Gruelling Stage Three of President’s Pilgrimage

A group people on a hillside

The intrepid walkers taking a break for a sandwich

Seven adults and two dogs set out on Stage 3 of the President’s Pilgrimage on 25 June starting from Westhumble station.  Only five adults reached the end at Reigate, the canines in the group and their owners having more sense!

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As it turned out, a totally unnecessary climb up Box Hill did result in some wonderful views, but led to something of a diversion and our intrepid travellers found themselves somewhat behind schedule and several miles off course.  Parting company at Betchworth, where Charles, Marianne, Peggy and Stella Marriott hired a particularly grumpy taxi driver to return them to civilization, the remaining five set out along the North Downs Way towards Merstham.

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A thunderstorm added a particular dimension to the walk and paths, already very wet after Wednesday’s floods, soon became treacherous. Once the President had measured his length in the mud, rapidly followed by the venerable figure of Noel Brownsell, a decision was made to curtail the walk a mile short of its destination.

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The ‘lost’ mile will be added to Stage 4, which will take the Pilgrims to Oxshott on a day in August yet to be decided. There must be an easier way of docking years from one’s time in Purgatory!   SP

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