Circuiting the Chesham Ring

Sometimes what I like about walks, outings, holidays – as well as the walks, outings and holidays – is getting there. Of course that depends on whether my journey is going relatively smoothly, and thus how early or – more particularly – how late I will be.

So, on Saturday July 14th, the day of Ken’s walk around the Chesham Ring – which appropriately enough is around the town of Chesham in Bucks. – I was pleased that I departed from home at my proposed time, caught the intended-and-on-time train at Manor Park, and saw – as arranged – Jinan waiting for me exactly by the doors of my carriage at Stratford Station.

I can’t say that I’d planned or expected us to walk across the platform, off one train and straight on to a Central Line train, but that’s what happened. Similarly, changing from the Central Line to the Bakerloo at Oxford Circus, as we reached the platform an appropriate train came in and in three stops, some stairs and escalators, we were in Marylebone Main Line Station. Oh, and we’d met Lynne walking along the same foot-tunnels that serviced the escalators and stairs.

efog chiltern mound 180714artIf this was a mini Newgrange, we couldn't find the entranceWith the smoothness of the day, I had time to look at Marylebone Station itself, inside and out, meeting Ken and Fred and Peter B. in the process. I haven’t been to Marylebone before – having lived in London just about all of my life so far – but it’s quite a nice station and I wouldn’t be surprised if John Betjeman hasn’t mentioned it somewhere.

So, onto the intended train, departing on time at 09.27, and – still going smoothly – through the Metropolitan suburbs of London.

It was only when we reached Chalfont and Latimer Station that I received a message from Amina saying she’d missed the train by a door-won’t-open-’cos-it’s-ready-to-depart whisker, and was on the next one. And would we wait? Well, Ken being in charge as well as a gentleman said that we would, so I texted her a positive reply. But, we were only at Chal.&Lat., and our meeting place was 10.15 at Chesham, where others might be. Gallantly – being lady and gentlemen (if that terminology is still acceptable) – Jinan, Peter and I said we’d while away the time talking on the platform at C.&L., whilst the others went for refreshments in Chesham – which is one Metropolitan Line stop away, on a branch line.

In due course, as per the Chiltern Railways’ timetable, the next train arrived and we met a thankful Amina. Then, the four of us had to wait for a branch-line train. Which duly arrived, together with Kathy and Ann and Trevor amongst it’s passengers.

Reaching Chesham, our next step was to find the refreshmenteers, and a phone call ascertained that they were in a Black Cafe, but in Italian. Walking towards that appuntamento (that’s rendezvous in English French), some of us spotted Peter G. and Parviz looking for a car-park, so we informed them of our cafe destination and joined the pioneers. Teas, coffees and buns duly drunk or noshed and Peter and Parviz having found us, the then 12 eventually set-walk through Saturday car-free Chesham High Street, beginning our circuitous foot journey around the town.

efog chiltern black horse 180714artOutside the Black Horse. Note the No Parking signs.I have decided because it is 23.32 not to go into too much detail about the walk. Briefly, it is a nice one, with some up-hills and some down-hills, quite a lot of (not particularly well sign-posted for the Chesham Ring) footpaths, a bit of road-edge walking, one or two slight wrong ways, one leader and some self-appointed deputies, three maps (one usefully G.P.S.’d), only one buried compass amongst the twelve of us (not counting the possibly unreliable Smartphone one), quite a lot of heat and sunshine, one pub where we had to be surreptitious about eating our own lunches – even having bought our pints and that – quite a lot of Red Kites, no Partridges, at least one Pheasant, one Marbled White, and some other things.

The 7.5 mile circuit got us back to Chesham at 17.10, a train left at 17.27, so – leaving nine people in a cafe – Jinan, Lynne, Amina and myself bought ice-creams and caught the 17.27.

So – a nice walk was had by all, I think. I think it was a nice walk, and thanks to Ken – and to Clive for pre-walking (most of) it with Ken – and thanks to the rest of the pleasant company during the day.

It is now 23.42. The article is about a day out. It was to enable a walk around Chesham, but I decided I’d write about something other than the walk itself. After all, there’s more to a journey than just the walking bit. And one of the photos shows some of us walking.

Paul Ferris, 15th July 2018