After an hour or so we decided it was time to stop for a break. We had covered nearly three miles over rugged terrain and climbed nearly 900 feet in the process. I scanned the horizon for miles, not a soul could be seen so we perched ourselves on top of a stone stile and broke out the rations and poured a steaming cup of coffee.
‘Excuse me, can we climb over?’ said a little voice from nowhere.
I looked around unable to pinpoint the voice then looked down. From out of nowhere a small man carrying an oversized rucksack and even bigger oversized teeth had appeared. Don’t even get me started on this, there was absolutely nothing for goddam miles in any direction, we had passed nobody, we were going on a beaten track that is barely used and we chose on purpose the furthest point away from everybody to have a coffee yet we had done it at exactly the same time as our new miniature colleague with the piano key teeth wanted to use the stile.
‘No problem.’ We said as we packed everything up and dropped to the floor.
‘It’s OK, I have moved the obstinate human obstruction!’ Our small friend soon to be enemy shouted to a wall.
Obstinate human obstruction? What kind of flowery slightly insulting language is this? Then I realised as from behind the wall popped three similarly garbed individuals. They were serious walkers, you could tell that by the way they tuck in their socks and look you up and down as they pass checking out every bit of your gear.
My rucksack didn’t pass muster as mine is from Tesco’s basic range and not a triple pocketed hunter shufter MKIII with optional gas bottle and can opener. After all I’m only carrying a flask of coffee and a bit of lunch, I’m not wanting it to form part of an expedition to conquer the north face of the Iger. But boy do they look disgusted with me. Serious walkers are a bit like that, they spend many hours walking alone or with a group of like minded friends that they suddenly stop appreciating the landscape and become more concerned with doing it right and making sure they have a good crop of well deserved blisters to show off over a pint of real ale in the nearest pub. They have their own language too which usually consists of every walk they have ever taken mixed with the highest peaks and occasionally the benefits of Kendal Mint Cake.
Anyway where was I, ah yes, the fact that no matter where in this wide world I stop to have a coffee or a bit of quiet time some oaf with crazy teeth lumbers onto the scene and insults me, it’s either that or a passing dog will have a fit of pique and lavishly attack me before the owners blame me for getting in its way. How on earth on a beach three miles long, that has a width of say 250 metres with the tide out do I get in a dogs way such as occurred a few weeks ago when a slobby dog pinned me to the ground? You can’t write this stuff, seriously if you wrote everything down that occurred to me on a daily basis you would read it and think ‘What a bloody liar, he’s making all this up.’
Yesterday we had climbed up a rocky crag (yes, I know I do a lot of walking but it’s in between painting, I wouldn’t want you to think I was shirking my Impossimal duties) and had just about reached the top when lo and behold a sheep attacked me. I say sheep, it was like being in the film 300 as a complete field of them stampeded us bashing and butting their way to the other side of the crag. I never ever thought I would be trapped on a Derbyshire hillside watching sheep fling themselves willy nilly at us with little regard to what or who they hit as they sailed by. Contrary to popular belief sheep are not made of cotton wool and don’t shrink in the rain, something I was reminded of as one landed in my backpack with an Uff! That was me not the sheep that went Uff!, it kind of went Bleat! and bounced off shaking it head.
Oh and whilst we are at it two fields away was the next way point, a nice stone stile to cross into a field full of cows. Hang on, that’s no cow, that’s a BULL! It’s very difficult to walk with your sphincter clapping so loudly whilst nervously watching the young calves as they went back to daddy to tell him that those walking people are so annoying and are wearing the wrong backpacks. The massive huge mammoth bull approached and snorted, I snorted too. From my bottom. The thought of bouncing sheep careering into my frail body and knocking me two hundred feet down a mountainside suddenly seemed quite attractive compared to being trampled inside out and being found as a pulpy mess by the farmer who would stand there rubbing his forehead saying ‘Well, I be danged’ or something similarly country-ish.
The point is it dosen’t matter where I am, or what time I do it I can never manage to find a quiet spot anywhere. Drop me in the middle of the Sahara and I would get a Bedouin come out of nowhere to ask me if I wouldn’t mind moving along as I am making the desert look scruffy and using the wrong rucksack.
So today I’m looking for a quiet spot again with another trip out, wish me luck!
I’m going to need it.