I'm planning to do a big walk later this year, so I thought I'd get some practice in.
I took an Ordnance Survey map off my bookshelf, found two nearby woods that I'd never been to, and plotted a vague route through them.
I didn't hang about. The weather was good that day and I didn't want to waste it. I threw some food and water in my rucksack, pulled on my walking boots, and got going.
It felt brilliant to be walking in bright sunshine and fresh air. I walked past cows and sheep, stopped on a bridge over a trickling stream to eat my lunch, and stepped nervously through deserted farmyards scattered with defunct machinery.
When I reached the woods I discovered they were full of pine trees, some of which had fallen over in Storm Doris the previous day, and peppered with small lakes. They were beautiful and peaceful. I hardly saw a soul. The one person I spoke to was a dog walker who was surprised that I didn't have a dog too. I explained that I was taking my camera for a walk.
The problems started when I tried to walk out of the second wood. I lost the footpath and got stuck in a pocket of woodland that didn't appear to have an exit. After a fruitless twenty-minute loop, I reached for my compass keyring and weaved my way north until I came across a signposted footpath.
I was so relieved to see that signpost, and even more relieved when I reached a road. A road! Civilisation!
I'd only been gone an hour and a half.
Once I knew where I was, it was just a case of walking home. Which took another hour.
In total, according to Strava, I'd walked 7.5 miles. Was that all?? The big walk I'm planning to to do is 80 miles...
Yeah, good luck with that.
(First published on my blog page 6th March 2017)
Richard Pettitt, cartoonist.