I was ready to cancel this ramble on Wednesday. No-one had said they were coming, five longer distance walkers had said they couldn't make it and the weather forecast was rain all day. But by Thursday the rain had turned to drizzle and one person phoned to say they were coming: and by Friday the forecast was dry (ish!) and I had another two enquiries. In the end there were 7 of us and I'm so glad we went: although cloudy we missed the rain and it was good to get out with friends, catch up on news and have a really longer walk to challenge our quad muscles.
We started at the little car park at Little Gaddesden and headed straight for Golden Valley, pausing to examine a beech tree that had obviously blown down in the storms of last fortnight.
Then we walked West along Golden Valley, gradually ascending towards Frithden and Golden Valley Farm. We then headed due North and found a convenient group of fallen logs in Great Frithesden Copse to have our elevenses.
We reached Berkhamsted Golf Course and walked East. The path became increasingly muddy so we made the decision to head across a grassy field, experiencing the cold cross-wind, but it didn't really help: each time we tried to explore a promising looking leaf-carpeted track it turned into mud or brambles and in the end we just had to go through some mud.
Eventually we picked up the Frithsden access road and made up for lost time, eventually reaching the escarpment edge overlooking Albury and arrived at the Visitors Center to have our picnic on the new picnic tables. A NT rep approached us - were we to be told off for eating our packed lunch at the cafe tables? NO, he said we could go inside if we liked! I declined: if we'd got into the warmth we'd never want to leave!
We soon warmed up again as we set off towards Ashridge College, getting trapped by a railing!
Soon we were back at the car park, tired but feeling very satisfied.