Fifth anniversary walk

FEBRUARY 18 2017: Twelve walkers set out from the Harrow pub in Farleigh yesterday on the fifth anniversary walking group outing.  They were led by our usual navigator Dave assisted by local resident Phil Willis. Sadly Phil was walking alone as his usual partner Suki was laid up at home with a sore paw.

Open grassland beyond Ledgers Road




A short stretch down Harrow Road led to Chelsham Common where Martin Perkins felt compelled to check out the interior of the Bull – assuring us that it was related to a prospective darts match and not because he needed a quick pint. The group trudged along a lengthy muddy path before crossing Ledgers Road and reaching better footing on open grassland. The sun had appeared and walkers were rewarded with a view of the glistening London skyline way to the north.

Sun casts late-afternoon shadow

At Chelsham Court Farm navigator Dave was briefly flummoxed by the complex route among outbuildings, with only the occasional waymark to show the way, even though we were on the Greenwich Meridian Trail.  We arrived safely at St Leonards Church, ostensibly in Chelsham but really in the middle of nowhere as it was built in the 13th century to service local farms.

Next stop was for refreshments at White Bear pub where the walk inspected the substantial concrete white bear – which replaced the more portable version which was liberated by Canadian WW2 airmen from nearby Biggin Hill and presumably now resides somewhere across the Atlantic.

The return leg took the group past St Mary the Virgin church in Farleigh, dating from the 11th century and largely unchanged since the 13th.  Veteran choir members remembered squeezing into St Mary's to celebrate former chorister Dick Diplock daughter's wedding, at which she arrived on horseback. The group were soon back at The Harrow where an excellent dinner was enjoyed by all.

The twelve who celebrated the group's fifth anniversary

Peter Gillman recalled that the walking group had been set up on 8 February 2012.  The pioneer walkers were himself, Pete Smith and Ozzie Jon Evans, all members of the bass section.  Peter passed on fraternal greetings from Pete Smith and then read out a message received from Jon, who said how much he missed the muddy and rainy English weather while strolling along Perth beach in 35-degree sunshine wearing shorts and tee-shirt.


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