A Saturday Snowdrop Saunter

Pictures and words by Helen Abbott

This started out as an AAA walk organised by Steve W. for Saturday 6th February 2016 from Stokenchurch, a "training route" taking in 4,400 feet of height in 26.6 miles (with an optional second leg round most of the route again!).

However 7am saw me responding to an urgent email instead of setting out in my car and I did not arrive until just after the start of 8am. Luckily I had the route on my GPS and thought I could catch up but it quickly became clear that a combination of peering at this in heavy rain and in an unfamiliar area, plus walking briskly on slippery hilly paths was not a good idea. I decided to carry on and finish the route on my own anyway (at least this first circuit).

The route itself was tough going with strong headwinds and plenty of mud but it had its better moments with the snowdrops being just out at the right time at Swycombe (and some friendly faces at the church there) plus some good views in the drier afternoon. Navigation became much easier on the Ridgeway and CW and on the way back via Southend, Turville and Ibstone. The rain inevitably came back and the last short, steep and slithery hill seemed a particular challenge in gathering darkness and cold.

I did eventually catch up some of the group - at Stokenchurch! They were getting ready to do the second circuit and probably have much more of a tale to tell...