I had only four English Marilyns left to do: Cheriton Hill near Folkestone and Wendover Woods in an inaccessible, for me, corner of Buckinghamshire, and Kinder Scout and Mickle Fell. The first two of these were disproportionately far away from home to justify the cost, effort, and time needed to tick them off, but then I was blackmailed by Gimmer who comments, here, and is a lifelong friend. We have shared many climbing, caving and walking adventures over the years in the Yorkshire Dales, The Lakes and Scotland.
Gimmer needed help on a job in Chamonix over an eleven day period and promised to let me tick off the two problem Ms on our return car journey if I agreed to accompany him.
So yesterday, after having driven over 500 miles from Chamonix to Dunquerque on Friday, and risen at 4:20am to catch the six 'o clock boat we found ourselves parking in a field at around 9:30 am a few hundred yards from the "summit" of Cheriton Hill. You wouldn't know it is a summit being just a few inches higher mound at the corner of a flat field. However Cheriton Hill did offer bonuses. I have often ranted about the ubiquitous orange hairy string used by farmers which is impossible to untie once knotted, and more recently with Pete we came across a pink version. But here we found a stile largely constructed from this wretched stuff tied to form a squared grid fencing, but would you believe it in YELLOW! Is this cheapo stuff made in regional colours?
Whilst taking photos of our triumphant conquest a couple of horses arrived and became quite friendly - I'm none too confident with horses but the white one seemed particularly friendly,
We also found a dilapidated Nissen hut, a remnant of WW2 which made a welcome addition to my "relics" collection. This area was of course the front line of defence, and local roads have wartime names, and there is also a Battle of Britain museum nearby.
So you never know what you might find when you go off list ticking however insignificant the hill may be.
More driving took us to Wendover Woods where you can access this Forestry Commission park by car to within a few hundred yards of flat walking to gain this Marilyn and "the highest point in the Chilterns" - there is even a signpost pointing the way and an arrangement of large stones with a plaque when you get there.
Thanks to Gimmer for making these two of the last four much easier. I hope to mop up Kinder Scout within the next week or so, and Gimmer lives nearly next door to Mickle Fell and we will arrange to do this together after getting permission from the military which will provide a fitting conclusion.
|Ingenious use of hairy yellow string (looks a bit green in photo but 'twas yellow for real)|
|Triumphant at the summit. I'm even wearing my smart brown shoes|
|Not sure what Gimmer was doing here. It was mighty cold for late May|
|Wendover Woods. The highest point in the Chilterns|