#15 Tea and cake

It was Friday evening and my friend Kate was over for a catch-up and, more crucially, helping me with a jigsaw puzzle I needed to finish very soon. It was a Star Wars one and I had borrowed it from my cousin’s 7yr old son when I visited them last, and had promised to do it in time for their return visit in mid-February. After our jigsaw fun we got talking about my weekend walks and I pulled out the walk book that Book Club Gill had lent me as I still hadn’t decided where I was going to go the following day. My thought was that I would go for another 4hr walk so that I could be sure that last weekend wasn’t a fluke and I could actually sustain 4hrs without stopping. We found a 4hr route that started and ended just down the road from Kate’s house that was a little bit hilly, so the plan was for me to do my walk and then stop by hers for tea and cake. Perfect!

Once again I was following a sketchy map that had various way-points marked out, and directions on how to get from A to B to C etc. I managed to make it out of the churchyard, navigate my way through the graveyard and find my way to A, mostly thanks to a hand-drawn diagram from Kate. Predictably I missed the turn-off to get to B and went too far, so to get back on the route between C and D I had to walk down a steep-ish, twisty-turny hill, along a bit and then halfway back up the hill. Getting through the woods were no problem, apart from a slight altercation with a dog who wanted to jump all over me, but I went wrong in the orchard somehow and had to fight my way through a gap in a hedge and follow the road for a bit to get to E – halfway.

At this point I was half happy that I had managed to fit in an extra hill and add a few k’s to the route, but half frustrated with my inability to follow seemingly simple directions. It’s a good job I’m going to be in a group in Nepal otherwise by lunchtime on the first day I’d find myself in the wilderness somewhere and never be seen again! To be fair, I wasn’t using GPS to find the way-points so maybe I should give myself a bit of credit for even knowing that I’m lost and managing to find myself again …

Here is a short quote from a bit I did in fact navigate correctly: “It [the footpath] then enters the first of a succession of orchards. Cross over the track in the middle of an orchard and turn left on to the track at the top. A steep climb follows before the path eventually reaches the Greensand Way at the top of another orchard.”. It might sound kind-of easy but when you’re in the middle of an orchard and you don’t know if it’s THE orchard where the track is, or if you come across a track knowing whether it is THE track you need to turn left onto, it can get quite confusing! I think I navigated this bit because I was looking for a steep climb, if it had all been flat I would probably still be walking round in circles. Haha.

The rest of the walk passed without incident (apart from a minor detour between F and G) and I ended up back at the start point, changed my shoes and wandered up to Kate’s for some light refreshments (thanks Kate!). I wasn’t completely satisfied with my day’s activity, the distance of the walk should have been 11.25km but with all my meanderings I had managed to increase it to 17.82km – however the whole thing only took me 3hrs 27 mins instead of 4hrs, including the visit to Kate’s, so come February I needed to be looking for more taxing terrain in order to build up my stamina and endurance. On reflection I did see a positive; at least it didn’t take me 4hrs 27 mins – that would have been a bit worrying!

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Published by Elizabeth M

globe-trotter | writer | photographer | musician I first started travelling in my 20's and, where possible, I like to travel 'off the beaten track'. I've done some cool things like the Inca Trail, trekked to Everest Base Camp and visited the hottest place on earth! I've started writing about my travel experiences, check out my website at https://lizmooney.net

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