Thursday, 23 April 2015

Getting lost

The weather in this part of the country has been nothing short of spectacular recently, and yesterday instead of thinking how nice it was outside whilst staring at a computer screen, I decided to instead go out for a decent walk. 

I got things together in my shoulder bag such as drinks, camera, GPS watch, and of course my Go-Girl in case I needed a toilet stop. I quickly got a map together and set off. The area we live gives me access to miles of footpath right on our doorstep and the route I decided on was southwards up the steep hill on to the Blackdowns. 

I only have to walk quarter of a mile (well 0.3 according to the watch!) and I am into fields and off the lanes. I take a route that follows some lovely meadows and since my last time walking, the dandelions are looking really vivid in amongst all the greenery. There are other flowers too, daisies and lady's smock as well as some remaining daffodils. The smells are fresh and fragrant and it is truly a lovely day to have gone for this walk. 

My watch is showing a good pace too, but this is soon slowed due to hitting a slope. I am now on a bridleway and I pity any poor horse trying to get up this rocky and narrow path. I eventually move off the rocky path and into a more wooded area. Bluebells are now apparent, and I remember being told once that 95% of the worlds bluebells grow in the UK. This is of course an exaggeration but looking around, we do indeed have more bluebells than any other country (25-50%).

This sets the scene quite some distance before I emerge back out on to another lane. I have a choice, I can go left and an easy route home or I can go right and explore new footpaths. I want to go somewhere different today so right turn it is. It's a short distance up the lane and I hit the main road. Actually it is quite a minor route in comparison to some roads, but locally it is our main B-road that goes through our village. Thankfully, my path is 25 metres along and I am back into woods again. 

The path is quite civilised and well trodden and I am lulled into a false sense of safety. I had been thinking how pleasant it was with the paths being dry and then I have to cross a small river. A few slippery stones are all that I have to do this and it makes for a tricky few moments. My walk was soon to take a new and bolder turn too, I notice the footpath is getting a little hard to see. Within 5 minutes, I am lost. I do not know where I went wrong but suddenly the animal trail that I thought was the path is now a wall of brambles. Do I go back and try to find the path or try to carry on?

I decide on trying to carry on because the river is close by and the path is somewhere near it although possibly back on the other side. I get around the brambles but it is tough going now. There are no easy routes and many fallen branches and trees are in my way. I decide now that this would be a good place to stop and try to use my Go-Girl. Given I am off the path, there is not likely to be anyone around. I drop my trouser a small way, position the device where I think it is correct and then try to go. I am aware of a sensation between my cheeks and look down to see it going all over my knickers and trousers with very little going out of the correct tube. I reposition it and still I get the same result. In the end, I drop my trousers all the way and this seems to help get a better position. It's a learning curve I suppose and I will get it right in the end. 

I pull my wet clothing back up and try my best to wipe as much off as possible. It's more scrambling through the undergrowth and finally I am confronted by a barbed wire fence. Beyond the fence is a track and looking at my map, I think I now know where I am and the path is just 10 metres away!

The return home is a lot easier and pleasant again. It is more fields and far easier to navigate with the path being nicely trodden. I get home, look at the watch and I've done a comfortable 5.65 miles. Not bad for a spur of the moment stroll!

Llama's, typical Somerset livestock

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