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Adventures in hill walking…

January 22, 2010

Adventures go with hill walking as much as, well, wild goes with the Queen. It SHOULD be a safe and mild afternoon out. Not so much for us apparently. Let’s start at the beginning. After my little wellie date proposal, I took the advice of a coworker to visit Boxhill in Surrey, a ‘short’ train ride outside of London, with a nice walk and beautiful views. Okay I’ll bite…

Olive loves a good nose out the train window…which is good because we ended up having to take two tubes and two trains to get there. Ouch.

But we got there in the end, and started our descent up the hill..to give you a bit of scale-check out the little people walking up from the bottom left hand corner.

To find out what happened next…

The next few hours were filled with us getting our wellies as heavy as possible with chalky mud and laughing at Olive’s white beard as she snuffled her way through the countryside. We eventually started our way back down the hill but in a different location from our ascent and found it a lot tougher. See we’ve had a lot of snow and rain recently and the ground was really slippery mud. Pair this with Olive pulling you down and you are in a very precarious position. We finally made it down to find that the river had flooded and not only shut off the stepping stone crossing (which i had been so excited about seeing-it was pretty much the only reason I wanted to go) but the bridge as well. Which meant we had to climb the treacherous hill again. Noooooo. So we did what every dumb person would do, we thought we will find another way. So we dragged (literally) Olive through some very shallow water and started walking parallel to the flooded riverbanks…

…and into the thick of the forest. What started as a bit of a path started to wind down closer and closer so that it wasn’t much of  a path anymore. Finally we had to turn back around as we weren’t getting anywhere, but alas, we had passed by a bit of a clearing earlier…

Thankfully this is where David had the foresight to suggest we put away the camera, which we are lucky we did. Although I wish there was photographic evidence to back the rest of this story up, because it is true. This hill that you see in the photo above was a silent danger. Five feet behind David is some scrub brush and then a 20 foot drop into the flood waters. Up ahead of him is a 20 foot climb up into the forest, (to what I thought was a sign and therefore a path that we could join up with). As the three of us start to walk up the hill I find myself flattened against the ground, struggling a bit more than I thought I would…and I look over and see David frantically trying to grab hold of anything as he is sliding down the hill on his belly…feet and hands just slipping through this weird mud dirt. Olive too is now sliding downwards, paws shuffling like shes tap dancing. IF we can’t get a hold of something we are going to slide down into the bushes and possibly fall down into the river. Mmm…not so keen on the sound of that.

After a few careful minutes, of stretching and clawing, we both shimmied (on our bellies) our way to the safety of some tree roots and finally a tree, dragging Olive’s leash with us (thank heavens she was on her lead!).  David then decided to  ‘climb’ up by himself to see how the rest of us could make it. This whole time, I’m laughing and thinking ‘oh what a little adventure’ but now I’m starting to go..uh oh, its going to be dark in an hour and we have no idea where we are and we are stuck on some crazy quicksand hill! I can not see David from whre I am, I just see occasional pebbles falling down the hill. After about ten minutes I finally hear some sound from above–sticks breaking, leaves rustling and here comes David. On his butt, legs to his chest, sliding down the hill! Apparently the sign I thought I saw was actually the entrance to an old bunker and not a path…no way up, and no way down– unless we slide down. As he approaches us, Olive is so happy to see him she literally jumps into his lap and positions herself with paws on his knees facing downwards (like her tobaggan has just arrived and she is ready to go sledding) and they sail off down the hill. I follow suit and we make our way back down…so we can make our way up. Yes, make our way up the path that we were so intent on avoiding. Happily, we were able to zigzag around a bit and rejoin a path a bit closer to the exit than we were expecting so we were very relieved. Caked in dirt with an exhausted puppy and banned from the pub for being too dirty… I guess we are going to start taking rapelling gear with us in the future. And Ice crampons. Am I becoming a true city girl or something?!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2010 3:22 pm

    haha, that last image of your puppy on your boy’s lap is gold! sounds like you got a good workout while you were adventuring. fantastic pictures!

  2. Judy permalink
    January 23, 2010 1:11 am

    I’m sure you have noticed this about the Brits…every destination is invariably just “a short walk away…”just follow that path there and you can’t go wrong”. I have spent many an afternoon “rambling” when I just wanted a short cut to a stately home. You are FAR more adventurous than I. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Pillar Box Post permalink*
    January 24, 2010 11:41 pm

    In retrospect I think the most ‘british’ part of it was that several people told us that it was blocked and that we’d have to turn around but we were like ‘well I think I’ll be the bloody judge of that!’and had to find out for ourselves! Stubborn!

  4. mutte permalink
    January 25, 2010 8:36 pm

    I laughed so hard reading this! And you definitly inherited your Dad’s great gift for relating his adventures. But I do thank God that it turned out ok.

  5. February 18, 2010 1:06 am

    dude. olive is seriously cute.

  6. munchausenadventuretrails permalink
    April 20, 2010 9:57 am

    stumbled on your blog…great write up..well done

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