John Nash's Walking Diary

A circular walk from Wrotham Hill

New Years Day - 1st January 2008

I feel rough, but not due to excess last night, rather because of the cold that has been coming and going for about the last month coupled with the cough that has plagued me relentlessly since the end of September. But I feel well enough to go walking with the Plums and try my new shoes out.

Ray gives Keith and I a lift to Wrotham Hill where the walk starts. It's a good turn-out, with about 10 of us present. At Wrotham hill there is, not unusually a fairly thick blanket of fog. It's a bit daunting to to start a walk at the top of a big hill as it invariably means that the last bit will be an uphill slog just when you are at your tiredest.

So, we walk downhill to start with for a long way, then up and down a series of gentle hills, across muddy farmland and footpaths with so many stiles to cross that there seems to be one every five minutes. We reach the village of Stanstead where there's a pub, a church and a very impressive war memorial topped by a large bronze statue of a naked man (Greek style I suppose) carrying a large palm leaf above his head. His genitals obscured by a sort of a thong. The ladies all loiter at the rear of the memorial admiring the statue's buttocks!

Another steep climb and several more stiles later lead us to Hodsell Street and the "Green Man" pub where there is to be a held a Morris dancing festival this afternoon with several different groups taking part in various costumes. Most have arrived and we are in the bar, so it is very busy. We manage to get a beer and sit outside at a table overlooking the small village green.

I enjoy a roast beef and mustard sandwich that I made earlier as I take the weight off my poor tired feet. My new walking shoes no longer look new. Damn this mud! Though I am pleased that they are not rubbing or pinching at all in fact they are very warm and comfortable and are indeed waterproof. I may have to take the feet back though as there definitely worn out.

Mum and dad arrive about an hour after we do. I had told them that our ETA was at 1.30, when we actually got there just after 12 noon so it isn't long before we have to leave. I think that Mum and Dad will enjoy their trip here though at least the fog has lifted.

We continue our walk, more mud more stiles, no more pubs! Three miles later we're ascending Wrotham Hill and we are soon back at the car park. I took off my shoes, knock the worst of the mud and put on my slippers for the journey home, during which my feet succumb to rigor mortis.

John Nash

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