We have given name to our group “Crazy hikers”. Everybody knew that it is going to be heavy rain and wind today but still 27 crazy hikers came to join hike. So as per our original plan we got heavy rain, strong wind and were walking in mud all the way.
It was fairly challenging long walk through Bagmoor Common Nature Reserve and the lakes of Warren Mere. The walk takes in heathland, sandy tracks, and the lakes at Warren Mere.
Our group leader informed us day before that the weather forecast promised very wet and windy day. He told us that we must be appropriately dressed for this winter hike. Waterproof hiking boots, extra warm layers, hat, gloves and waterproofs are essential.
The hike was 12 miles long. we stopped twice, first for lunch on the way and then on top of the hill when we reached Devil’s Punchbowl café. Everybody was eager to get some warm coffee and enjoyed some nice cakes with that.
Thursley Common is peaceful and there are fine views after ascending the impressive Devil’s Punchbowl, overlooked by 273-meter high Gibbet Hill.
Overall it was great experience. We got heavy rain, strong wind and we were walking in mud all the way, finding new paths because actual path was full of mud and too slippery. Means full experience of UK winter hiking. It was my first hike of 2016 and looking forward for many more this year.
Stories about Devil’s Punchbowl
Folklore says the Devil’s Punch Bowl was created when the Devil grabbed the earth to throw at Thor, the God of Thunder.
It also says the name punch bowl comes from the mist that can sometimes be seen to outpour over the top of the bowl.
Geologists say the Devil’s Punch Bowl, natural amphitheater and a site of special
Scientific interest, was created because the sandstone top layer was an eroded by a spring between the top layer and the impermeable clay beneath.
Gibbet Hill and the nearby area were mentioned by Dickens in his novel Nicholas Nickleby, in the scene where Nickleby was walking from London to Portsmouth.
They walked upon the rim of the Devil’s Punch Bowl; and Smike listened with greedy interest as Nicholas read the inscription upon the stone which, reared upon that wild spot, tells of a murder committed there by night. The grass on which they stood, had once been dyed with gore; and the blood of the murdered man had run down, drop by drop, into the hollow which gives the place its name. “The Devil’s Bowl,” thought Nicholas, as he looked into the void, “never held fitter liquor than that!”
Dickens was referring to the murder on 24 September 1786 of an Unknown Sailor who was met by three men in the Red Lion at Thursley as he was travelling to his ship in Portsmouth. He bought them drinks and they then followed him and murdered him in the Devil’s Punch Bowl. They were quickly apprehended at the Sun Inn in Rake, tried and executed, and their bodies hung on their bodies hung on Gibbet Hill. The unknown sailor was buried in Thursley churchyard, and a memorial stone was erected on Gibbet Hill near the scene of the crime. In 2000, Peter Moorey suggested that the sailor was an Edward Hardman.