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CANTAB15 October 2002

CANTAB15 October 2002 published on

 ** Please note that this is an archive of the CANTAB publication and contains out-of-date information **


The West Anglian Way November 2002 – February 2003
Come and join Cambridge RA, Royston RA, and East Herts Footpath Society  along a new Long Distance path, The West Anglian Way, from Cambridge to Cheshunt.   It is accessible throughout by railway, and is named after West  Anglian Great Northern, and takes its symbol, the heron, from that of the railway. However, for copyright reasons, note that our heron looks different!

Train timetables are always liable to alteration:  please check nearer the date. There are pubs on the routes of all stages, but we advise people to bring some food. Leaders on walks 1 – 4 are Roger, Janet,  Gwen & Lawrence. The leader for walks 5, 6 is Mark.

1. Sat. 2 November 2002, Cambridge to Whittlesford (11 miles) or  half-day to Shelford (5 miles)
Start from Cambridge Station forecourt at 09.40.  Lunch at Stapleford.
Train from Bishops Stortford arrives Cambridge at 09.37; train from Stevenage at 09.25.  Return trains to Cambridge from Whittlesford at 21 & 57 mins., from Shelford at 01 minutes past each hour; to Bishops Stortford from Whittlesford at 12 & 43 mins., from Shelford at 39 mins. past each hour.

2. Sat. 16 November 2002, Whittlesford to Newport (12 miles) or Ickleton (4.5 miles)
Catch 09.34 train from Cambridge, arriving Whittlesford 09.43, or meet at Whittlesford station (West side) 10.00. Note – No pub at lunchtime (but possible at morning break!)
Train from Bishops Stortford arrives Whittlesford at 09.57. Return trains to Cambridge from Newport at 44 mins. past each hour; to Stortford at 56 mins. past each hour. Bus from Ickleton (School Turn) to Cambridge at 12 mins. past each hour (not passing Whittlesford station!), or self-led to Great Chesterford (for trains to Stortford) at 48 mins. past each hour

3. Sat. 30 November 2002, Newport to Bishops Stortford (11 miles) or half-day to Stansted (7 miles)Catch 09.34 train from Cambridge, arriving Newport 09.56, or meet at Newport station (village side) 10.00.  Lunch at Stansted.
Train from Bishops Stortford arrives Newport 09.44. Return trains to Cambridge from Stortford at 01 & 31 mins. past each hour, from Stansted at 35 mins. past each hour; to Stortford from Stansted at 7 & 35 mins. past each hour.

4. Sat 18 January 2003, Bishops Stortford station to Harlow Town station, 10 miles.
Catch 9.05 train from Cambridge, arrive Bishops Stortford 9.32 to start from station forecourt, 9.40. Lunch at Sawbridgeworth. The Bun Walk! (Short option to Sawbridgeworth)
Return trains to Cambridge from Harlow at 21 and 49 mins past each hour.

5. Sat.8 February 2003, Harlow Town station to Broxbourne station,  10/11 miles.
Catch 9.05 train from Cambridge. Start Harlow Town station forecourt. ( Short option, returning from Roydon at lunchtime). Pubs in Roydon.  Teatime refreshments at Dobbs Weir.  Leader Mark

6. Sat.22 February 2003, Broxbourne station to Cheshunt station, via Waltham Abbey, 10/11 miles (or short option, going direct to Cheshunt, missing out the loop to Waltham Abbey. Catch 9.05 train from Cambridge  Lunch stop at Hayes Hill Farm tearoom or Coach & Horses PH, and tea stop at Waltham Abbey).  Leader Mark

We hope to have certificates for finishers!

For further information, tel. 01223 356889

Kilnhill, Bassenthwaite,Cumbria 7 – 14 May 2003.
New readers of Cantab may not be aware that a small group from Cambridge have made an annual pilgrimage to the Lake District for the last 5 years or so. Once again, we plan to stay at Kilnhill with Ken and Heather Armstrong for a week, (Wed – Wed, leaving Thurs morning).

As previously, we shall aim to do about 9 – 12 miles a day, with a mountain climb if the weather makes this possible. We may  or may not know the particular route, but we do have a good range of maps & guidebooks, and we have visited the Lake District many times in the last 40 years.  We do not deliberately aim for screes, or places with high exposure, but bear in mind that the terrain is often rough & steep. The Lake District is just like that!  We will not do the same walks as previous years, but those who have come on all the holidays may find they are occasionally crossing the tracks of previous routes. We may drive a little further afield in 2003!

We will use OS Outdoor Leisure Series NE & NW Cumbria (yellow covers).  You might also like to have OS Landranger Sheet 98, West Cumbria., showing the guest house Grid Ref. 214 326 at the N end of Bassenthwaite Lake.  A metal walking pole (or two?) is highly recommended, and waterproof overtrousers are essential.

Kiln Hill Barn, Bassenthwaite is a good centre for the Northern Lakes.  In the house there are now 5 double or twin rooms, and 2 singles.  In the annex there is one double and 1 twin. Rates at 2001 were £235 per week bb/em. Parking is in a clean, cobbled yard.  The accommodation is good quality, with some rooms en-suite, all with central heating, and tea-making facilities.There is a hall pay-phone & TV lounge. The food is varied, generous in quantity, and very good. The Armstrongs have re-arranged the accommodation, and this year, all meals are in the house.

Transport – By car, using M6 to Penrith, then A66 Keswick bypass and A591 to Kiln Hill Barn.  It is possible to arrive by public transport.

Interested?  Then please make your own booking: Ken & Heather Armstrong, Kiln Hill Barn, Bassenthwaite, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4RG. Tel. 017687 76454…. Please let me know you have done so!

Cracked across at 14 months – or the sad tale of a pair of boots. . .
Readers will know (or at least guess) that your Editor does a lot of walking, something like 50 miles per week in her walking boots. For the sake of both feet and boots, I try to wear a couple of pairs alternate days, so a single pair of my boots might do 1250 miles in a year.  Normally, my boots last about 3 years under these conditions, and are treated with boot wax and the usual tender loving care.

Thus, I was not pleased when a pair of ladies’ Scarpa top-of-the-range size 39s cracked  above the toes after just 14 months, although the soles were in good order.  I returned them to “Open Air”, who were also concerned, and passed them back to the manufacturer.  I was distinctly annoyed when they came back with the comment that I had allowed the leather to dry out.  I have cared for boots for some 40 years, and if other types mostly make the 3000 mile plus mark under my treatment, then so should Scarpa.  My latest are a pair of substantial Meindl, costing a bit short of £100.  I’ll let you know if they are still going strong in 3 years’ time!

Essex 100 Walk,  August 2002
We recently had the pleasure of joining Essex Ramblers’ Association in their annual Essex 100 mile walk, 3 – 11 Aug.. The original idea was the brainchild of Fred Matthews, and we were delighted to see Essex’s grand old man of rambling riding in the support car most days. The route is different every year, and is a way of gathering groups from all over Essex, and of encouraging Essex County Council to put in new bridges, signs, etc, and to remove a few obstructions along the way.  Each walker is given a free prospectus of the route, complete with points of interest passed each day.

This year, the start was in Cambridgeshire, at Castle Camps.  The official opening was performed by Mrs Wendy Silby, Chairman of Cambs. C.C., and the day’s walk was accompanied by Karen Champion, the County Council Footpaths Officer covering South Cambridgeshire District.  Jack Rixon and Alan Hardy represented Castle Camps, and Roger Lemon and his wife came from Shudy Camps.

There were 55 people on the first day,  and we left Cambridgeshire in the late morning sun, to make it over the county border and via the Bumpsteads to Hempstead (12 miles), where we had left the cars in a large farmyard, and from whence a coach had taken us to the start of the day’s walk.

Sun 4 Aug started cloudy, and rain commenced steadily at lunchtime. The walk took 48 people a further 12 miles from Hempstead via Radwinter and Wimbish, and a devious route to Thaxted.  Here, as in subsequent places, the local councillor who opened the day’s walk spoke of the local opposition to the governments proposals to add a further three runways to Stansted airport.  This would swallow-up large sections of Uttlesford, as far south as the Eastons  We were encouraged to write to our MPs.

On Mon 5 Aug, the route took us from Thaxted to Wethersfield, via Great & Little Bardfield, and Finchingfield. (12 miles)  These are all “picture book” villages, but there were heavy downpours all day, and I mostly recall tramping along sodden green lanes under waterproof & umbrella, looking at the sea of umbrellas in front.  The best dressed Essex ramblers in summer rain wear boots with gaiters, shorts covered by Malden & District black dustbin bags, RA  or other T-shirt and large umbrella.  On the way home, it was a lovely afternoon, and Roger & I stopped at Finchingfield, just in time to have a splendid cream tea before the thatched tea-shop closed at 5.30.

Tues 6 Aug was a slightly shorter day, (11 miles), in delightful quiet countryside from Wethersfield to Stebbing, via Great Saling  and Bardfield Saling (with its unusual round-towered church).It was a fine day, but numbers had shrunk to 38, probably due to the conditions on the day before.

On Wed 7 Aug, the 12 mile route took us round some very attractive parts of Dunmow, and by the River Chelmer.  At one point, we all had to cross the A120.  Four people had yellow tabards.  We were lined up at the end of the path, and drilled. Two yellow tabards at the front (one an ex-policemen) advanced into the continuous stream of traffic and put up their hands.  And everything stopped (slight groaning of brakes from lorries down the queue), and we all went across, with some good-tempered waves from motorists.  In 1 km, we had to cross the  workings for the new A120, (where there is to be a pedestrian bridge).  The leader had obtained a permit, and a road-engineer was detailed to see us across the mud-with-puddles. (We don’t know if they feared we would slip or drown in the mud, or hijack a JCB!).  The pleasant engineer took a photo of the lot of us, and said we should do this every week to justify the cost of the footbridge.  We were all thinking “what a satisfactory day” when it started to rain, insidious light rain at first around 3 pm, becoming heavier…  The last sections were across arable fields, 2 recently cultivated, then through a potato field!

Thu 8 Aug, was an easy and delightful day of 11 miles. The route was less convoluted than some of the earlier days, and took us in almost a straight line from High Roding via Pleshey to Broomfield, all on pleasant paths or lanes.  The day was almost dry, with just 3 micro-showers.

Fri 9 Aug. From Broomfield, the walking route took us East of an old airfield, and past an enormous gravel pit – past woodlands and over the A12 on an accommodation bridge to Hatfield Peveril. By then, the 42 people were in their usual state of wetness. It continued raining through the grey afternoon to Wickham Bishops (11 miles).

On Sat 10 Aug, with permission we all parked at the jam factory at Tiptree.  The morning started dry but very humid, and soon there were rumbles of thunder.  By 11 am, 38 people advanced unsteadily across slippery flooded stubble in a thunderstorm, as the rain sluiced down. The day was black, and there was a low moaning between the thunder claps.  Later we learnt that we had been half a mile away from a mini-tornado!  The pub at Little Totham was very tolerant of all these wet people, eating their own sandwiches inside, and leaving mud and water where they made contact!  After lunch the sun came out, and we all steamed, and made it back to Tiptree in good spirits, in spite of an unforeseen detour, adding a mile to the route (13 miles).  We had an excellent tea at the factory, and set off back home, via Braintree as far as Sible Hedingham, only to find the car  was diverted back to Braintree by floods.

Sun 11 Aug. The last day was blessedly only 7 miles to Layer Breton, near the Blackwater Estuary, passing the lovely Layer Marney Towers. The event finished at lunchtime with a barbeque. Some  31 people got their certificates from the Mayor of Colchester, Nigel Chapman, and each walker was given a friendly send-off by the RA Essex Area Chairman, Colin Jacobs.

Congratulations to Essex RA Area on a very well-organised event, which was most enjoyable, in spite of the weather. We met several old friends and made some new ones. We would encourage other people to join another year.  2003’s event will be in May, from Long Melford to Chingford, near Epping Forest.

New Footpath at Stourbridge Common, Cambridge
To walk to Fen Ditton over Stourbridge Common, it has been necessary to go “inland” and cross the railway line by the footbridge with many steps – difficult for some, and impossible for bikes, prams and wheelchairs. This is a confusing and unattractive start to the Fen Rivers Way.  One often meets walkers puzzling over the sign board at the end of Riverside.  Recently a board walk has been constructed under the river railway bridge which makes a much pleasanter walk to Fen Ditton and a good cycle commuting route for those living in that area.

It is also possible to have  a short circular walk around Stourbridge Common using the new boardwalk and the old railway bridge.  Sadly, however, on a recent visit, it was noticed that access to the railway bridge is becoming difficult because of overgrowth through lack of use.  It is hoped that there are no plans to dismantle the bridge.

Bernard Hawes

E-Mail Transmission of Cantab Rambler
Cantab usually appears every two months. Those of you who receive Cantab by e-mail will generally receive it in a compressed “Winzip” form. If you would prefer to have it uncompressed, then please let us know. If you would like to receive an issue by post, a large SAE would be appreciated!

Any comments on content, and offers of brief articles will be gratefully received.

This is a privately produced magazine, and the views expressed are solely those of the editor, or the author of an individual item. Janet Moreton 01223 356889


Price 10 pence where sold

© Janet Moreton, October 2002

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