Sunday, October 28, 2018

Coombe Hill & Chequers Walk 2018 (& 2004)

Off message: Gill and I went for this fantastic 8 mile autumnal walk last Sunday in the Chilterns. The weather was incredibly warm and sunny for the time of year. Many trees were still remarkably green which I put down to the unusual hot summer we have had this year.

The walk starts in Wendover, Buckinghamshire. It took us about 55 minutes to drive from Forest Gate. There is also a railway station in the village with trains to London.

The first part of the walk is up Coombe Hill to the summit, where there is a monument to local Buckinghamshire soldiers, who were killed during the Boer War in South Africa 1899-1902. One of the first memorials to be erected not to honour famous Generals and military victories but to remember the names of all the ordinary soldiers who died.  The panoramic views from the top are magnificent.

Next is a rather steep walk down to the road and then walk across fields (top left of collage). Due to a failure to read instructions properly, we walked up the rather steep Beacon Hill instead of around it. It was however a great place to stop to have lunch and enjoy the views.

After this some very pleasant wood and hillside walking which took us alongside the country estate of British Prime Ministers, Chequers. See its main entrance gates in top top right of college. I have no idea if the current Prime Minister was in residence at the time. She is also a walker and I would have loved to have bumped into her to give her the benefit of my views on Brexit (and other things)

After Chequers we stopped off for some chocolate ice cream at a farm shop then continued into the famous beautiful and peaceful Chiltern woods. The paths through the woods are a little confusing but we managed to make it without getting too lost.

We ended up back at Wendover and it took just over 4 hours to complete the walk. We stopped off for a drink outside the "Shoulder of Mutton" pub.

We have done this favourite walk a few times now over the years but will always remember our walk in 2004, when we went with a number of Tower Hamlets UNISON trade union comrades, while training for the 3 Peaks challenge (walking up and down the three largest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours). See the group picture outside the "Shoulder of Mutton" from 2004 and behind me is my friend, George Woznicki, who sadly is no longer with us. A fantastic trade unionist, housing worker, father and husband who is much missed. 

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