Thursday, December 16, 2021


Thursday 16th December, Woburn to Woburn Sands,
7 miles led by Tony M, 18 ramblers

Some of us were back to meeting at Toddington, some met at Woburn car park. The weather was dull but dry, windless and a surprisingly mild 9 degrees for this time of year. We soon got warmed up as we crossed over to the west and past the new forest school. 


We then had a change of the usual route, shunning the steps and continuing to Langdon Hill Plantation, kicking through a lovely carpet of leaves. Tony M helped a few ramblers down the steep part at the end: Beryl the Rebel led a splinter group but soon retreated back to the tried route. 

Likewise, after passing the derelict Horsemoor Farm, we went a different way along a valley to the reservoir where we stopped for a swig of water before crossing to New Wavendon Heath where we stopped at the picnic tables for coffee.


We walked clockwise around the perimeter paths of Aspley Heath and we were in danger of arriving at the Fir Tree too early! Time for another short break. 

On the way down Penny told me two versions of how Woburn Sands got its name. It used to be called Hogsty End!
1. The stage coaches used to get bogged down in the sandpits on their way North. A messenger would be sent to inform that it was delayed at Woburn Sands
2. A founder of a school in the 1800’s wanted a more attractive name to encourage new pupils.

Sixteen of our party were booked for lunch at the fir tree, two were taking the Omicron variant of Covid to heart and elected to eat their picnic outside. Service was very slow: it was 35 minutes before the food appeared despite prior ordering.  But it was great to enjoy a pub meal on a ramble: the last time was March 2020, I think! Paninis, wraps, tomato soup and baked potatoes were eaten, then the final leg was the familiar route through Aspley Wood to the car park. 

Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction


Thursday, December 9, 2021

 Thursday 9th December, Milton Keynes River Ouzel walk,
             7 miles, 12 ramblers, led by Tony R.

The sun came out this morning! It has not been seen for a week, and the stormy winds dropped. Tony could not have chosen a better day to put this last minute walk on the calendar. We all managed to find the obscure car park near Willen Lake, and after crossing a foot-bridge, followed the rive Ouzel along pleasant surfaced paths through landscaped grass and pollard willow trees. 

 We stopped to admire a Heron, then paused for an early coffee break by Walton Lake, which was well choked with bulrushes. Soon after we crossed West to the Grand Union Canal and walked along the towpath, spotting mallards and moorhens. 


Alison, Tony P, Jed, Neal, Cathy, Kate, Jennie, Ruth & Penny with Beryl & Sue at the back

We passed by Woughton Marina, with lots of new flats being built, then paused at Willen Lake to use their new immaculate toilet facilities. 

Kate, Cathy, Beryl, Penny, Jed, Tony R, Jenny, Sue, Neal & Tony P

Next stop was a bird hide, earmarked as a shelter to eat our snack in the rain, but totally unnecessary as the sun was still shining, albeit very low on the horizon at mid-day.  We observed an Egret, Herring gulls, and wheeling flocks of Lapwings. Unfortunately we disturbed a twitcher who quietly moved his telescope elsewhere.  The last mile followed Willen Lake, and was into a cool breeze which reminded us that winter is not yet over. 

Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Christmas Lunch

 Christmas Ramble, December 5th 2021, led by Cathy and Neil, 

5 miles, 11 ramblers. 

We met at the Dunstable Downs golf course car park, after a night of rain in full waterproofs, boots and gaiters ready for a muddy walk. It was OK, actually, as we set off along a grassy path through the golf club, then turned into woods with leaf mold underneath our feet. 


We circled a huge active Chalk Quarry, admired the dinky toy diggers (or so they seemed from a distance) then set off down an alarmingly steep looking slope. It also was OK, as steps, trunks and a hand rail were placed just as they were needed. 


Before long we were passing the edge of the Dunstable Downs and back to the grassy path. My boots ended up cleaner than they started, but my gaiters were well and truly splashed. We were back at the Golf Club House well ahead of time and settled down at a table to wait for the others. We watched the flag outside filling out rapidly and were thankful that we'd had the best of today's weather.

Track of walk, walked in clockwise direction

Christmas Lunch. December 5th 2021

This was a postponed lunch from last year, at the Dunstable Downs Golf Club, organised by Nita, with her usual efficiency.
There were 41 of us, all arriving with a negative Covid test as requested and in a good party mood. Crackers were pulled, hats worn and conversation rose to a peak requiring some discipline from Tony to open the lunch and for Nita to say grace.  

The dinner was lovely. Starters were served at the tables by the very cheerful staff: prawn cocktails a-plenty, pate, and a few pepper and tomato soups. We were called one table at a time for our main course: Turkey, beef, stuffed peppers or salmon. The table of the pre-lunch walkers (below) grumbled in jest that we were served last, but we had the last laugh as they came round with excess meat! 


It was all very tasty and filling. Most people managed to find room for desert AND the mince pie! We ended the afternoon by giving our subscriptions to Beryl. From observing the queue, it looks as if our club will be thriving next year!

Clockwise: Mike & Sheila, Peter, Lynn, Celia & Bob, Bev & Keith

Clockwise: Val, Margaret, Tony M, Patricia, Back of Brenda & Hilda

Clockwise: Penny, Maureen & Malcolm, Anna, Rosemary, Linda, Sandra's  shoulder

Clockwise: Rosemary, Linda, Sandra, Penny, Maureen, Anna

Clockwise: Tony P & Annie, Sue & Graham, Ruth & Geoff, Cathy

Clcokwise: Ruth's Head, Geoff, Neal & Cathy, Tony P & Annie

Nita returning to her table after checking all was well.