“Friends who set forth at our side, falter, are lost in the storm” (Matthew Arnold)
Well it wasn’t that dramatic really! It was a grey evening as we met in the car park. Lemony felt empowered by the flour pot Zorro gave her, as leader of the walkers. Well, they say pride comes before a fall! She should have realised that it would not be her day as she had put her torch and mobile in her raincoat pockets and left the coat hanging on the peg in the hall.
The whole pack set off from the car park – the Shepherd’s Hut could not fit us in as they had a quiz night (maybe we should have entered a team!). We ran across the small triangle of grass and up the lane to the 2nd footpath. The trial took us alongside a field full of pigs in single pens. They had a lot of space and looked very settled. At the far side of the field we joined the road for a short distance before turning off left alongside the trees and then right along the road to the woods. The path was very steep through the trees up to the first kissing gate. Then we crossed a field and went through a second kissing gate where the walkers and runners went their separate ways. The walkers cut back through the woods and turned left and following the edge of the copse back to the road. This is where they went wrong. It was getting dark and they found the check, but the route on the map looked like there should be a road off to the right and there was only a path. Rubber Sole was the only one of the three to have her mobile so she looked up where we were on Google Maps. It said they were 1.5 miles and 31 minutes from Ewelme church and 0.85 miles from a right turn. The only problem was they didn’t work out which direction to walk in! They set off just as it started to rain. Rubber Sole was worried about her phone going flat so they didn’t check how they were getting on until they came to a turning on the right. This is when they realised they were now 2.1 miles and 47 minutes from the church! They stopped at a house and double checked, then turned around. Rubber Sole tried to ring Gnome Alone (to make sure the runners knew we were OK) but could not get through so eventually sent a text saying that we had been lost but were now on the road back to the village. In the mean time the runners had one straight on from the 2nd kissing gate, along the earthwork to the next wood, back down the hill to Swan’s Way and down along the side of the wood to the same check the ladies had been at. It was while they were in the woods that the rain started. It got torrential very quickly so Zorro abandoned the rest of the trial and pointed the pack along the road back to the village. Wimpey ran faster than he had run in years and was keeping up with Uranus and Comet. Mudder and Out to Lunch were close behind when the frogs/toads started appearing on the road. They stopped to move the first one to safety, and then the 2nd, and then the 3rd ……
Back at the car park Gnome Alone picked up Rubber Sole’s text. She was not sure who it was from but showed it to Hutch who saw the spelling errors and identified the typing as belonging to his beloved. To be fair, she had been trying to text while the other two walked off with the torch and told her to hurry up! They were grateful to her when Gnome picked them up still at least 0.75 miles from the village. Thank goodness Mudder and Out to Lunch sorted the amphibians or we’d have squashed them with the car!
The group all huddled under the awning of Wimpey’s campervan and shared a beer, nibbles and cake. Zorro had provided some, Wimpey some more and Ratatouille some more. So there was plenty to go round. The rain had eased by this time but it was getting rather chilly so the party broke up at c9.15. Stiffy and Hotlips had left early but the hares for the following week were there so could ensure we knew where we were meeting the following week. The group also passed on their thanks to Piscine Down for helping lay the trail and insisting that Zorro did not add yet another loop to it.
Lemony was very pleased that there were no Yellow Shirts to award! Mind you, as she popped the flour container into Zorro’s boot, she asked him if she should close it for him. “Oh, is it open?” was the reply. Maybe there was another contender after all.
Thanks for the trail, Zorro. It had everything and getting lost was my fault, your map and instructions were fine. I should have concentrated more on the way out to ensure I knew the way back! I need to learn how to use GPS too!
Hares: Zorro and Piscine Down
Hounds: Hutch, Big Stiffy, Hotlips, Wimpey, Lemony Snickett, Uranus, Comet, Ratatouille, Professional Peach, Gnome Alone, Rubber Sole, Northern Soul, Rubber Sole’s Buddy, Mudder, Out to Lunch and Annus Interruptus (and Tic)
Date: 5 September 2017
Distance: Walkers 5.35 miles/Runners 5.2 miles