Mileaters on Tour: ...and look what happened after we left!
Well, it actually happened; after all the uncertainties surrounding Covid and the trials & tribulations endured by Mark, our organiser, over the last 6 months in his negotiations with our hotel, 18 Mileaters and assorted canine companions managed to gather at Oxwich Bay on The Gower in South Wales.
Over the next 3 days, 3 good walks gave us a sample of the fine countryside and glorious coastal scenery that The Gower has to offer - not to mention the inside of gorse bushes, rickety stiles, and encounters with brambles and streams. Who was it who said "I'm sure the map shows the path goes this way?"
Our Day 1 afternoon walk enjoyed fine sunshine as we visited Oxwich Point and Oxwich Castle, even if the 400 foot climb up steep steps near the start came as a rude awakening to all, even the fitter ones amongst us. Day 2 and more coastal delights from Rhossili before lunching on The Beacon, with grand views over Worms Head and Rhossili Bay. A 3 mile extension for some ended in a sprained ankle for one, who had been concentrating on discussing "Endowment" policies or something similar, rather than safely negotiating the steep descent ! No names, no pack drill. Day 3 brought a walk along the beach before climbing Cefn Bryn for more wonderful views across the peninsula and to Lundy and the Devon Coast to the south. Here more joined us for the "essentially downhill" return journey to our hotel. Well, it looked straightforward on the map, and that's all I'm saying. But we did get back safely after our 8 mile circuit, and the rain held off until we had finished our celebratory cuppa.
Although the omens had not been good, we were all so looking forward to getting away for a break, that we were determined to make it work, and it did. The hotel's 4 metre table rule at meal times did make for some boisterous cross-restaurant banter however. Some intrepid souls did even venture into the sea, but as the tide was out that involved 1/2 mile out and back!
And did The Gower recover from our visit ? I think not, as it is now in extended lockdown. Timing is everything.
Finally, a big "thank you" again to Mark for all his patience in organising such an enjoyable and well needed staycation.
Sunshine in Wales, never believe it!
16 of the 18 Mileaters gathered outside the car park of the hotel in Oxwich. We did have to pinch ourselves that we were in Wales on the Gower and the sun was shining.Now the first walk was supposedly a nice gently amble along the coastal path. Some will dispute this as a gentle walk wouldn't be the best description. Not many of us had the breath to count all the steps up to the top!We got there and wow what a lovely view and very pleasant walk but so hot incredible for late September and in Wales.
Back at the hotel some brave souls ventured in for a swim. Well the hotel was right on the beach. Only trouble was it was a good half a mile walk to reach the water when the tide was out.Due to the Covid restrictions mileaters were not being put off at having our pre-dinner drinks together. So a gathering on the beach each evening was under taken for a drink and a chat before dinner.
Now in we go for our evening meal, just bear in mind they have known we were coming a year ago and several days prior to our arrival much correspondence had taken place.
18 people wanting to eat together did give them some headaches but to accommodate us all they put us in the lovely Chestnut room 2 to a table . Now 2 of our members had to become engaged just so they could sit together on the same table. This was quickly broken off at check out. I could say our meal times were eventful to say the least, but Basil Fawlty and Manuel spring to mind.I will hence give a few examples. Maybe they do do things differently in Wales, but when presented with a bowl of soup and Manuel asks " would you like a spoon with that ?" " No, I expect the soup to just jump into my mouth!" Blank expression on Manuels face " Yes please"
Katie was presented with her ice cream pudding and once again Manuel " would you like a spoon?" The spoon saga didn't stop there , next evening my chocolate desert came no cutlery was brought so I asked for a spoon . Manuel brought me a tablespoon! Then Tom also had to ask for a spoon where upon he was brought a choice of 3 different types of spoons.
Don't get me wrong in England it is customary to have cutlery with a meal, obviously not at this hotel! After all Wales is famous for its Welsh love spoons but not for eating with.At the first mornings breakfast the tea pot came lovely cup of tea. Second morning lovely pot of hot water! No tea bags, you have to put them in yourself.
Now another of these strange customs so Lynne and Sue thought were to have your cornflakes after your cooked breakfast, not to their liking at all. But Manuel did get the hang of it.Don't get Lynne started on the marmalade. Who would have thought having marmalade on breakfast toast was so unusual it did quite baffle the waiting on staff and finally we did get some. Lynne was all for auctioning hers off to the highest bidder.
I can fully understand getting all 18 of us feed took a hell of a lot of working out. So, to achieve this Katie and Peter had to have their breakfast at 8am while the rest of had to wait until 8.30am. So when we duly arrived at 8.25 am, we found Katie and Peter all on their Todd surrounded by a room full of invisible guests having breakfast.We can't just point the finger at Basil and Manuel the equipment played its part. The toaster got its own back on us by throwing the toast or warmed bread out the back of the toaster! It did help though when some people who were having the continental breakfast needed to thaw out their frozen croissants. Thanks be to the toaster that day.
Manuel bless him, had taken away our starters plates and very seriously said " what dessert would you like now?" Much to his surprise I said " Actually we would like our main course before desert" to which he looked very taken aback and in a confused voice said " ye ok then " Well perhaps now you can see why it gets the Fawlty Towers experience.
Let's get on with the second walk. This started from the very famous worms' head. It wasn't a particularly sunny day but it was still warm . The walk took us along the coastal path towards Rhossilli bay. Stunning views all the way. We stopped at the trig point at the top of Rhossilli down for a well-earned lunch break. At this point 3 members were taking the shorter route back to the car park ,while the rest of us walked on. The downs were scattered with some lovely welsh ponies, not bothered in least by us walking right close to them along the way.
We came to a rather steep descent and this is where I came a cropper , slipped on the wet grass and took a tumble, resulting in a sprained ankle , OUCH. But in true mileaters fashion I was soon surrounded by very concerned and helpful people. Dear Stuart lent me his walking poles as there was still nearly 3 km to go. As it was going to be a very slow hobble for me the rest went on ahead and Mark and I made very slow progress back to the car. Nearly back to the road my saviour Suzanna was waiting in her car at the end of the footpath , Godsend as I really needed the loo . Too which she whisked me off to , very much appreciated I can say.So that was the end of my walking holiday, I missed the last 2 walks so someone else can write those.
Dear Sally did take me for a drive around Mumbles pulling into car parks so we could look at the views. I did have a hobble along the high street and managed to stop Sally spending too much of Toms hard earned money (for which he was truly grateful). Alas all good things come to an end, the last walk was over 3 cliffs bay and only 4 mileaters did this. Arend and I sat in the sun in the car park while the walkers got on with it.A very memorable walking holiday in more ways than one! Everyone is safely back home in Martinstown.
Mileaters Walk on 8th September 2020.
The first mileaters for many months prompted a good turnout of 18, all raring to go. A short socially distanced meet on the green followed by a drive to Evershot and by 10 am we were ready for the off. At least everyone was apart from the leader who somehow got confused about directions from the start. Phil wittily pointed out this was some what of a record even for a walk led by Stuart. Much laughter.
Things improved after that and we kept a steady pace to Lewcombe church where we planned to have our coffee. Fate intervened since we met the lovely Jean who kindly gave us a talk on the Church, fairies and times gone by. The Church is well worth a visit and the circular stained glass window is striking.
Of the mini assault course and stream crossing we will say little other than it was accomplished without anyone getting wet and it was quite fun.
Melbury Osmond is a lovely village and leads onto the park and it's avenue of Oaks and Beech trees. An ideal picnic spot beneath the boughs and time to rest and enjoy the tranquillity before a short distance back to our cars.
An excellent walk and such good fun after all this time.
Last walk before 'lockdown'...
The last walk before lockdown seems like an age ago, and we have moved into a very different world now. I know that most Mileaters have continued with their walking as part of their daily exercise and, with the help of Nick Priddle, we have discovered (or rediscovered) the pleasure of the many walks from our village.
Anyway, the last walk was a 6 miler from the Castle Garden Centre at Sherborne, heading South through the lovely deer park and onwards to North Wotten before turning back towards Sherborne. We had lovely views over both the old castle ruins and the new castle.
It was very muddy in parts, which is amazing to think of considering the very dry weather we have had over the past few weeks. The writer took a fair amount of ribbing over the mud (good natured I hope!). We ended up having a pleasant lunch at the garden centre. This was almost certainly the last time we have been able to sit down together in close proximity. “Zoom” is great but absolutely not the same!
We look forward to regathering as a group in the near future …whenever that might be.
Mileaters - brave the mud!
After weeks of rain and miserable weather the Mileaters were pleased to be able to don their walking gear again and set out for a 5.5 mile walk from the Hare and Hounds pub in Waytown, north of Bridport. The circular walk went towards Pymore where there once was a busy rope and hemp milling centre around the river Brit. Mill workers cottages had been modernised and the small development was very tranquil and different to the time when several hundred mill workers worked there.
At times the going was very challenging and extremely muddy in places and navigating farm gates was treacherous as the mud came up to the top of your walking boots. However Mileaters are made of strong stuff and everyone completed the walk unscathed.
Although we were expecting strong winds and the odd shower we were slightly caught out by the hail storm that greeted us half way round.
As always the best bit of the walk was the pub lunch and the Hare and Hounds provided us with good food at a reasonable cost.
Mileaters enjoy The Sun...
A rare sunny day welcomed a record 26 Mileaters, and 4 canine friends, for a local walk taking in a selection of Dorchester's historical sites.
Weekend rains, courtesy of Storm Ciara, had put paid to the original circuit encompassing Poundbury Hill Fort and the Roman Aqueduct, flooding the track to Wrackleford, so we resorted to Plan B. From the Sun Inn our route took us to the Roman Town House - the most complete example in the UK - and then to Hangman's Cottage where some ghoulish discussions ensued on Thomas Hardy's account of the Victorian "Hanging Fairs".
Following the Mill Stream to Fordington's former Loud's Mill, we then squelched across the water meadows for a coffee break at Stinsford Church, with its memorials to Hardy and Cecil Day-Lewis.
Onwards to Grey's Bridge, to the site of the former public swimming area in the River Frome, and across the Dorset Showground, we eventually arrived back at our start point, muddy but unbowed.
Having had our fill of culture for the day we repaired to the Sun Inn for some well-earned rest and rehydration.
The village walking group began some 25 years ago with the aim of walking the Dorset Coast Path, in sections, from the Devon border to Sandbanks. Subsequently the reverse route from Sandbanks to Devon has been undertaken.
We are a friendly group of local residents, ex-residents, and colleagues from the area, who meet on a fortnightly basis to enjoy the diversity of the wonderful Dorset countryside. We take it in turns to lead a walk with most members being allotted a fortnight's slot twice a year. The choice of distance, location, and day within that fortnight is at the discretion of the fortnightly leader, but walks (anywhere in Dorset) are usually between 4 and 8 miles.
Walk details are distributed by email. A picnic lunch is often carried in the Summer, but a pub lunch in the Winter is the norm - rehydration is de rigueur! Generally we meet on the Village Green at 10.00 a.m.