There will be a good cider apple harvest in Surrey this year. Your author has made sure of it. On 16th January, a small group of friends made their second pilgrimage to join locals in Outwood village in the Surrey Weald and Rampant Rooster Morris from nearby Dorking for the Outwood Wassail, a blessing of the orchard through fire, song and dance. Wassailing is a pre-Christian tradition which aims to wake the trees from their wintry slumber, and drive away evil spirits which may threaten the next year's apple harvest.
After nourishment, a jar of ale, and a chance to watch Rampant Rooster outside the 17th century Bell Inn at Outwood, those present were handed a piece of fire and set off en masse uphill past the beacon towards Outwood Mill. Behind the Mill is a small orchard, and there mulled cider and apple juice were enjoyed around the bonfire before everyone was offered the chance to drink from the Wassail bowl. As a result,there will be apples again this year in Surrey.
For more, and details of next year's event, keep an eye on https://www.facebook.com/NationalTrustSurreyHills/