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Sunshine, sea-swimming and the art of packing

It’s been a busy year for Team Pixel Fridge! We’re not complaining; it’s obviously great to be kept so busy with interesting projects. But it does mean that this year’s summer ramble was even more hotly anticipated than usual, as we all looked forward to a couple of days out of the office to enjoy nature, each other’s company and a tipple or two.

Having said that, it’s fair to admit there were some nervous murmurings in the lead-up to the day, since route-planning this year fell to Chris who is generally known to be ‘the fit one’ amongst the Fridgelets. Not completely unknown to do desk squats whilst on conference calls and with the running speed of an antelope, we were all a little anxious as to what the ratio of eating and drinking to serious hiking was going to be.

We shouldn’t have worried as his route-planning turned out to be the best yet. Starting in Wool, Dorset (home to a rather delicious bakery which allowed some of us to pre-load our carbs because would a single train pastry be enough?) we walked a really spectacular route, ending at Lulworth Cove on the beach.

Team PF

Since the route was a one-way hike towards the sea, one difference to usual was the instruction that we had to ‘carry our stuff’. This allowed some of us to demonstrate the art of minimal packing, whilst placing extreme faith in the local weather reporting. And also just coming completely unprepared. Luckily for those team members, the rain held off and the ramble took place under blue skies, a few gentle clouds and a pleasant breeze. All in all, perfect rambling conditions.

The route took us through some gorgeous countryside which felt very sound-of-music-esque, prompting some stunning vocal harmonies from the more musically talented group members. We tried our best to avoid getting shot, despite walking fairly close to the red flags and military training bases nearby. I’m pleased to say that we were successful here.

Team Pixel Fridge hiking in the countryside

After what seemed like a very good distance, we turned a corner and were met by a welcome country pub, complete with pink umbrellas. A few team members had a delightful pint here, whilst other (wiser) members thought better of it upon realising that the next stage was a VERY STEEP HILL CLIMB. There was some instant regret from the pint-drinkers at this point.

Team Pixel Fridge at a country pub

It was all worth it though as we reached the top of the hill and were greeted by some glorious sea views over Lulworth. The sea was a pleasingly milky blue, suggesting that we may have even avoided the UK sewage spills.

Descending down the hill to Lulworth Cove

After a hairy and very steep downhill finale, we reached the lovely pebbled beach, looking out over sparkly water. At this point, carrying our stuff was a win, as we were able to change into our swimmers and enjoy a cheeky summer sea swim! Slightly chilly but so delicious! A perfect antidote for tired feet and legs.

Sea swimming

After a brief sunbathe / chill on the beach, we then wandered back to Lulworth where we were staying overnight, collecting some excellent local ice-cream on the way. After trying our best to check-in to a few (confused) establishments we eventually remembered where we were sleeping that night, and allowed ourselves a brief recovery interlude.

Later that evening, we reconvened for some decent food and celebratory drinks. At this point we all forgot to take any pictures so you’ll just have to take our word for it that we had a lovely time 🙂 .

Sadly the next day the weather gods had other ideas and our paddle boarding was cancelled due to much more traditional English rain. However, a few hardy Fridgelets ventured out in their very practical attire to conquer yet another hill. Other Fridglets weren’t as well prepared so hid away in their very summery clothes and watched some quality television, including a new favourite; ‘Secret Crush’ whilst consuming copious amounts of caffeine.

We finally admitted defeat and got an early train back to London. Although sad to miss out on the Day 2 activities, Day 1 proved to be an exceptional ramble. Thanks so much to Chris for some truly excellent route planning and team Pixel Fridge for being so wonderful. We all left victorious, aware of how practical our rain jackets were, and ready for a relaxing weekend.

Hannah

Hannah Oliver

Senior Project Manager