On the hottest day of August, so far, 26 Mileaters ventured out to walk in the environs of Cattistock. The number equalled the record but the accompanying 8 dogs was a new record. I am sure the number of participants was swelled by the recommendaton for the Fox and Hounds pub by Nick Priddle.
I had only been to Cattistock once before and that was to visit the famous “Dorset Knob Throwing Festival” sadly, this has moved to a more easily accessible site since then. Until that visit I didn’t know there were so many things one could do with a Dorset Knob. Having tried to eat one I think the best thing to do with them is throw them!
A gentle contour upwards from Cattistock led to the Wessex Ridgeway, a panoramic view was enjoyed by all. I had kept the next bit as a surprise. Who knew that grown men would come here to fly their model aeroplanes? Whilst we sort the appropriate permisions to cross the runway ( a bit like Gibraltar) we were entertained to an aerial display by one of the owners. Fearing an attack by our dogs on one of the planes we quickly moved on into the wheat field next door. ( I suppose it would have been a dogfight?)
Further on along the Ridgeway a convenient place was found for a Coffee stop. Imagine the disappointment felt by some when a 4x4 appeared on the horizon looking every bit like an ice cream van only to turn out to be the local gamekeeper checking the area. (Curses foiled again!)
One of the challenges to leaders these days is to find a few feet of footpath that has not been walked by our esteemed leader Nick. I think this walk managed to achieve the objective for about 20 metres but I don’t think he had seen the aeroplanes before, so job done.
The return leg was via Maiden Newton. Here we were informed that the railway was only there because it was too expensive to drive a tunnel through to Cerne Abbas. We found the first of three churches which marked the turning point for home and lunch. Our path was now along the Macmillan Trail which follows the valley of the River Frome back past Chilfrome to Cattistock. The dogs had a mad five minutes splashing inthe water and then soaking everyone who happened to be in the wrong place come ‘shaking’ time. I was disappointed that none of the group was tempted to use the rope swings despite earlier intrigue, assurances and vague promises.
This part of the journey sees three churches within a mile of each other. Each one having distinctive features to its neighbour whether this be ‘No pews’, extreme gargoyles, William Morris windows, fresh water spring in the church yard, an exceedingly tall tower or the largest font pedestal I have seen being several metres tall and needing a few strong people to lift it by pulley.
We were very glad to reach the pub for lunch and ignored the locals who asked if we were a coach party. “No we are Mileater from Martinstown”. I was amazed how quickly the food was served the quality and quantity being superb. I think every one of the 26 would recommend a visit.
Tip: Take a designated driver as the Beer is very good also.
Martin and Lesley Usherwood