SOUTHERN REGIONAL RAMBLES.
BURLEY, NEW FOREST, 16TH JANUARY 2014.
Winter rambles are always challenging, it’s always quite an effort to make yourself get out into the cold, but this year has been so wet it’s even more difficult to get motivated – however, 5 of us did turn up for this ramble – which is usually one of the simplest there is locally, as it is dead flat being the site of an old railway track (unless you go off piste and then it is very hilly!). At 9am I did phone round to say I would understand if no-one wanted to attend, as in Hampshire we had a really torrential downpour at about that time, but everyone was en route so the ramble was on!! We met in the car park in the middle of Burley, a pretty little New Forest village, only to find part of the car park was under water – good start! Once unloaded we proceeded up the village on the pavements and partly on the road for approx ¾ of a mile, hazard lights, headlights and high viz in use, to the rather more remote car park from where we go down a little track to the old railway cutting. As you will see from the accompanying photos – there was water everywhere.
The route was reccied a few days before the ramble but during those few days the conditions had worsened considerably and my heart sank when at the end of the track from the car park we were welcomed by the sight of a waterfall coming over the bank onto the track and this, in turn, formed a little lake through which we had to float our scooters! I knew 4 of us would be OK, but was a bit worried about the 5th, but we decided to continue, and thank goodness all was well – and at least we weren’t too far away from help if the worst did happen –which it didn’t. The 5th scooter, the smallest of the group, managed superbly and we were able to continue along the track.
The photos give a good indication of the conditions, and although there were many lake-like puddles it really was no problem for us. The larger scooters did a bit of off-roading by going up a fairly steep slope that formed part of an old railway bridge and then along a track to a much steeper hill, (as good as any in Wales), this was reccied also beforehand, and provided a good challenge for the bigger scooters i.e. a Tramper, a Tramper TWS, and a Westminster, great care was taken and all descended safely!! My Supersport had cut out twice going up this hill on the reccy so that is an indication of the steepness. They all managed to the top of this hill, see pics, and was greatly enjoyed as a distraction to the straight track we were travelling on.
We were very lucky with the weather and although we had a few showers they were very short and sharp and nothing to worry about. We all enjoyed the day, but naturally were all feeling a bit cold by 2.30-ish, so headed back to the village, on the way we had to pass through a group of New Forest ponies who were very friendly and really didn’t want to move at all, gentle persuasion was needed! By the time we had got to Burley and loaded up it was 4.00pm and time to adjourn to the Queens Head where we had a table booked for feasting and getting warm, and this was a super end to the day. The pictures on Facebook attracted many comments from people who think we are either brave or totally bonkers, whichever way you like to look at it!!! Good fun!