9 January 2019

Lost

Lawn Farm
Yesterday was a lovely blue sky day. It felt more like April than January.

Clint carried me south for an hour - past Chatsworth House and onward to Darley Dale, Matlock and Wirksworth. Finally, I found a place to leave him - by a quiet lane near the hamlet of Ashleyhay in a rural area of Derbyshire  that is commonly referred to as The Amber Valley.

I might not be an expert in many things but I am pretty good at map reading. Britain's premier mapping organisation - The Ordnance Survey - produce a wide range of maps. The most detailed ones even show  field boundaries with great accuracy and they are an excellent guide.

However, yesterday I had a smaller scale map that I had printed off on an A4 sheet. It showed public footpaths but no field boundaries or other fine details. Another important factor here is that most of the paths in The Amber Valley are not well-trodden. Wooden stiles and waymarkers are generally poorly maintained. In that sense, it is quite different from The Peak District.
That's the background to how I managed to get lost - not once but three times. Getting lost meant that I left the area covered by my A4 sheet. It also meant that I ended up walking three or four miles more than I had planned and it also created the following scene.

Disoriented and trying to get back on track, I descended  wide green pastureland. In the small valley at the bottom there was a lazy stream that meandered through woodland. Wary of the marshy ground within those woods I walked fifty yards further up the little valley and then plunged into the woods. Three minutes later, I was pleased to have crossed the stream without getting my boots wet.

Next I had to negotiate a bank of dead brambly briars that would have been impassable in the summer. I reached my legs up like an inelegant ballet dancer in order to tread down the barbed and entangled shoots. Progress was slow and then suddenly my right foot was no longer on solid ground. It sank right up to the thigh. I had trodden in the entrance to an old badgers' sett. At first my foot was stuck but with a little manoeuvring I managed to yank it out.

Through the brambles like Indiana Jones and then over a a barbed wire fence that was itself entangled and half-hidden by climbing plants. I am happy to report that I avoided personal injury to the nether regions.

Half an hour later I found myself in the village of Cowers Lane. It was off the map and far from where I wanted to be. In "The Railway Inn" the blonde barmaid's geographical skills were on a par with my own knowledge about knitting but helpfully she agreed that we were somewhere in Derbyshire.

I sank my pint of orange cordial and soda water and soon set off towards Idridgehay. It was late in the afternoon and already I observed that daylight was being sucked away by the low sun. If I was going to avoid getting back to Clint in darkness I needed to press on - marching like a soldier across that unfamiliar terrain, missing the leisurely and more scenic route I had visualised on Monday night.

Another rarely trodden path led me through the farmyard of Alton Mill Farm where a herd of Friesians were waiting to be milked. The farmer showed me the way. It led through a gateway and a veritable quagmire of slurry. But as the French national anthem suggests,sometimes you just have to March On! March On!
Near the end of the walk - Storer Farm, Ashleyhay

24 comments:

  1. I'm glad you didn't hurt yourself by stumbling into the badger sett. That would have been bad, to be hurt as well as lost.

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  2. Goodness what an adventure. Guess you won't be using that type of map again !! Glad you managed to find Clint again anyway and the need for a search party was avoided.
    Wanted to ask you about the photographic site where you have one photo of the week several times. Is it a British site only? Tony has bought a new camera and is getting some great photos and a friendly competition would give the hobby a bit of interest as well as exposure to lots off good examples.
    I'm trying to get back into posting regularly, let's hope I can continue to find something to post about. Many of my old blogging buddies have dropped off like I did so I am casting around reading a few new blogs.

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    1. My site covers Britain and Ireland only. It is called geograph. I wonder if there's a similar photo sharing site in Australia. Perhaps Tony could start his own photo-blog aiming to post and comment on an image or two per day. Gradually, others would come to look. I would certainly check it out. I find that geograph is a big motivating force in my photography and a blog devoted to images could give Tony the same lift.

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    2. He misses the old Panoramio….so do I. The photos on GoogleEarth are not very good these days. I have put some of his latest photos on my blog.

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  3. Sory I should proofread ! Used the wrong "one". I meant "won" !!!

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  4. Heavens , I did it again ! I meant "Sorry" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. These could be the first signs Helen! You know what I mean.

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  5. And this is a good reason to take a phone with you, Mr. P. All kidding aside, if you'd broken your leg in that badger hole, it would be nice if you could call someone to report that fact. Not to mention the GPS function on the phone. Although I do understand the charm of being lost and then being found.

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    1. I don't have a phone and I wasn't in the Amazon rainforest. Civilisation was always very close by.

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    2. Okay. Take a whistle.

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  6. Maybe you should carry some survival gear in case you have to spend the night outside.

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    1. Next time I'll take a tent, sleeping bag, guitar, camping stove, food, water, plate, knife and fork etc.. I will need a big rucksack and my walks will need to be reduced to a couple of miles.

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  7. That sounds like a little too much adventure! I'm glad you got home safely. (At least it appears you did, unless you're blogging from the field.)

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    1. Oh, and yes, Ms. Moon is right -- take your phone!

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    2. Just one problem with that - I do not own a mobile or cell phone.

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  8. Such an adventure you had on this stroll! A bit frightening if your leg sank up to your thigh in that muddy hole. I'm surprised Clint took you back in such a state! This somehow reminds me of the adventure one Bilbo Baggins set out on long ago. You didn't see any dragons did you?

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    Replies
    1. No dragons but a couple of unicorns and a goblin.

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  9. Boy! Oh! Boy! You do like to roam away from home, Yorkie! For heaven's sake, be careful when out and about by yourself. Clint can't race off to help you if you almost disappear down into a bog!!!

    You and I are so different....I love being at home and have no desire to roam...even if my wonky hips allowed me to do so...I have no want to go....

    Be careful, laddie!!!

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    1. Thank you for your kind concern Auntie Lee!

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  10. Whew! You made it home safe and sound. A machete would have come in handy with the brambles, I guess. Good job you did not twist your ankle there; it would have made Marching On very painful or even impossible.
    The last photo is my favourite of this lot, I really like the look of the farm house, rather unusual I think.

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    1. Yes. A machete would have been very useful but with growing concern about knife crime, I do not think it would have been wise to walk down Derbyshire's country lanes brandishing such a weapon!

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  11. It might be time to re think not having a mobile phone ! If I was Mrs YP I would insist on it. (You wouldn't have got lost either)

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    1. It is clear that the aliens have got to you too Frances! Before too long I will be the only one left.

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