Our first walk for 2020 was from a new dining location, Bunsay Downs Golf Club, and partially, a new stretch of footpaths. It was a walk that brought its challenges in various ways.
I had warned of mud well before the previous day’s rain and was surprised to find so many walkers prepared to splosh through the puddles and mud ahead.
We were counted out, 27 of us, and set off up the road climbing steadily – I felt like the Duke of York with this number behind me and sure enough, like him, I led them to the top of the hill and marched them down again. Our first stile of the day marked the top of this hill and has a fairly high step. Mo quite often finds stiles challenging but with pulls and pushes we got her halfway over when, with such perfect timing, the property owner appeared and suggested we walk through her gate instead, which we did; this caused some hilarity – Mo joined in our laughter.
A series of paddocks led us down to a road. At that point our intended walk was to have continued down through fields to a footpath running close to the canal, but when I walked it a week before I decided the mud was too deep, and so instead we took another route along a stretch of country lane. It was a pleasant stretch with fine houses and no traffic. Then we turned to descend on a track to the point where our original walk would have joined it. It was at the bottom of the track we realised a section of the group was missing. Fearing there may be a problem and leaving the majority of the group stranded in a field it was back up the hill to locate the absent group – no disaster, – they hadn’t seen us turn off!!!. One group member returned to the waiting majority and led them on whilst I took the ‘missing party’ on a shorter route and we regrouped a short while later.
We were not amused!
Over a stile and through a muddy wood, some fields and more woodland that undulated and twisted we eventually reached a house where the footpath went over their front garden. A quick headcount – we were not 27, so back along the track to find the others (more or less the exact same group) who were some way back – this time they had sensibly stopped for a minor medical reason.
Reaching a road, it was suggested that those ‘struggling’ should return via the road and the rest stride on through more fields and woods, mud and undulations.
We all arrived back at more or less the same time and as luck would have it only about 10-minutes later than planned.