LOWDOWN Summer 2010 page 27

BROADSTONE CAR PARK WALK☆ Ashdown Forest:
28th February 2010 Tony Roberts

There were severe weather warnings of gales and torrential rain issued by the Met Office for the morning of this walk. Indeed, as I drove from the Sussex coast and across the South Downs, there were some really deep areas of standing water on many of the country lanes.

Frankie was working an early shift at the airport, so I had the sole responsibility of loading-up our two boys, together with Bessie - who was our house guest for a few weeks.

The weather was foul, and the hounds were soaked before we had even left home.

After stopping en route to pick-up Michael, we continued to the walk venue with no great expectation of seeing very many members there.

I knew that our Walks Organiser, Jean, would be absent as she had prior commitments, so on reaching the car park it was reassuring that many of the ‘hard-core’ walkers were already there. All ‘holed-upÂ’ in their assorted vehicles, so as to escape the downpour. There were very few other vehicles parked there.

Slowly, man, woman and hound emerged from their metal cocoons, all squinting their eyes against the rain. Everyone dressed to meet the conditions - although, that said, I don’t think that my ski trousers were quite as funny as Miranda made out.

Everyone looks odd and slightly inflated when wearing them, don’t they?

Anyhow, ridicule apart, we moved off into the watery wastes.

The thirteen hounds - not a bad turn-out, considering - were raring to be let loose. And they went charging along the muddy, sodden tracks - obviously enjoying every second in each other’s company.

Helen and Callum appeared to understand the lay of the land in these conditions better than most, so we followed them.

As we dropped away, the wind, which had been very strong at the car park, seemed to ease a little.

At this stage, we spotted a couple with a Basset Hound hurrying to catch up with us. These were Caitlin and Richard, new members who had travelled all the way from Folkestone to be with us. It was very good to see them.

After a short while, when we were just getting into our stride, Chris noticed that Barnaby had turned around and was dashing back to the cars. Brian and Jill set off in hot pursuit we didn’t see either of them again until the end of the walk.

As we descended even further the track led us through a wooded area, and the happy band wheeled around on a large circular route - the mud getting deeper, but the rain easing somewhat.

As we climbed back to the car park it was evident from the small streams just how much rain had fallen.

I think that everyone had enjoyed this wet but wonderful walk.

Cover of the Basset Hound Owners Club newsletter Lowdown

first published in LOWDOWN

editor Tony Roberts

 Broadstone walk