Avid readers will recall my excitement at about this stage last time when my LittleLife child carrying backpack turned up, allowing me to head out across Wimbledon Common with Junior. Well, now we’re in the lovely North Downs I decided it was high time to dust it off and prepare to do some more serious walking.
Our village, Merstham, is one of the stops on the North Downs Way, in fact one relatively few urbanish areas it goes through on this bit of the route. However I decided that heading straight out on the NDW would perhaps be a bit adventurous, given my lack of fitness and No.2’s lack of time in the backpack (endearingly called the “pack-pack” by Junior).
So last week I did a little warm up on a more familiar path South out of the village and round Mercers Lake, which also doubles as my ~5k running route. However, the ground was definitely not suitable for running as it had rained for a couple of days beforehand (someone did jog past me, I don’t know how they made it round the corners!). This route follows the lake, past the sailing club, doubles back to the pub, then in this case I went round Spynes Mere Nature Reserve for the first time, and back into the village. About 6-6.5km all round (I forgot to put my measuring app on).
Which all went pretty well, with two notable exceptions: No.2 fell asleep 10 minutes short of the pub, and was not amused by the stop, and the path round Spynes Mere was a complete mud bath in places and it was lucky I had good walking boots on, or we’d both have got very muddy. However there were some nice viewpoints – a mix of seagulls and cormorants on the jetty. I have to say, the way round I went left the best of the Mere to last, to start with its mostly trees. Later on some rabbits dashed across our path.
The pub was a shame, as the Inn on the Pond is a nice place, albeit possibly just slightly over-modernised, as although it has lots of original country pub features (low beams, high bar, fire nooks) somehow they’ve almost been made to look not real with all the burnished wood. Or maybe they aren’t real and I’m a romantic. However the Whitstable Bay is always good, and it’s passingly pleasant in there.
Fortunately she/I/the pack-pack passed the test, and she slept all the way home from the pub, so seems to enjoy the pack-pack enough that I’ll take her out in it again. I may even break the bike out and test her out in the bike seat with her new and tiny helmet!