Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Big One - Day 1 - Croydon to Horley

Distance: 16.4 Miles

The Orchard - East Croydon, The Smuggler's Tavern - Coulsdon, The White Hart - Chipstead, The Jolly Brickmakers - Redhill, The Millhouse - Salfords, The Farmhouse - Horley

Walkers: Timmeh, Matty, Moo

Terrain: Smelly Road, Dirty Road, Country Road.

Weather: Overcast and warm, showery spells

Notes: Never ever bloody ever walk long distances on road, with a heavy pack, in boots designed for country walking.

1 comment:

Timmeh! said...

Up to East Croydon on the train was uneventful, though we all had a read of our article in the Argus (Page 2 with photo of all of us outside the Caroline of Brunswick). I was filled with trepidation because I'd woken up that morning with my left knee already hurting like I'd twisted it the day before. :-/
Off the train at Croydon walk to the Glamorgan, the pub that had been recommended by a work colleague in favour of the Porter and Sorter that we'd originally chosen. Unfortunately, the Glamorgan was shut so we went to the nearest open pub, The Orchard. No real beer, so we ended up with John Smith's Extra Smooth; an inauspicious start. The Pub was OK at this time of day, but I don't think I'd want to be there in the evenings.

Leg 1.1
Miserable walk through Croydon on dirty smelly roads. Passed The Porter and Sorter that looked alright actually, and was open. Road-pounding is dull, dull, dull. Eventually, arrive at the Smuggler's Tavern in Coulsdon. This place fancies itself as a bit of a gastro-pub I reckon, though it obviously hadn't examined the potential clientèle in the area before it chose that approach. We sat outside; the beer was good (Doom Bar and London Pride IIRC), and the food hearty, if a little odd (the chicken in my chicken and bacon baguette tasted like it'd been fried in brown sugar!)

Leg 1.2
Decided to try out my walking poles since we were about to go uphill. Didn't really get the technique and so I reckon they were more of a hindrance than a help, but I persevered. More miserable road-pounding, but at least part of it was through an extremely posh private road with massive interesting houses on it so we had something to look at.
To the White Hart - Chipstead (not to be confused with the White Hart - Stonelands). Lousy pint of London Pride that made me feel quite ill, seating outside on tarmac in a junction between two main roads. Don't be fooled by its apparent semi-rural location, this isn't a very picturesque place to stop.

Leg 1.3
More lousy road-pounding, albeit on slightly nicer roads. Still not getting the hang of these poles. As we approach Redhill, it starts raining a bit. The Jolly Brickmakers fails to live up to its name on both counts, although the beer (Taylor's Landlord) was good. Sat in the beer garden and it really started to chuck it down, so it's on with the waterproofs for the next leg.

Leg 1.4
I'm really starting to suffer now, the extra-heavy pack and lack of roadworthy shoes is taking its toll, sore feet and tired legs. This hop is a bit of a long one, so we stop at the Greyhound halfway up the hill for a quick coke to try and help energy levels before pressing on with more miserable road-pounding to Salfords Bridge. Matty tries to co-ordinate with Chris so we can meet him in the next pub. We eschew his offer of a lift and press-on on foot, to find him waiting in the pub for us with pints of Spitfire. We love Chris. The Mill is a standard Beefeatery, but the beer is of good quality, and very welcome. Time to press on for the last couple of miles.

Leg 1.5
Last few miles down the god-damn road, no fun at all. Arrive at B&B (hurrah!) on the outskirts of Horley.
Take my boots off to inspect the damage, I've got several blisters, one of which is a jolly wrap-around affair on the back of my heel, about 2 inches long, a half-inch across and a half-inch high. It's gotta go, so we sterilise the knife on my multitool, spray antiseptic all over my foot and cut the thing open, nearly squirting myself in the eye when it went. Lovely :x. Patch up everything with blister plasters and elastoplast tape.

The Evening
Off to find somewhere to eat. By the time we'd all showered and I'd fixed up my feet, the nearest pub has stopped serving food an hour ago, and we didn't want to walk into town to find a restaurant, so we grab some comestibles from the Garage at the end of the road and make for the pub, hastily stuffing ourselves with cold chicken legs and some of Ginster's finest on the way.
The Farmhouse is nice little place with a selection of ales. Staff were friendly enough as were the locals, one of whom recommended us the "Red River" which was a guest ale and pretty good, though we did revert to London Pride (I think) for the second and subsequent pints.
Interestingly there was a gang of musos in the corner talking loudly about how shit the sound always is in the Engine Room, and how they don't understand why everyone tells them it's a "must play" venue for up and coming bands. :/
Kicked out at closing time, hobble back to the B&B, sleep.