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April was pretty cruel, this year, especially in the wintry two weeks after Easter which slowed to a halt the belting progress of the trees which had exploded with green earlier in the month. But Hey Dinga Ding Ding! The 14 ORRA Ramblers and two dogs who set off to Haslemere on the last Saturday of April were (as almost always) blessed by walking weather that got better and better as we progressed, with glorious panoramas later in the day.

 

On arrival at Haslemere we shunned Annie’s advice to go through the hole and ignored the big band of BBC walkers who were also intent on doing the walk but soon disappeared into the distance, never to be seen again. (This Haslemere Circular is listed as one most popular 10 walks in SE England, and some of us remembered doing at least part of it before, but not which part or when.)

We started under grey skies, and for some time wondered if the promise of bluebells that always accompanies the ballyhoo for this Spring Ramble would be delivered upon. Eventually, the bells told:

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First as a promising fringe, and then all over the place:

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A very decent outdoor lunch arrived quite early, at the Red Lion on Fernhurst village green. Not far from here the philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote Principia Mathemetica, mainly before lunch.

 

 

And as is customary, pudding was taken, though not by the dogs:

 

And then, for the group photo, an outbreak of mass wisteria:

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Refreshed and strengthened, the terrain changed, and the weather: sun and sweat broke out as we trudged uphill through lovely Reeth Wood..

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..encountering a vineyard:

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..and a sudden parade of cars of an earlier vintage than most of the walkers:

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And then up and up through more woods with spring breaking out all over, as we walked up to the top of Blackdown, the highest point in Sussex, once owned by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

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This led us to the climax of this walk, the (whimsically named) Temple of the Winds: views for 25 miles over a vast expanse of Sussex:

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Retreating from the splendour of the panorama, we marched gamely along the ridge of the hill with other huge views, until (just for a moment) (as is traditional) we Got A Bit Lost:

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But only for a moment, you understand. Back on the straight and narrow, there were celebrations:

 

..and even more Care Was Taken

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before we discovered we had to climb up to get to the station, rather than roll downhill all the way. Eventually, though, the snug little town of Haslemere rewarded Ramblers with an outbreak of lifesized plastic pigs:

 

 

In all, 60 Haslemere Hogs designed to inflate civic pride and raise money for charity when they are sold in two months’ time. We eventually found the station, and were on the train home within minutes. A memorable outing across splendid high heathland, and a splendid Day Out.

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The next walk will take place on what promises to be another immaculate day: Saturday 30th September 2017.  Do come!

Words and pictures by Peter and Annie

 

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