Somerset County Herald 27 Jan 1940 A Quantock Scramble Scouts Hike in the Snow inc Upper Cheddon Gadds Bottom Kingston Buncombe Hill Cothelstone Beacon

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Somerset County Herald and Taunton Courier. Saturday 27 Jan 1940

Page 5 Column 3





On Sunday last Staplegrove Rovers joined the St. Andrew's crew at their headquarters, and the combined party took advantage of the brilliant sunshine to set out for a hike on the outliers of the Quantocks.

The greater part of the country was covered with a thin layer of crisp snow, which on the roads had been flattened out by the traffic; though, generally, the surface conditions were quite good, there were stretches which called for care, and most members of the party at one time or another made unexpected contacts with the ground.

Starting off at a good sharp pace, we went up Cheddon-road, through Cats-lane, with its suggestion of squall-tormented nights, into Upper Cheddon, which we left by means of Quarry-lane leading to what is called Gadd's Bottom by the Ordnance Survey, though the old name is now supplanted by the pleasanter designation of Happy Valley. Cutting across to Kingston Church, we stopped for a moment to look at the memorial to two brother Scouts who went home in the last war.


Leaving Kingston by the Broomfield-lane we were for some time intrigued by the manoeuvres of a thrush which, seemingly but half frightened by our advent, went up the bank beside us in short flights of about fifteen yards till after about a hundred yards it made a bigger flight and disappeared from view. Had it been nesting season we should have been tempted to imagine that it was practising the old trick of decoying us from its nest, but the wintry conditions suggested that perhaps hunger had weakened it, and it could manage no more until the hedge became low enough for it to get over the top

At the summit of Buncombe Hill we turned off along the Bridgwater road till we were bidden to rest. Anon we made our way almost as far as Merridge, but turned off along the lane to Court-way: here we found a spot sheltered from the breeze and in full enjoyment of the sun. Haversacks and rucsacs were opened up, and we all did justice to our lunches; a couple of robins came to see what was going on, but they lacked the courage of their garden relatives, and would not approach near enough to be tempted by crumbs.


From Courtway we went past Lambridge Farm and through the woods on Gib Hill to Park End. We then decided to go up to Cothelstone Beacon, and on this rise to of 250 feet in less than a quarter of a mile the real fun began, the ascent not being accomplished without a good deal of blacksliding <sic> and scrambling along on all fours.

There was sufficient breeze to counteract any tendency to linger on the top, so we set off on a South-Easterly course, and got into Ball-lane. Half-way down we met three soldiers from N . . . n <sic>, and gave them directions to the Beacon. Smothering a desire to follow them up and watch their descent to Park End, we soon found ourselves in difficulties, for the lane to Cuchuish <sic> behaved in a most ungentlemanly way, and the only compensation for one's own sudden descent was the joy of seeking the later comers stepping jauntily downhill until they too met with like fate.


From Stairfoot, via Yarford and Fulford, we made our way along Park-lane to Deacons, where we admired the topiary work in the garden. Crossing the fields past Higher Yarde, we reached Burlands. Here one of the party, stirred presumably by the description in the the “Observer” of 19th January, 1840, of the Duke of Brunswick's escape, “trod on some weak ice, which gave way under him, and he was immersed in the water.” Strange though it may seem, we, and doubtless members of his troop will agree, though it was quite a “Good” thing to do.

And so a very enjoyable ramble drew to its close. During the last mile or two the temperature dropped appreciably with the setting sun, but the only cold part of the trip was the final ride back to individual quarters, when fingers and toes became numbed, and, in one case at any rate, necessitated recourse to that well-known, if somewhat “strong” remedy for chilled extremities – mountain dew.


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