Gosford - 1st November 2012

Deer at Gosford

Deer at Gosford

Jim at Gosford Thursday, 1st November 2012, when we had our regular Halloween Outing to Gosford, was arguably the best walking day we have had for this event and also to date this year - cold and clear with dappled sunshine coming through the trees, it was just a perfect day. Fortified by coffee and bikkies, Jim, clearly delighted with the turnout, gave us our pep talk for the day before the off. We set out in three groups - Jim heading clockwise, Reuben heading anti-clockwise and John going in a figure of eight, or at least that's how he explained it when he came for the second time on the same path!

John's route had started off by taking the group past the large herd of red deer resting in the deer park at the centre of the estate. Apparently some members of the group were so intent on pressing on, or perhaps chatting, that they failed to spot the herd so here is John's picture of resting stags sitting peacefully on the grass, clearly their rut was over for the year.

stags at rest in Gosford deer park
The rut is over.
Stags take a break.
Leaving the laundry
Leaving the laundry
AKA the Girl Guide House
Lost in the woods?
Lost in the woods,
or just resting?
Over the hurdles
Over the hurdles

Autumn at Gosford The forest floor and footpaths were covered in leaves as we walked round. Driven relentlessly on by the thought of soup in the Girl Guides' House, we didn't have time to spend admiring the trees in the wonderful arboretum at Gosford, but everywhere we looked the trees, like these mighty beeches, were majestic in the sunlight.

On such a marvellous autumn day it was perhaps not surprising to find a host of toadstools on display on the ground, adding a splash of colour to the forest floor. Lorna even managed to spot some growing high up on the branch of a tree.

Toadstools in a tree
Toadstools in tree.
A cluster of toadstools
A cluster of toadstools.
A veritable mountain of toadstools.
Paddy lends a hand
Paddy lends a hand.

Safety First

After one of the group took a nasty tumble on a slippery woodland slope, Paddy chivalrously leapt in to lend a hand for those making the treacherous descent. He was later spotted (right) apparently grabbing at a passing spirit - but not, on this occasion, McConville's Pure Pot Still Old Irish Whiskey.
Some members of the group sought out a safer less-slippery route, putting safety before thrills is the prudent choice when out walking in the forest.
Catching the spirit
Catching a Halloween spirit?

Walking in the footsteps of Swift

Dean Swift's Well

Dean Swift's well, and John's not doing too badly either. After some complaints that there weren't nearly enough pictures of John on the web site, he agreed to pose in front of Dean Swift's well. Dean Swift was a regular visitor to Gosford - seat of the Achesons of Markethill. He bought a plot of land from the Achesons intending to build a house on it although he never did. However he wrote about a dozen poems relating to the place. This snippet refers to his walks round the estate, his well (grotto) and mixing with estate workers as an equal, presumably to Lady Acheson's displeasure.

My lady's lamentation and
complaint against the dean

Find out, if you can,
Who's master, who's man;
Who makes the best figure,
The Dean or the digger;
And which is the best
At cracking a jest.
How proudly he talks
Of zigzacks and walks;
And all the day raves
Of cradles and caves;
And boasts of his feats,
His grottos and seats;
Shews all his gew-gaws,
And gapes for applause?
A fine occupation
For one of his station!
A hole where a rabbit
Would scorn to inhabit,
Dug out in an hour,
He calls it a bow'r.
More soup?Any more soup?

We have had some very wet years at Gosford when it was a delight to get back to the hut and tuck into some warming soup and apple tart. But it was great to discover they taste just as good on a fine day. But soup and apple tart don't keep for ever and selflessly some members of the group took a second helping to make life easier for those who had to clean up afterwards.

More apple tart?Any more apple tart?

Marie Curie - click to go to web site Cedars Walking Group Members were as generous as ever with their donations - a total of £993 was raised for Marie Curie Cancer Care on the day of the walk and more is expected. With £788 of this gift aided, that will bring in a further £220.60 making a grand total of £1,213.60 for the day.

The soups were supplied by Sheila Martin, Joan Gallagher, Joan McKitterick, Barbara Robinson, Barbara Lunn and Olive Summerhayes. The apple tarts were supplied by Collette McGeown, Marie Warnock and Joan Reilly. All (or at least all that I managed to sample) were delicious. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who contributed in terms of time, effort, food and gifts. If you would be prepared to assist next year please see one of the above named.

And finally, another in our series of pictures of new members: Sheelagh, whose husband Gary is also a new member of Cedars. Sheelagh