#take12trips challenge: The Great British Summer at Etherley Farm

campfire

Many people complain about the British weather, and sure, the grey skies and frequent bouts of rain can be a downer, but when the sun shines there’s no better place to be than outside exploring the countryside. With the forecast predicting sunshine all weekend myself, John, Rob and Emma all loaded the ciders and smores and headed to Etherley Farm in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

After eagerly setting up the tents, we decided to explore the area and ventured off into the woods in search of adventures, blackberry foragin’, and shade. Instead, we found something….unexpected.

llama guards

Sure enough, there sat the menacing beasts themselves, just beyond the gate.

llamas on patrol

We tiptoed past them, and headed back towards the fields to play one of Britain’s greatest summer pastimes – cricket.

rob cricket

john cricket

In between rounds of cricket, we also squeezed in another Great British Summer pastime: cider tasting and BBQs!

ciders

bbq burgers

After stuffing ourselves with burgers, Rob’s ‘special’ campfire baked beans and salad, we soon got down to the serious of campfires , roasting marshmallows and making up our own constellations.

rob campfire

campfire group

We arose late the next morning, to a sky of ominous grey clouds, that soon unleashed all its fury on us.

lads and rain

Undeterred, we hunkered down under layers of raincoats, boots and sweaters and headed into Leith Hill, where I found a rather convenient shelter to wait out the downpour.

kiki keeping dry

Meanwhile, John surveyed the land and decided he liked the woods very much and took it upon himself to claim ownership of the Duke title for the area, as well as its grounds.

duke john

cloudy forest

The rain gradually dissipated throughout the day, just in time for Rob’s biology lesson on the evolutionary history of ferns and their structural makeup. Unfortunately for Rob, our interest waned around the time ‘dinosaurs’ were mentioned, and he had to console himself with the surrounding views as we discussed the ever important topics of dinosaur noises and who would most likely survive in Jurassic Park.

rob fern

trail

walking the trail

Near the end of the trail, we came across an antiquated rope swing that oscillated just over the edge of the hilltop and over the trees below. Of course, if you find an amazing swing in the middle of glorious countryside, there’s only one thing to do.

kiki swing

rob swing

After several bouts of dizzying spins, we stumbled, damp from the dripping tree branches and soaked swing, towards Leith Hill Tower. Luckily for us, the clouds had subsided just in time for us to clamber to the top and enjoy the panoramic views.

leith hill tower

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