Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Two get a soaking in the Chilterns

On Sunday, possibly the wettest June day I can remember Deborah and I did a 22 mile walk in the Chiltern Hills.  I met Deborah in Henley-on-Thames and she drove us up to Christmas Common - it was raining long before we'd even started!  We set off over the ridge of Christmas Common with fantastic views over Oxfordshire we then dropped down off the hills onto the start of the Ridgeway and then slowly made our way back up to the top of the Chilterns.  Well it was a training walk after all.   Indeed, it turned out to be a rather hilly 22miles anti-clockwise circular-ish route taking in such places as Swyncombe house (amazing views), Ewelme Park, Park Corner, Nettlebed, Stonor and Pishill.  

Apart from the rain we had a couple of other obstacles to overcome, for example some tricky bits of navigation, avoiding being trampled by a heard of excitable young bullocks.  We had to fend them off to stop them from chasing us down a steep hill the bottom of which the stile was.  At one point I did a little dance to scare them off (which was quite effective intially) but they just came at us again.  So we kept shouting at them to keep the cows at bay and we managed to get out of the field unscathed.

So, after all that wet (did I mention it rained all day?!) walking we managed to complete the 22 miles which involved 4398ft of climbing (almost the height of ben nevis) but generally rather slow going at 2.5mph - there was an awful lot of stopping to look at the map etc and some fairly steep hills.

Deborah kept the spirits up on the last long climb back up to Christmas Common with a superb rendition of Thine Be the Glory and various other good traditional hymns!  However it was a definite relief to get back into the warmth of the car.