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South Coast: Mayday Walk
14th October 2017 @ 10:30 am - 5:00 pm
The start of our walk this year was at Arlington Reservoir, where we all gathered in the car park. Sixteen of us set off with dogs Millie and Badger, to be joined later by two more and the last two met us for lunch, so twenty in all, a very good turn out.
The weather was very kind, warm and dry unlike last year, so the fields weren’t very muddy underfoot. We walked through the beautiful Sussex Downs countryside near Arlington Reservoir with some bird spotting on the way, and made our way to Selmeston, where there is a very old picturesque church with a graveyard. This was where we found out the meaning behind the theme for our walk ‘Mayday’. The call sign Mayday was originated in 1923 by Frederick Mockford who is buried there. When he was a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport he was asked to think of a word that would indicate distress and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground staff in an emergency. Since much of the traffic at the time was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris, he proposed the word Mayday from the French m’aider. “Venez m’aider” means “come help me”. This was later adopted in the Marine world as we mariners know.
After our visit there it was almost time for lunch, so the next stop was the Berwick Inn next to Berwick railway station. They accommodated us all very well (including the dogs) and served us an excellent meal. Then it was a leisurely walk back to the car park to say our goodbyes – in all we enjoyed a walk of about 5 miles during which the time seemed to go much too quickly.
Many thanks once again to Maurice and Jill Phillips for their organisation of this event, I know there was a lot of care taken to make sure it was pleasurable for all, even down to the odd bit of pruning on the way to cut back the pesky brambles! Also, as always, thanks to Dave Clare for taking the excellent photographs for this event.