A longish walking day for late January as we tackled two sections of the loop from Chigwell to Havering atte Bower and then on to Harold Wood, 10.3 miles in total. In spite of engineering work on the Central line and the threat of mud, fourteen members turned out. After a sharp shower at the start it was dry for the rest of the day but the mud persisted all day. This is one of the most rural sections of the loop with the first 6 miles taking us though open country, farmland and woods. We passed Hainault country park with its lake and cattle who seemed unpeturbed by our presence. Then on though Havering Country Park with its 99 redwood trees. At one point Martin presented me with a pair of secateurs and invited me to go ahead and cut the overhanging branches at my height. But he had done such a good job when he made a special trip a few weeks earlier that they were hardly needed. After a pleasant lunch at the Royal Oak Havering atte Bower (the village was once the site of a vast Royal Palace), Geoffrey, Sandy and Nigel decided to call it a day and catch the bus. The rest of us continued though more mud for another couple of miles. When we finally reached tarmac we celebrated with chocolate kindly provided by Martin. From there it was a series of tarmaced path and a dash across the A12 to reach Harold Wood station in the 5pm dusk. Thanks Anna and Martin.


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