This year's reunion was hosted by Guildford pilgrims John Lamb and Sue Earley at St John the Evangelist Church, Stoke Park, Guildford. An ideal location with interconnecting church and hall, carpeted floor and relatively easy to find.
Friday night was the usual: pilgrims arriving, sharing food, some off in search of pubs and more serious food, a showing of Nick's slides, before we tumbled into bed ready for a prompt start in the morning.
Funny how much harder a floor feels when you haven't been walking...
Anyway, Saturday morning we rise, breakfast, gird ourselves for the walk. It looks encouragingly bright outside, after the heavy rain of recent days, if a little nippy. Before we set out, John leads us in prayer.
And so, boots on and outside. The brightness is a reality - Deo gratias - as we gather together leaving the front markers time to get ahead.
Then we're off, through the leafy back streets of Guildford. A strange mix of attire from summery shorts to wintery heavy jackets, but it's that sort of weather.
Well, any doubt about the warmth of the sun was dispelled as we climbed out of and around Guildford onto Pewley Down, rewarded by a view back across the town to the Cathedral on Stag Hill.
Can you think of anything better to be doing on such a day than walking with friends?
There was stiff climb, for which we were rewarded with the ancient ironstone church of St Martha, with its newly-tiled roof. A wedding was planned for later in the day, so we were unable to go inside. But with the warm sun that was little hardship.
Pilgrims just soaked up the sun and caught their breath...
...or caught up on old times
Here a faithful watcher of our website in the summer makes her first appearance...
Then Bruce led us in prayer and reflection.
Well, these are the North Downs, and (like share values) may go Up as well as Down. My erstwhile acolyte, Stephen, is heading for the title of lunatic-photographer-in-chief, as he ran up the hill to get this shot back of pilgrims recalling the pain of hill climbing (and shedding another layer!).
We headed off across the Downs once more, bringing us to the Newlands Corner beauty spot, with its welcome cafe, where pilgrims partook of a range of goodies.
From Newlands Corner it's a relatively short walk to Shere village, where we lunched at the White Horse. Again, warm enough to sit outside - luxury for November, and a miracle given this autumn's weather!
Anyway, time came to move on. It's amazing what you see in the gardens you pass...
Sometimes younger pilgrims need a bit of encouragement. We call it "Patrick" (though he led them astray, into another pub - the Villagers at Blackheath, for Banoffee Pie!)
Dropping down from the heath to Chilworth, we met some friends "hanging around" for us. Good to see you, Bill and Kate.
I said Stephen was aiming to make me redundant. He even knows (and acts upon) the need to get at least one train photo for Jules, so here at Chilworth level crossing is ... a train (I'm sure Jules will enlighten us on the exact model).
.....yes I can.... It is a 3-car Class 166 "Thames Turbo" the same type we [Jules, Aid, Rosie & Bridget] went to Warwick on. This one is in the new livery of Thames Trains who are responsible for operating the Gatwick-Reading service as well as Paddington suburban services. The unit is based at Reading.
The summery weather may have confused us earlier in the day, but it is November, and it gets dark. The walk had been carefully planned, however, so we were approaching Guildford as the dusk came, and the last stretch was under street lamps. The Wey valley was filling with mist and smoke from bonfires as we crossed the last open fields.
Back to the hall. A cup of tea. Farewell to the day visitors. Then Dave Cosham's slideshow in the church, which provided us with a huge screen. Then the welcome call "supper's up". It's unusual to see the two Johns on this side of the hatch - the nice thing about reunions is that our support team can be on the receiving end, while we are served by pilgrims you'd expect to see walking.
And a find repast it was too, served on china plates and eaten at decorated tables.
And we were entertained by a magician as we waited to collect our food.
And there are newcomers in this digital photography war!
After the meal, a Taizé evening prayer. I suspect the celebrations went on into the night, but I had to get children home to bed...