Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Coombe Hill

on the way up, towards Missenden

Amidst the visible mirth of my mother, I ventured to Wendover to climb Coombe Hill, the highest point in the Chiltern Hills. The Chiltern Society provided marvelous directions which didn't help me at all, and after turning left at the third stile, walking down the lane for 80 metres before following the footpath across the field diagonally and reaching the top of the hill in the woods where I was meant to take the well paved bridlepath, I got thoroughly lost, with only the dog for company in the middle of the most beautiful beech and oak woods.  A man with a dog worried me enough that I dug up a large flint and put it in my pocket for self defense (do not forget, dear reader, that I'm an LA girl), but I soldiered on, wishing I were in Hansel and Gretel and could follow a breadcrumb trail. Thank goodness for the compass on my iPhone. The dog was in great spirits and we'd almost forgotten we were lost when we came across a clearing in the trees and the great expanse of downland, full of sheep-bitten grass and gorse, and chalky plains was ahead of us, and the whole world of seven counties was laid out before us.  I didn't actually see the Uffington White Horse, but I made sure to tell a woman at the memorial (where they let off a 21-gun-salute for the recent Royal wedding) that you could indeed see it from there.  She asked whether it was the same as the Whipsnade chalk lion. No, I said, thinking she'd rather missed the point. It was a Housman moment, only we weren't in the Malvern Hills but the windswept, storm-tossed, slightly blue Chilterns.

beech wood

the boer war memorial

the sign that told me i wasn't, in fact, lost in the woods

oh and did i mention chequers?

the view, under storm clouds


LPC said...

In an odd, useless, coincidence, my father's family home in New Jersey was called "Wendover." Until it was made into a country club and then burned right to the ground.

legend in his own lunchtime said...

That's a wonderful place to be

legend in his own lunchtime said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Norm said...

What a small world... I'm a blogger in Brunei, but I'm a Brit married to a UK military chap. Our last posting, which we left to come to Asia, was to RAF Halton, and we lived just outside Wendover. From our house we could walk along the disused canal (a haven for wildlife), through Wendover itself and up onto Coombe Hill. We did this often, every weekend and many Summer evenings. The walk and the view never failed to take my breath away, and your description made me quite emotional. The air here in tropical Brunei is always heavy and humid - how I miss the fresh Summer breezes of England... sigh. We'll be back in the UK for good next year.

Many thanks for sharing your day.

Mrs L. said...

Gorgeous! Almost feel like I'm with you! xo

Miss Whistle said...

@LPC -- It has a catchy ring to it.
@Legend -- Yes, particularly now, in June.
@Norm -- Small world indeed. Perhaps next year we'll be climbing the hill together! Thank you so much for weighing in and I'm delighted that you enjoyed the post.
@MrsL -- Wish you were here!

Thanks for the lovely comments!

Miss W

Kate said...

As an ex Wendover girl - now living in the Blue Mountains in NSW Australia, so lovely to see Coombe Hill again ... many a snowy winter has seen me hurtling down the side of the hill of a fertiliser bag (as my mother wouldn't get me a toboggan). In the spring the woods are full of bluebells. When I'm homesick, I always dream of here.