27 August 2017: On the South Downs from Lewes to Southease

Liz led a large group of Red Ropers on this walk that headed south west from Lewes through Kingston. There was a sharp uphill climb onto the Downs, then we had lunch just where we joined the South Downs Way. The walk ended at Southease station, but most of us then has tea at the adjacent Youth Hostel.

The South Downs Way, above Kingston (By Kevin Gordon, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link)

This was bank holiday Sunday. Going out Victoria Station was so busy it was a little hard to find the Red Rope group. Those of us who stopped for tea had an interesting journey coming back, as our train from Southease to Lewes was cancelled. Most of us ended up in Brighton but found it almost impossible to get on the London train that was already on the platform, as it was already so full of people, and waited until a train we could get seats on.


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13 August 2017: Around Chelmsford

Nine of us caught the train out from London to meet John and Liz at Chelmsford Station. We took the bus to Galleywood, and then walked around the south and south-west sides of Chelmsford, mostly following the Centenary Circle — a walk created to mark the hundredth anniversary of Chelmsford becoming a borough:



The main house in Hylands Park

We stopped for coffee at Hylands Park, then had to make a bit of a diversion because of all the fences being put up for the V Festival the following week. Our next stop was for lunch in the churchyard in Writtle, and we then followed the river Can into Chelmsford. Our final stop was at John’s house, for a generously-provided free cream tea, then a short walk on to the railway station.


In John’s garden

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7-11 August 2017: A midweek visit to the Bedgellert Hut


The Cae Ysgubor in North Wales

The biggest benefit from our deal with the Lancashire Mountaineering Club is not that we can organise Red Rope trips to the LMC huts in north Wales and the Lake District — being affiliated to the British Mountaineering Council means that we can book most of the huts belonging to affiliated clubs, as listed in the BMC Hut List:


The major advantage of the LMC huts is that individual Red Rope members can stay in them without booking, so long as space is available and they have a personal key fob. Details are here, but note that everyone staying has to be a Red Rope member; no guests:


David Symonds of Merseyside Red Rope put together a party of seven members, from four different regions, who stayed at the Cae Ysgubor hut, outside Bedgellert, from a Monday to a Friday. The accommodation is quite excellent: a very large and very airy kitchen/living room at one end, and sleeping accommodation for 18 people in three rooms, on two levels, at the other. LMC members turned up while we were there to finish off two of the showers, but that will make four in all.


Red Admiral butterfly, in the woods north of Bedgellert

Most of us needed the Monday to get to Bedgellert, and the weather on Friday was poor so we went straight home, but in between we had three good hill days. The highlight was on Thursday, when Iolo Roberts joined us and led us up Moel Elio, a grand hill behind Llanberis, then along most of the ridge which joins it to Snowdon. Iolo lives in Caernarvon, works for the National Trust, and David and I had met him in August 2016 when the two of us, plus Dermot McKibbin, went on an Austrian Alpine Club klettersteig training course in Austria.


The summit of Moel Eilio, from the ridge that joins it to Snowdon



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9 July 2017 :A hot walk in the garden of England

Fran kindly organised this walk to Sole Street Station where we headed south to Luddesdown, Great Buckland,  and then to the pub at Harvel for some welcome liquid refreshment. We then headed north to pick up the train at Sole Street station.



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18th June 2017: Golders Green to the North London Bowling Club

As this was a blisteringly hot day of 30c the walk was a saunter from Golders Green tube station through Golders Hill Park and the lovely pergola to Jack Straws Castle then across to Hampstead heath walking through some woodland to Kenwood and on to the North London Bowling club which sits on the edge of the heath. The club was holding an open day under the National Gardens Scheme.

We arrived at lunchtime, sat at a table next to the Bowling Green to eat our lunch & some of the group also bought and enjoyed some home-made cake.
Veronica teamed up with a couple of club members to demonstrate some bowling and she actually managed to do quite well, winning the most shots!


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11th June 2017: Rickmansworth to Bushey

Veronica led a walk from Rickmansworth to Bushey, taken from the Freedom Pass book.

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15th June 2017, Essex Way Stage 5: White Notley to Coggeshall

Four of us set out from White Notley station to rejoin the Essex Way paths traversing broad arable fields to the ancient (and very small) Cressing church. Nearby were the Cressing Great Barns but we skipped a visit to these pressing on along farm tracks by fields of beans, barley and wheat. After passing the hamlet of Bradwell with a budding vineyard we found we were following the course of the River Blackwater shielded by willows and elders. We soon found a way through the bushes to picnic in lush grass alongside the muddy stream. After another mile on farm tracks we reached Grange Farm, on the outskirts of Coggeshall. We had a quick look into the massive Grange Barn (a monastic abbey tithes store) and a craft exhibition before finding the Abbey Mill. Across the pond from the mill was a small mansion, and in its yard a well preserved 14th century flint-built chapel with royal connections. Unlike the grange barn this complex remains in private hands; one of us had ten years ago listened to the owner complaining that he needed an agency such as English Heritage to take over its management. However, he seemed to be coping still.

By now we had passed Coggleshall on its S flank into more unspoiled farm countryside; but turning N a sheltered path took us right into the town. Here we crossed a wide common to explore the High Street. Coggeshall is a significant 16th/ 17th century market town with many half-timbered houses and one major merchant’s house (Paycockes). The clocktower tea garden claimed our attention straight away. Then Steve’s friend Glynn turned up to give us a quick guided tour of the residential streets and on down to the ancient bridge and quay where the Blackwater spreads its waters. We had intended to find our way to Braintree by bus from here but Glynn’s family sized car brought us smartly to Chelmsford Station for the journey home. On 29th June we will return to Coggeshall via Marks Tey Station for the Stage Six walk to West Bergholt on the outskirts of Colchester (10 miles).​
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