Wonderful blue sky, light breeze, not as much mud as we had encountered, especially on the first walkover, a jolly chatty crowd (19 in all, including 3 friends lured along by Kim and Siew Kee), up the hillside, past the cattle having their elevenses in a barn, glorious rolling views of Kent, woodland and wild boars, to the North Downs Way and dip down to the pub.

We made good time to the Hook and Hatchet at Hucking. Picnickers munched their lunch in the adjacent field and then came in for refreshment. Pre-ordered cooked food arrived promptly. Walkers were chomping at the bit while the leader was still waiting for her Ploughman’s but it was a very copious plateful when it arrived! After lunch we set off along a narrow lane often frequented by speeding motorised locals. We were lucky that none came along as the group made its chatty way, ignoring tales of previous near misses and exhortations to keep to single file on one side of the road!

Gentle byways and part of the North Downs Way until, as we made our way down a narrow path, we saw a lamb ahead, separated from its mother who was bleating instructions from the adjacent field. We were creeping quietly so as not to alarm Larry, the lamb, in case he ran off down the path. Stephen strode to the front. Larry glared at him, holding his ground, but decided to retreat a little. We told Stephen there was a stile and a few steps down into the field a little way ahead which Larry also spotted. The stile was lined with large square mesh netting which Larry tried to get through. Harriet leapt over the stile and gently persuaded him to withdraw his head as his body was too chubby to get through. Stephen grabbed him unceremoniously and launched him towards his anxious mother. The two toddled off to join the rest of the flock, mother obviously giving her offspring a good ticking off!

So down towards the distant purr of the M20, passing more fields of sheep and a tree surrounded by gnomes and fairies, to Bearsted Woodland Trust land, past a fallen 300 year old oak, carved with owls, badgers and other figures, to the church where some people carried on, across the village green to the station. The rest of us visited the church then followed the same route, to the White Horse for refreshment before catching our train home. A lovely day out!
Group road discipline nul points – could do better! Animal rescue 10/10!

Pam.  Photos by Ida, Stuart and Pam