Bangers' Greensand Ridge Walk
Bangers sums up the weekend, but do check out our fantastic photo gallery of the walk as well...
Quite a few new moons ago, in conversation with the Count and Ringer, it was mentioned that this year's challenge could be walking the Greensand Ridge Path over the weekend before my birthday, which happened to be a significant '0' number. After a few conversations, and then meetings, the plan for the walk took shape. After appearing on the website it became clear that a goodly number of Hashers were able to take part.
The weather forecast for the walk threatened very hot temps. and heavy thunderstorms but on arrival at Sandy on the 18th we were treated to a grand summer's evening. The only person who was missing was Clipboard Man, aka Ringer who had not worked out that getting out of Dunstable at 5pm is not a good idea! Getting us all to the start involved Mrs Bangers and Smiffo shuttling us there, and only Shufflecock had to use his car. Some started a bit further down the route! and it was hard to get past the Thornton Arms without a beer-stop. A good 3 mph clip saw us arrive in good time for the Indian meal at Sandy, but due to many customers we were rather late eating. Bangers was presented with one of Subby's birthday cards and a commemorative 'Walk Shirt' (thanks Lady P). Clap Trap and Catch-it could only do this leg as they had other commitments for the weekend. A quick hot bath on returning home and a good night's sleep meant that I was in good shape for the next day.
Meeting at Ampthill Park we were assisted by eldest daughter Gill, son-in-law Roger and Kisses who were able to take us to the start at Sandy. Only Shuffle missed out, but followed on in due course. A group photo and prompt start by 10 o'clock saw us proceeding at what proved to be a slightly quicker pace than necessary towards the A1, then Norton, and on towards Old Warden. With a cloudy sky and a cooler temp good progress was made, but a missed path led us 'off piste' for a mile or so with Underlay using GPS to get us back on trail. Frequent drink stops were required and 'rocket fuel' sandwiches and snacks were consumed et al. We arrived at the Greyhound in Haynes on time, and with the sun now out had a leisurely lunch break of an hour. At this point Edwina 1-2-3 realised that he had forgotten to bring his car keys with him (leaving it at the Pub the night before and wanting to do only half the walk) so after noting the times of the bus service back to Bedford (1 per hour) proceeded to make himself comfortable and when the bus arrived was nowhere in sight. Despite pleading by many Hashers it was a "more than my job's worth" attitude by the driver he disappeared down the the road as 1-2-3 came out of the pub!!
We were joined by Gill and Roger and their 3 dogs, and with the afternoon getting hotter we went through Chicksands wood, skirted Clophill, met and then crossed the A6 into Maulden woods. Soon Nik Nak started to feel the heat and after being given treatment and a 15 min stop was able to carry on. With the path more undulating and a very hot sun we had to make sure that we were well hydrated in what was quite open countryside. Stone in the shoe problems and the group spreading out, meant a collection stop outside Ampthill was called for. It was good to see FC, Screamer, Boris, The Count and Uncle Tom Cobley and all, still on their feet! The last 2 hours to the finish in the Park were tough and we could have all done with the energy of the Springer Spaniels who were dashing everywhere. Getting one's shoes off at the finish was a relief and a sponge down restored some comfort. Once again we were rather late eating at the Flying Horse, and again a hot bath went some way to make those aching bones better.
Sunday. Again a cool morning, and after liberal applications of 'Deep Heat' some normality was achieved. Capt F was with us for at least 400m so we carried on regardless! A more steady pace was set by Pecker and Smiffo and the 1-in-3 hill in Millbrook proved no problem We made steady progress and at Eversholt were met by Blowfelt who acted as sherpa and transported some rucksacks to the lunch break at the Royal Oak at Woburn. Well done! We were met and applauded in by Rapid and others, and once again had a good lunch break. Forking's other sister Sara met us and was able to join us for the rest of the route. We went 'off piste' towards the A5, crossed over into Stockgrove Park and all used the ice cream van to refresh us. Although warmer it was not so humid so a steady plod took us through Rushmere onto familiar ground, across the water meadow to the Globe Inn, and after seeing if any one wanted a lift on to the finish (via Mrs Bangers car) it was decided to carry on like good troopers along the tow-path. At last the finish loomed up, and even the group photo featured Double!! Joining our ferrying cars and drivers (thanks to son-in-law Chris) there was some laughs as Boris walked round and round the Car Park to get an exact mileage on her GPS. We were all transported back to Ampthill and had a good 'Blow Out' meal at the Dew Drop. Well done everybody. I have managed to raise over £1000 for my Charities and I thank ALL of you who supported me (donations still welcome). Well done H5.
P.S. Now fully recovered from those 38 miles.