Well that was fun! The 2015 Pre-Walk Daunder was successfully completed with no mishaps, revolutions or tantrums. The weather was fine and a jolly time was had by all. Thanks to Alan Sloman for his impeccable organisation.
The intrepid Daunderers gathered in dribs an drabs at the appointed camp site in Crowmarsh Gifford. The camp site authorities had obviously been warned that we are a bunch of hooligans because we had a discrete area of the camp site all to ourselves, well away from the more genteel caravanners.
Despite a night of debauchery at one of Wallingford’s less salubrious hostelries, the merry band was up bright and early to face the daunting route that Alan had planned for the day. Phil was a bit photo shy and pretended to adjust his hip belt every time someone tried to take a group photo.
After a bit of coaxing, we were off through some fields with the promise of lunch at a pub somewhere.
Soon, we turned east to follow the Ridgeway along Grim’s Ditch.
Along the way there was some lovely woodland with a carpet of bluebells.
Before long, Gerry decided that we were going too fast and that we needed a break to reduce our average speed to a more sensible level. JJ decided to entertain us with his Larry Grayson impersonation (well, maybe not).
It was all going terribly well, until we encountered some uphill bits. This precipitated a bout of extended moaning from Phil about Alan’s route planning abilities.
As we climbed higher, splendid views opened up, including one of Didcot power station, which will soon be required to export electricity to Scotland to keep their lights on when they get rid of their last coal-fired power station. All around we were surrounded by picture postcard loveliness.
Before we could reach our lunch time oasis, there was a killer hill to climb.
Fortunately no one was injured or lost on the arduous ascent of Witheridge Hill. Miraculously, just over the brow of the hill, The Rising Sun pub came into view.
The pub appeared just in time to quell a mutiny amongst the troops. Food and drink calmed tempers and soothed discontent.
Suitably refreshed, it was onward and upward, with Captain Sloman leading from the rear.
Our path led us through some beautiful woodland. Navigator Sloman decided that the arrows painted on the trees were misleading, so we followed a more novel and circuitous route.
There was considerable confusion when a breakaway group decided to take a different route. However, order was restored with another tea break when the rebels re-joined the main party.
Alan’s tactic of leading from the rear backfired on the outskirts of Henley. Instead of descending along a ridge, the leading group continued along a path which opened onto the roughest part of Henley. We barely survived.
Fortunately, it wasn’t far to the camp site. For some reason, Mick decided that he wanted to follow JJ’s lead and do a Larry Grayson impersonation. Most of the group decided to go on the razzle in Henley, but I was suffering from a heat induced migraine and had an early night.