Success for Surrey Hills Society riders who took part in Ride London/Surrey event

Cooper-boys-at-finishing-line-Aug14-750x750A big thank you to everyone who donated to the Cooper boys, Darren and Philip, who rode in the recent Ride London 100 mile cycle challenge on behalf of the Surrey Hills Society. They did the ride, in extremely poor conditions, but told us that they enjoyed the extra challenges the weather threw at them, saying: ‘The rain belted down for ages, we couldnƒ??t have been wetter, but the camaraderie of the other cyclists around us and the crowds kept us going – the experience was amazing all in all. Weƒ??ll do it again next year if the Society wants us to, and hope we might stay dry and get to ride all the Surrey Hills next timeƒ??. Their target of ?œ500 to help the National Trust install a drinking water fountain on Leith Hill has been achieved, but if anyone wants to donate, the JustGiving site is still open. Any further donations will be gratefully accepted, or cheques can be sent made payable to Surrey Hills Society.

Two cyclists to raise funds for the Surrey Hills Society

Cooper-family-backgroundTwo brothers, Darren and Philip Cooper, will be taking part in the Prudential Ride London/Surrey Classic on 10 August on behalf of the Surrey Hills Society. Their mother Diane has been volunteering for the Society since its inception and is a keen supporter. The boys told us, ƒ??Having been enjoying road cycling for a while now – and taking on bigger and bigger challenges – itƒ??s great that we are able to compete on behalf of the Surrey Hills Society in the Prudential 100 miler. The fact that the route goes through the hills that are part of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that weƒ??ve known since childhood makes it really special. Training is going well and we canƒ??t wait to take up the challenge and enjoy traffic-free roads for a day!ƒ?? By day Darren works for a Woking-based charity, the ƒ??York Road Projectƒ?? as well as teaching English at a local language school. Philip is a self-employed camera and sound-man, whoƒ??s done a little bit of work for the Surrey Hills AONB in the past. Both grew up and still live in the Woking area. Darren adds, ƒ??The Olympics really got me into road cycling and I started to ride regularly with a club. Now my brother is hooked too and we both like to get out at weekends as much as possible.ƒ?? The money raised will go towards providing financial support for the installation of a restored drinking fountain for visitors to Leith Hill tower. The Society has been approached by the National Trust Surrey Hills to see if we can assist with their fundraising efforts and this appears to be a perfect match for our cyclistƒ??s sponsorship money. The fountain will provide free drinking water for the walkers, cyclists, families, dogs and horses who make up the 600,000 visitors to the tower each year. Weƒ??re hoping that people will show their support for this event, and the Leith Hill project, and sponsor the boys even for just a small amount. Please take a look on their JustGiving page at  

A novice joins our map-reading session…

Many are the woes of a keen rambler who doesn’t know how to use a compass. Whether it is the reluctance to explore the path less taken in a no-mobile-network area or being the group simpleton in a team of full of veteran ramblers, it is not fun being ‘that’ person. ‘That’ person could be the one getting ‘simplified’ instructions at de-briefing dinners or he/she could be the one that the Mountain Marshall distrusts! Don’t believe me? Let me narrate an incident.

Around mid-summer I took on the 3-peak challenge – climb 3 of the highest peak in the UK within 24 hours. Two of the ‘must-brings’ in the equipment list was a compass and a map. I argued that those items will only add to the weight in my bag without serving any other purpose. The Mountain Marshall decided that I was an enemy! He did remember, though, at the de-briefing dinner to keep instructions simple. “In case you separate from the group and get lost, keep going northwest and you are bound to hit the right trail”. Then, catching the Garfield-look from me, he goes ‘walk compass needle pointing top left!’ See what I mean?

So no points for guessing my reaction when I saw the Surrey Hills Navigation Walk advertised in the Newsletter. It was a sign – the universe was telling me to overcome my navigation disability.

After waiting for, what to me seemed like forever, D-day, July 2, dawned bright and sunny. A small group of friendly people under Pete’s leadership met at the Chilworth station. Starting from the Station, the group was paired up and it was decided that each of the pair take turns to lead. Each team of two was assigned the co-ordinates and it was their responsibility to figure out the path and get from Point A to Point B. Although this was a follow-up walk to a theoretical meet-up last February, absolute newbies like me (I only became a member at the end of June 2014) were given due guidance in understanding some of the map’s features and legends. Needless to say, it was one of the most interesting of walks I had done recently. The comradeship that comes out of knowledge sharing and information consulting can be quite stimulating. It keeps you encouraged, energised but mostly involved.

To me, as someone, who is keen on improving directional abilities, the best part of the walk was when we stopped on Blackheath to get our bearings. Standing there in a heath, setting the map with the compass so that it matches what you see in the distance and trying to point it in the right direction was quite interesting. We had the St Martha’s Church (yes the one at St Martha’s Hill, what an incredible sight) in the distance which we used to identify our position with, adjust the Magnetic North and Map Grid North and then decided on the direction of the path that would take us to our pre-designated spot.

At the end of the walk, I was, as they say ‘well chuffed’!

As a new member, I am keen to see unique and interesting Walks like these.

Can’t wait for Pete to organise another such walk. Come rain or shine I will sign up!

Editors NoteThe author of this article – Supriya – is a young Indian lady who is working in Surrey at the moment. She comes from a family background where walking in the country is not regarded as “safe” so the concept of walks in the Surrey Hills is inspirational for her. She has recently joined the Society, and taken part in a number of our 20’s to 30’s events and others from our mainstream programme. Supriya is an excellent ambassador for the Society and shows the way that we can help people to explore and appreciate our special Surrey Hills.