Friday, 2 April 2010

The Good Friday Ramble

The turnout on this year's Good Friday Ramble was down on previous years; probably due in no small part to the weather. However, those of us brave enough to attend enjoyed a stroll that was largely rain-free, through some very pleasant Kent countryside, although it has to be said it was very wet underfoot. My boots leaked like a sieve, so I'll be surprised if I don't end up with trench foot after walking in what felt like two sponges!

Despite the forecast we were extremely lucky with the weather. The rain started just as we reached our lunchtime stop - the Bell & Jorrocks at Frittenden, and although peering out from the pub window showed that it was absolutely tipping down, by the time we left the pub the rain had virtually given over. Of course, the going was even wetter underfoot on the way back, but that wasn't going to spoil what had been an excellent day out.

The Good Friday Ramble is organised by Maidstone & Mid-Kent CAMRA. Now in its 34th year, this annual event has become something of a tradition. Keen rambler, Dick Wilkinson has organised and led all but one of these walks, and whilst they are perhaps now slightly shorter and gentler than they were in the past, they are still very enjoyable. It is especially good to catch up with old friends, some of who we only see once a year.

When we meet up, we remark that we're all getting a little older, and that our children are now grown up, and some even have children of their own, but this doesn't deter us from enjoying the walks which have been held all over the county. We invariably start from a convenient station, and then walk three or four miles to an accommodating country pub, where we stop for a pub-lunch plus a few pints! After the lunchtime halt, we return to the meeting point, via a different, but similar length, route

This year's stop was the aforementioned Bell & Jorrocks Inn, situated in the small village of Frittenden. This unusual name dates back to the closure in the late 1960's of Frittenden's other pub, the John Jorrocks Inn. It's name was incorporated in that of the Bell. I had not been to the pub before, as this is not a part of Kent that I normally have cause to visit. I have to say that I was very impressed with what we found; a thriving village pub with a good choice of beers that included Black Sheep, Harveys and Loddon. The home-cooked food was also very good, and the steak and ale pud, accompanied by mash and vegetables was just the thing to both soak up the beer and also warm me up.

As I said earlier, the walk back to Headcorn station was largely in the dry, apart from the conditions underfoot. When we arrived back at Headcorn, a number of stalwarts disappeared into the George & Dragon. I wanted to get home though, if only to change out of my wet boots and enjoy a welcoming soak in the bath. Hopefully, things will be a little drier underfoot next year, but by then I should also have treated myself to a new (and waterproof) pair of boots!

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