Photo-bombing, Tett Towers and a Strangulation
(AKA another typical EFOG walk)
With the majority of the group being away on Ken’s weekend at Hexham, Ann volunteered to lead a walk on Saturday 11th August for those left at home. So it was that Ann, Cathy, Sue S. and I gathered at Upminster station on a pleasantly warm morning. Cathy decided to use the photo-booth at the station to sit in whilst putting on her boots. However, a loud scream, or possibly two, signalled that the some-one was already using the booth; I don’t know who was the more surprised!
Making a swift exit from the station we turned right, as instructed by Ann, but upon checking the directions found we should have turned left. Not going too well so far! A trip to Costa’s for refreshment was called for. Having orientated ourselves, we set off visiting Upminster thing. Rumour has it that it is a windmill, but it’s been covered in plastic for years and could be anything, so will remain Upminster thing until revealed.
Back to the walk, and we walked through Upminster Park to bring us out at the River Ingrebourne, which was to be our companion for rest of the walk (and was probably the only one amongst us with any sense of direction!). A very pleasant walk ensued with plenty of wildlife including Egrets, Buzzards and small Blue Butterflies.
Arriving at Hornchurch Country Park, there was an outdoor gym where we worked out on the equipment in what looked like a practice session for the Gladiators TV show. After lunch at the Essex Wildlife Trust visitor centre, we continued through the park, which was a former World War II airfield. Many of the old defences still remain, such as pill boxes and tett turrets, which were basically reinforced lids to cover snipers hidden in small holes in the ground (think mole with attitude and machine gun).
Anyway, we continued, and as is the fashion now, there were a number of exercise stations along the route, where those so inclined can pretend to be Mr Motivator or whoever. We eventually passed a sit-up bench (which I can do), so to impress the ladies I decided to demonstrate my sporting prowess. Unfortunately my camera case strap, which was hanging casually from my neck, caught on the bench, so that instead of looking like a sporting legend, I almost ended up strangling myself, causing much hilarity (and very little sympathy, I noticed) amongst the ladies.
The rest of the walk was very nice if uneventful and we took a break at Stillwell lake, named after Squadron Leader Stillwell, who we speculated was always referred to as “Stillers” by the chaps. We made our way to Rainham station to complete the walk, passing the surprisingly attractive village of Rainham (at least that’s what it says in the guide). A delightful 5 mile walk, and well done and thanks to Ann for organising her maiden walk.
Trev Eley, 13th August 2018