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Golders Green to Barnet – Up the Dollis Valley January 8 2012

What a great day was had and a good start to 2012!  The weather was overcast but very mild for January and dry, fortunate after the bad storms a few days earlier.  A dog and 33 GOC-ettes ventured out under Sue Brown's excellent direction.

More than half started at the prewalk coffee at the local Costas - all agreed it was a great way to start the day, particularly the large number of new members/guests.  Sue took us through the smart suburb of Golders Green, then into the Hampstead Garden Suburb.  Between Sue and several of the learned audience (never ceases to amaze me the depth of knowledge within the GOC members!!), we learnt all about Henrietta Barnett.  Henrietta was the visionary, in the very early 20th century, who planned social housing on a scale not seen previously, prompted by the opening up of new underground stations in what was open fields.  This housing, amongst other things, ensured wide, tree lined streets, houses with outdoor space available to all regardless of social standinga and a limit to the number of properties per acre, all resulting in a very grand area to live in still to this day.  We wandered  along the Dollis Brook, weaving amidst trees and grasslands, at times suburbia felt miles away.  There was lots of chat amongst the troops and we only fell quiet when negotiating the occasional muddy area and once dealing with a fallen tree, where several of us came to the rescue to help a couple with a pram plus child.  A further stop was at the stunning Mill Hill Viaduct, which we passed under, impressive in size and architecture.  A pub lunch for most was greatly enjoyed but I am sworn to secrecy as to where we ate, not sure why, always thought Weatherspoons was ok........Whoops! but have to say if the measure of a pub roast is the roast spud, then Weatherspoons gets the prize!!  The pancakes (medicinal purposes to fend the cold) weren't bad either!  We ventured further along the Dollis Brook, through the Totteridge Fields and ended at High Barnet Tube station as the light was fading, where we said our hearty  thanks and goodbyes to Sue who was going nearby, but failed to say goodbye to poor Edward struggling with the ticket machine as we all tubed off!!  The chat on the tube south was generous and all agreed it was a fun day!

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