Latest walk reports Saturday 31st October 2020

Halloween Ramble East of Epping

6 Walkers, 14.5 miles - leader Lonica Vanlcay

6 of us in total set off from Loughton for an East of Essex Ramble. It looked promising – even a bit of sunshine. However by the time we got to Hainault Forest the rain had set in – and it continued on and off for the rest of the day. And the mud got worse too! Two short lunch stops in churchyards and by the second we were sufficiently wet and tired that everyone voted to shorten the walk and head for Epping. Lots of lovely autumn leaves en route but the low cloud meant the views were hidden. 14.5 miles in total.......maybe I'll offer the walk in midsummer as a contrast!

Photographs by Paul Lawrence

To the Battle Island

10 Walkers, 19 miles but abandoned at 8 - leader Ron Williamson

A walk plagued with practical difficulties commencing with a late change to the proposed finish caused by a review of Covid restrictions which resulted in closure of public toilets and difficulties in finding a suitable venue for a lunch stop.

On the day a failed freight train delayed our start time by some 40 mins. and a further frustration was the need to divert to alternative toilets due to an unexpected closure because of a lack of hot water.

After the late start and factoring in the pace we had walked at during the morning I estimated that we would reach our intended finish point no earlier than 17:30.

This would have meant at least 30mins of walking in the dark which combined with the poor weather and likely ground conditions increased the hazards indicated in my risk assessment to the point where an alternative plan needed to be actioned. Danbury was the last place on route with a reasonable bus service, and a good shelter so a good place to bail out. In fact bail out was now appropriate as the weather had now become dire with driving rain in the gale force winds.

A disappointing end to what is a varied and interesting route all on footpaths with just 6 roads to cross in the 8 miles. Unfinished business we will return in the New Year, Our original intended destination of Northey Island in the Blackwater estuary is approached by a causeway which is under water for 6 hours each tide, permission to visit needs to be obtained in advance from the National Trust (no problem) but the island is closed from November to March to protect the bird population.

Photographs by Keith Lane and Pete Colley