The 2013 Haven Sponsored Walk

Newcomers face blustery winds and a serious uphill challenge as their first introduction to a Haven event

On Sunday the 12th of May, Haven members were extremely delighted to welcome a new group of friends to our annual sponsored walk along the North Downs Way. Ever since this event began, almost ten years ago, we have continued to return to this particular location because of its wonderful scenery and glorious views, adding so much more enjoyment to the walk. The hidden pitfalls and steep inclines along this familiar well trodden path held no surprises for the regulars who have walked this walk year after year. Unfortunately, this could not be said for the cheerful, relaxed group of newcomers who very kindly gave up their Sunday morning to support us. At the half way point, with smiles all around, we decided not to warn them!

The duck pond in Shere Village must be one of the most picturesque places to take a well deserved break at. We have always thought so and, how convenient for us, that this idyllic location just happens to be exactly at the middway point of our chosen path. As the walkers arrived, Ludo, our new four-legged Haven mascot, could not control his excitement upon eyeing the targets ready for him to chase. Diving head first into the pond he certainly gave the poor ducks a run for their lives! All good fun to watch for the walkers as they enjoyed their refreshments of tea and coffee accompanied by huge chocolate muffins laid on by Haven members.

The final stretch of our walk has become infamous amongst all who have dared to take up the challenge. The last mile basically consists of a winding, back breaking uphill climb. Not only is the path so steep that you begin to feel there is an actual danger of rolling back down; in addition, the myriad of turns and bends becomes increasingly infuriating as you start to hope the end is just behind the very next turn. Anxious not to deter anyone, as Haven needs all the support it can get, the regulars provided much encouragement and, it has to be said, some back support (!) to get everybody to the top. As achingly familiar as this walk has become, so too has the legendary bacon bap at the finish line. With some relief, Haven members watched as the delicious food had its desired effect upon this unsuspecting group of new supporters. Soon, the smiles all around had returned and the many aches and pains were long forgotten. Our thanks to everyone who participated and, fingers crossed, we hope to welcome them all back next year.

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