Sunday, 13 August 2017

The path less travelled...

Today I learned that, despite what the motivation posters might tell me, sometimes the path less travelled is less travelled for a very good reason. Or maybe I'm just an overly optimistic hiker.

Steve was off taking fab photos for his new book and I wasn't about to let a sunny day go to waste by finishing the decorating so I slung some goodies into a rucksack, plotted a route and headed out.  It all started really rather well...




I even got serenaded by a very tuneful sheep!


Then it went a bit wrong, and this is what I mean by me being an optimistic hiker.  When I plan a route I assume a footpath is a footpath - that a nice, bright, inviting green wiggly line on a map will translate into a nice sunny footpath.  I know - mad right?  I should know better after all of these years.  To be fair I've spent so long on the high fells, where this is the case, that I'd forgotten low level walks could be quite different.

Overgrown doesn't even come close to what I encountered...



And this is where phase two of my optimism kicks in "it's tricky, but I'm sure it will be clear just around the next bend." Wrong, wrong, WRONG!


Optimism phase three goes something like "well, that's the end of that path, I'm sure the rest of the walk will be beautiful." Guess again.


Honestly, the photo above was taken from the top of a stone stile and shows my "path".  I'll leave you to pick it out for me.  I'm 5ft 10 ins and the bracken was nearly up to my head at times.


Optimism phase four is when I'm still determined to salvage some pretty views from my hellish hike to try and smugly prove that the "path less travelled" really does have nicer views.

Tom Tarn


Now I'm not saying they are bad views, I'm just saying that last week we drove, in a nice warm comfortable car, all the way to this:


I'm beginning to think that I could go off this hiking thing altogether.  Apart from the fact that there is deep and oddly sadistic joy at beating a bad route - sitting in the pub with a pint and a plate of food feeling that you've truly earned it as your arms and legs still tingle from all the nettle stings that made it through your clothing.  That could, of course, be the beer talking or, more likely, I'm now deep into optimism stage five "it wasn't that bad really".

The thing is, it can't put me off hiking as during the first two weeks of September I shall be embarking on a epic hike across the county with my good friend Karen.  The details are a closely guarded secret at the moment but watch this space and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.  Of course, after reading this, Karen may not trust me with any of the route planning... 😅