had on a walk. He hoped he’d not lose anyone; he hadn’t done so in the past. There’s always a first time, someone was quick to point out. Today was almost that time.
We set off from Hydon Heath NT car park in a long line and headed south to skirt round Hydon’s Ball and turn west past Fourteen Acre Copse to Hambledon church. Here the leader turned east on the Greensand Way and most of the group followed. The back half dozen reached the junction too late to see those in front disappear round a bend. The back marker blew her whistle but to no avail. (Ramblers in full chat are unlikely to hear anything quieter than a foghorn.) She then tried, unsuccessfully, to phone the mobiles of several people she knew were ahead. Their phones were either turned off or were ignored. Meanwhile, the main group marched on. They halted only when someone in the back group phoned her partner, who was in the front group, and told him they’d been left behind. The leader went back to find them. After about ten minutes the groups were reunited and the walk resumed.
We continued on the GSW to The Hurtwood and stopped there in sunshine for coffee. Some collected chestnuts—the ground was covered with them. We set off again, turned north on a bridleway, crossed Mare Lane, reached the B2130, turned left on a bridleway that led to Juniper Valley and then turned left on a footpath that took us back to the car park by Salt Lane.
It was a pleasant walk. Paths were still dry and the autumn colours of leaves looked good in the sunshine.
Maps: OS X 145, 133