So, we went for a lovely hike today - a ramble, a stroll, what's that, a slog through soggy cow poop filled pastures and shoe sucking mud, a lovely walk through Surrey. It was a very organised walk. I found it on the internet. One of the local walking groups created it. Funny thing about these walking groups. They are very thorough. Very. The directions were written out in loving detail, and, believe it or not, were, for the most part, correct. Two tiny little flaws, however. The first was their thoroughness. As I'm the one that found the hike, it was my job to follow the directions. This meant walking through mud, over branches, climbing over fences and trying not to trip on rocks while carrying several sheets of paper with over 70 highly detailed and precisely measured directions. Try hiking and reading at the same time and not walking into an azalea. It's difficult. The directions were also very important because there was no accompanying map, and given that we were in the deepest, darkest depths of Surrey (home of rich people and Land Rovers), there was also no phone signal. So, without the excessively detailed directions, we were pretty much stuffed, and would have probably gotten lost and had to eat each other, though I suppose that might not have been very likely. Well, anyway, we would have gotten lost and gotten crabby and I would have gotten a bit load of crap from everyone else about my poor navigational skills, which is very nearly as bad as cannibalism.
Anyway, it was a lovely walk. We took an early (for us) train down to Holmwood, which is just south of one of my favourite places - Dorking. From there we meandered through residential streets before setting off across fields and eventually up to the top of Leith Hill, which, at 900 and some feet, is apparently the highest place in South East England, outside of Vauxhall on a weekend night! (Ha ha!). It was murky and a bit foggy, so the stupendous views from the top were a bit, um, limited, but still, it being England, there were clusters of muddy mountain bikers and several families sitting around on logs drinking tea and hot cocoa, purchased from the kiosk in the fairly ancient looking Leith Tower. Apparently, the Danes got their asses whupped on Leith Hill back in 851, when there were probably fewer mountain bikers cluttering up the trails. There was quite a bit more walking through forest, and then, very importantly, a pub lunch. I have learned in the years I've lived here that an absolute prerequisite for a successful hike is the presence of a pub at some point. A pub-less hike is simply a forced march through mud infested undergrowth and is always best to be avoided. We kind of wussed out on the last 3 miles of the hike as it was getting late, we were very muddy, and we stumbled across a bus, whose imminent arrival only 30some minutes later surely saved us seconds or more on our total time.
It was a good day. The weather was properly autumnal (slightly crappy but not overly so), the mud was of sufficient British hiking quality, the pub allowed dirty clothes and no one slipped and fell in the goo.
Tomorrow I'm off to cycle to Brighton and, hopefully, to get a few job applications done in the evening. I made the possible mistake of getting a slightly narrower seat than I had before on my bike - I thought it was exactly the same, but apparently it's 1 size narrower. I do sincerely hope that I'm not muffin topping over the edges the whole way there, or its going to be a very uncomfortable ride...