Sunday 31 July 2016. Today’s walk was organised in support of OuseFest and was open to the general public as part of this two-week event. There was 14 of us on this walk; 6 from Fenland, 2 from other local groups and 6 local residents. It was a beautiful day and the riverside was very busy as we set off from The Maltings heading south following the course of the Great Ouse. We could see quite a few cyclists using the Fen Rivers Way on the opposite bank.
Quite soon we moved away from the river bank stopping for a group photograph on the footbridge at Bramham Dock. After 3.4 miles we arrived in Little Thetford in the hope of having a drink and lunch at the Sports and Social Club. I’d cleared this in advance by email but wasn’t advised that we would have to sign in and pay £1 each if we wanted to buy a drink and sit inside. This was too much hassle for me so I turned around and had my lunch and coffee outside. The Social Club was happy to sell us cans/bottles of drink that we could take outside. I appreciate that it is a Members club but there were only two customers inside and one would have thought that they would have been keen to gain extra custom.
After lunch it was only a short walk across a few fields and the golf course before we were back at the start in Ely. The walk was only 6.25 miles with negligible ascent/descent.
Ely – walk route
Tuesday 19 July 2016. I lost my cool today in very many ways. It was the “Old Woman’s” turn to be the leader of today’s easy walk and just when I thought that he couldn’t be any worse than he excelled himself today. He may have been a good leader in his time but in my opinion he’s clearly past it! This was evidenced by him telling us that our bus passes weren’t valid for the hour-long journey to Covara so he, on behalf of HF, paid for 10 tickets which I think cost 40Euro. When went to get on the ski lift at Corvaro we were told that our passes weren’t valid and that we would have to pay 7Euro each. He had got the ticket validity the wrong way around. The bus passes that we had were valid and the Ski passes weren’t. Needless to say, he/HF paid for the ski lift.
This is just one example of how poor a leader he is. He doesn’t set any ground rules, doesn’t set a pace and consequently the walks just meander along in an aimless fashion. He won’t be getting a good report from me. A one hour bus ride each way around countless hairpin bends and over the Passo Gardena to do a short 6.5 mile walk seems extreme. He didn’t know the way from the bus stop in Corvara to the ski lift which was only 200yds away. We stopped for coffee after less than a mile and again for lunch before we had done 3 miles. All the while people were stopping to photograph bloody flowers making the pace more suitable for a 2-year-old. To top it all he agreed to a request from some of the guests to stop and buy lunch at one of the Refugio’s. This added an hour to the day whilst I waited outside in the sunshine having my picnic lunch.
The descent was just as slow and when we got to a signpost advising that Corvara was 70 minutes away, I’d had enough and told our leader that I’d make my own way back to town. It took me 50 minutes and the rest of them joined me 35 minutes later.
I’ve come to the conclusion that this will be my last HF holiday as I just can’t stand group walking with people who I don’t particularly like and I don’t want to enter into small talk with them or to listen to their conversations with others along the way. I know that I’m a miserable bastard and that I’m not the best of company but dinner each night is something of an ordeal to be overcome and if I could have it on my own then I gladly would. Thank heavens that I’ve only 3 more days to endure. One week would have been more than enough.