LOWDOWN Summer 2009 page 24

BROADSTONE CAR PARK WALK☆ Ashdown Forest:
22nd February 2009 Tony Roberts

(Ed. Although Jean had damaged her ribs trying to protect her Cassius from an attacking Staffie, she had still bravely turned up to meet the walkers - what a heroic walks coordinator! She was obviously in too much pain to undertake the walk itself. My report appears below).

The first notable aspect of this meet was the considerable style  in which some members chose to arrive. A rather chic silver Jaguar was the preferred vehicle of our Chairman - with Barnaby looking aloof on the back seat. Judy Howarth, an honorary member, was in a vast camper van which looked like it needed planning permission to park anywhere. However, it was arrival of our webmaster, Derek with the delightful Miranda, in I think, a Mazda Midlife Crisis sports car, that turned the most heads. Flash w......ebmaster!

It was delightful to see some new members - including a little human puppy in a papoose - with their hounds. Very welcome, they were. Twenty two hounds had gathered - including veteran, Thomas, who did not take part in the walk, but watched with interest from Judy’s camper van.

The weather was a little overcast and chilly, so that it was with some eagerness that we all set off after having a few group photographs taken.

Jim McGough announced that he used to cross-country run across this bit of the forest, so as he had a walking stick and was wearing a bright red hat - he seemed the natural choice to lead the walk. With some confidence we headed north toward a copse which hid a large wooded crater. Jim carefully accessed this barrier to our progress and, after dismissing the idea of abseiling across, led the pack around the craters perimeter.

From this potential hazard, Jim, using some uncanny sixth sense, led us directly to another. This one being a very boggy pathway which skirted a tree-lined ravine with a stream at the bottom. The hounds, of course relished this muddy terrain, but the walkers found themselves sinking up to their ankles. We were traversing Grimpen Mire with Sir Henry Baskerville!

From this potential hazard, Jim, using some uncanny sixth sense, led us directly to another. This one being a very boggy pathway which skirted a tree-lined ravine with a stream at the bottom. The hounds, of course relished this muddy terrain, but the walkers found themselves sinking up to their ankles. We were traversing Grimpen Mire with Sir Henry Baskerville! Occasionally, we had a tantalisingly sight of a wide, dry pathway, basked in glorious sun, running parallel to our own swampy course, but our Scottish scout pressed onwards without a second thought. This, no doubt, some sort of Hibernian payback for Braveheart.

At one point, Sue suddenly disappeared from view. Sliding elegantly down the side of the ravine one down, another twenty to go!

My one regret was that as I was near the head of the column of walkers, I missed getting a photo of the drama that, I think, involved Sue’s rescue by Lola.

Jim, with a casual wave of his stick directed us east towards higher, open ground and sunlight. The pack was a little strung out by now as we slowly climbed - the atmosphere was merry and all seemed pleased to be sharing this winter sun.

Eventually, we reached the car park where Dusty, Terry and Roy were waiting for us. They were standing like sentinels in front of the Chairman and Webmaster’s cars. I am sure that I saw them salute when the two dignitaries returned to their respective vehicles.

We must be the only club with its own security guards - how cool is that! They should have uniforms. By the way, Jim, many thanks, it was a great walk.


Forgive me for tacking on this poem to the walk report, but it is very apt:

A yawning swamp around him spread;

Spell-bound and lost he ventures on

One fatal step - and all is done;

Hopeless he struggles, vain his throes,

Deeper and deeper down he goes!

The raven claps her ebon wing,

His dirge the howling winds may sing,

And mists will spread the last sad pall

O'er that dark grave unknown to all

Edward William Lewis Davis (1863).

Cover of the Basset Hound Owners Club newsletter Lowdown

Forgive me for tacking on this poem to the walk report, but it is very apt:

A yawning swamp around him spread;

Spell-bound and lost he ventures on

One fatal step - and all is done;

Hopeless he struggles, vain his throes,

Deeper and deeper down he goes!

The raven claps her ebon wing,

His dirge the howling winds may sing,

And mists will spread the last sad pall

O'er that dark grave unknown to all

Edward William Lewis Davis (1863).

first published in LOWDOWN

editor Tony Roberts

 Broadstone walk