Walk 207 [8.63 miles] - Vinalls, Mary Knoll Valley, Lower Whitcliffe & Bringewood

OS201 OS137 garmin

At last a small break in the weather promised us a dry day. The walk was advertised as a muddy one which was an understatement to say the least!

11 of us gathered at Vinalls car park in Mortimer Forest and we set off along the gently descending track in Mary Knoll Valley. Just beyond Sunnydingle Cottage (a real misnomer as there was no sun at all) we turned sharp left and made the climb up to the viewpoint for a coffee. Spurning the convenient bench most of us either stood or sat on the grass for our brief break and long discussion on the state of Frangipanes!

What is the word coming to?
No icing now on Frangipanes

Heading down towards Whitcliffe

We continued the walk alongside the Evens on the Mortimer Trail down to the Whitcliffe car park and, after crossing the road, took a left turn along the forestry track and the mud bath which was to follow.

The Lower Whitcliffe path started off reasonable firm but we were soon taking evasive action to try to keep out of the mud with only limited success. We were approaching our first Elan pipeline aqueduct when disaster struck. It was very muddy along this stretch, and Geri, at the rear, in taking evasive action lost her footing and within an instant found hereself upside down on her back sliding headfirst out of sight to the horror of Catherine who saw it all. Fortunatley a strand of barbed wire arrested this uncontrolled slide and (with the assistance of Catherine, Ros and Bob) Geri eventually found herself back on the path with not too much damage done.

The 5½ hugged oak tree at Deepwood Dingle aqueduct

We passed the Vallets Crossing aqueduct and the Deepwood Dingle aqueduct where we decided to hug a very large oak tree. After much slipping and sliding 6 of us managed to hug the monster making the measurement 5½ hugs. Shortly after we stopped for our lunch - again sprurning a perfectly sturdy bench seat in favour of a misty view of the aqueduct and the valley below.

Deepwood Dingle aqueduct

We continued through Deep Wood, passing more evidence of the Elan pipeline in the form of two buildings housing the syphon outlet and the syphon inlet valves.

We then turned left handed and climbed up Hunstay Hill, eventually emerging from Bringewood into the daylight and the final descent via Monstay Farm to the car park.

A viw of Downton Castle from Hunstay Hill

A good walk (and exciting for some) and my grateful thanks to Catherine, Ros and Bob - the heroic rescuers of Geri.


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