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    CHICCHANTAL   23,113
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Back in the Ice Age


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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Can't make up my mind where to go for a hike today. In the end I take the train to a place called Tring in Hertfordshire which is not a synthetic fibre although it sounds as though it should be, but a small town, inconveniently situated 1.5 miles from its own railway station (what do they think this is , France or something?). Just how inconvenient this is becomes clear when I enquire about a lavatory at the station.

'No, sorry. Only if you go into town.' Peruse the bus timetables outside the station (three miles is a long way to walk for a pee) and discover that there are no buses from Tring station to Tring on a Sunday. In fact having asked google, it seems this is not true. You can travel by bus from Tring station to Tring via Hemel Hempstead which is 12 miles away from Tring, a journey of 45 minutes or so.

I've got a horrible feeling that this is not an error on my part. You know how you guys say 'Only in America' with a sort of rueful pride? In England, we wrote the book.

As I leave the station I note with interest that there are a few flakes of snow blowing in the breeze. Quite a stiff breeze too, and it's nearly freezing so it's . . . er . . . bottom-numbing.



Anyway, walk up the road to the start of the footpath. This is the walk I was going to take Stonecot on a few weeks ago when we ended up in Maidenhead. I'm pleased and proud to say that the footpath is part of the Ridgeway www.nationaltrail
.co.uk/ridgeway/
which I've always wanted to walk along. You want old? This path at least 5,000 years old and very likely more. We're talking Stone Age motorway here.

So, I walk up a little lane, take a pic of the view which would be a lot better if it were sunny.



The National Trust own this bit of land (they own many of the best bits in England) and tell me this is Aldbury Nowers. Please don't ask me what a nower is. I've just been looking and apparently the name looks old but isn't and I can't find the etymology of nower. I did try. It has loads of butterflies and rare flowers but not today, today it's sort of grey-green and muddy.

Keep walking. Pass a seat without sitting on it and come to some woodland and slither about in it for the next mile or so. It is very muddy (surprise) because we had some rain a few days ago. Try to pretend I am a Stone Age herdswoman driving sheep along it and feel increasingly glad that in fact I'm not and am wearing 21st century synthetic wadding to keep the cold out with.




There are very nice views despite the weather and I'm sure this woodland will be beautiful if we ever have spring again.

Walk up some mud steps and after further slithering and cursing, reach the end of the woodland and meet with some interesting signage.




You do get the impression they don't really want you here don't you? There are bovine things about and I think they are bullocks because they have the tuft of hair under their tums that you tend to get with male cattle. I'm not going close to look though. Without going close I can tell you that they are Belted Galloways. That'll impress all the farmers amongst you. This is a Scottish breed, not all that common in England (we get a lot of Herefords and Friesians which are chestnut brown with white faces, and black and white blotchy respectively).

So anyway, I haven't got a dog for the cattle to chase but a couple come up behind me with a red setter that is not on the lead and seem happy to sacrifice it so I follow them at a safe distance. The cattle ignore us. There are loads of people on the path and they've clearly seen it all before.

The weather has been thinking things over for a while and has decided to sleet for a bit. However I am ignoring it and giving it the opportunity to behave better. I also have a new download on iPod, you could call it opera's greatest hits. Actually it's called 'The best opera album in the world . . . EVER!' Don't beat about the bush guys, big yourselves up. So I'm striding up chalk downland with some of the most sublime music ever created in my ear, the Toreadors' Chorus from Carmen, and wishing I had a 'voice' so I could join in. www.youtube.com/w
atch?v=4g_otRgzerI





Get to the top of the hill, and look at the view. It's not looking too clever, to be honest. I keep walking and come to a road, and it's another 1.25 miles to Ivinghoe Beacon, where I'm headed for. The wind's like a knife and the point about the beacon is it's high up. The snow has decided to snow a bit harder.

Now you know me, I don't usually wimp out, but the only way back is more or less the way I've come, and things are looking increasingly blizzardy. I'm what 'real' hikers call a fair weather hiker. I may have proper hiking boots on but I'm not wearing a waterproof and I'm not geared up for snow or rain. The weather forecast today, curse it, said cloudy and cold but no rain or snow, so the person who wrote that is coming off my Christmas card list because I wouldn't have gone out for a hike in weather like this if I'd known it was coming.



Say humph to myself, take a photo of the beacon (the high bit in the distance) and turn round to walk back.

As I'm walking along the path back I see that there is a lot of low cloud forming, and realise that I turned back at the right time.



Somehow I miss the path (there are several tracks all going in the same direction) and come to a signpost that points downhill a bit saying 'Ridgeway this way'. As I look the way it points, one of the cattle settles itself down in the middle of the path for a snooze. Two of the other cattle are already lying on the path.

Now I like cows. And bullocks. I do prefer them on the other side of a stout fence, to be honest, but I will walk through a field of bovines rather than a field of horses. However given the warnings about these particular cattle I'm less than keen on walking right under their noses. So I make a detour across the downland and slither back on to the right path and through the wicket gate into the woods again.

I'm looking for signs of spring but the only thing in flower is Dog's Mercury, which has a beatiful name but is not much to look at.



Half an hour later I am back at the bench I didn't sit on before and sit on it this time and have my lunch. I seem to have sort of identified my own personal iron rations for hiking: peanut butter sarnie, lentil soup and usually a banana but I didn't have any today. Also water with Rose's lime cordial in it. There is much debate on hiking websites about food etc but the above seems to suit me quite well: cheap, nutritious and plenty of protein. There's also very little work involved because I make the soup in large batches and freeze it.

After ten minutes, get up and continue, finishing with a shortcut that gets me back to the station just in time to miss a train by 30 seconds and have 45 minutes' wait for the next one.

Some days are just like that.

6 miles, 15,000 steps, two hours 15 minutes.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
NASFKAB 5/8/2013 10:40AM

  lovely pictures thanks

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MISSGRANGER 3/21/2013 1:13PM

    Love this blog post. If I lived in England I"d have no trouble getting off my backside and out to walk. Unfortunately, I live in the US in sprawling suburbia, with no really good, safe walking area for miles around. Unless you count the mall, which I don't.. :P So I stick to the elliptical. Look forward to reading more of your posts!

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EFFRAYECHILDE 3/20/2013 9:53AM

    emoticon

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KAB7801 3/18/2013 1:25PM

    Nice

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JERICHO1991 3/16/2013 11:33AM

    Watch out for that cattle! Reminds me of hikes around the family property in Canada.

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NEW-CAZ 3/16/2013 5:54AM

    emoticon emoticon

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ROBB1N 3/14/2013 7:28PM

    Sounds like quite an adventure!

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GLUECIPHER 3/14/2013 12:55PM

    Thanks for sharing

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FISHER011 3/14/2013 12:31AM

    Awesome! i always enjoy going on your hikes with you! You also eat like I do! I love making huge pots of soup & freezing it- healthier & more nutritious than a can!

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OFGREENGABLES 3/13/2013 5:58PM

    thanks for sharing your adventure!

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MAMAOWLS 3/13/2013 2:40PM

    Another enjoyabel hike with you. Sorry the weather was bad but I'm glad you survive the cattle.

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JUDYAMK 3/13/2013 9:30AM

    Thank you for taking us along on your hike & the history lessons you give to us, I checked out the site you posted loved the photos.
Judy

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IDICEM 3/13/2013 9:21AM

  I love your hiking adventures. My fantasy trip to England now includes a hike along one of your trails. Thanks for blogging!

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ILIKETOZUMBA 3/13/2013 12:08AM

    Sorry it wasn't an ideal walk, but great job anyway! Thanks for the photos, as always. :)


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PATTYSPENCER 3/12/2013 11:56PM

    Thank you for allowing me to walk with you in your lovely country side. One day we'll be walking in our shorts - maybe

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ALIDOSHA 3/12/2013 1:05PM

    emoticon emoticon for sharing.

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MILLIE5522 3/12/2013 12:30PM

    You're a brave woman.....not because of the cows but facing the Arctic temperatures!

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NEWTINK 3/12/2013 11:36AM

    emoticon emoticon

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HKARLSSON 3/12/2013 10:01AM

    I wouldn't trust cows as far as I could throw them. They're a lot smarter than they look.
My great-grandfather used to raise Herefords and Black Angus.

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BLUEJEAN99 3/12/2013 8:59AM

    emoticon emoticon

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LIFETIMER54 3/12/2013 5:58AM

  emoticon emoticon pics.... emoticon

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TREYONE 3/11/2013 11:51PM

  Thank you for sharing your walk! I love the pictures!!

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GARDENCHRIS 3/11/2013 11:00PM

    very interesting... I do like the history bits! THANK YOU!

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MICKEYH 3/11/2013 10:35PM

    Great walking trip !! Thanks for sharing. Again your launch sounds good. What is a peanut butter sarnie? I guessing is like a peanut butter sandwich. Hope you enjoyed it !! emoticon *\(^o^)/*

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JAMER123 3/11/2013 10:00PM

    emoticon emoticon
I enjoy the walks with you!! A little frustration when missing the train like that especially with the cold!

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ROCKYCPA 3/11/2013 9:44PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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HEARTS116 3/11/2013 9:35PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PENOWOK 3/11/2013 8:38PM

    You are a wonderful walker, and so brave on your own!!

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JESSICABOOTY 3/11/2013 6:44PM

    Is it really true that you plan to walk around the world? We've seen a lot of it through your travels. Thanks. emoticon

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TEDYBEAR2838 3/11/2013 6:31PM

    emoticon Beautiful countryside!

Thanks for sharing.

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 3/11/2013 6:23PM

    I am so impressed! Usually I get anxious if I am more than about 50 feet from the nearest loo--or water closet--or whatever you call it. You are a boldly goer!

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FALLNTENN 3/11/2013 5:59PM

    Six miles in bad weather is amazing. Maybe you will get a chance to take the Ridgeway in better weather later this year. Even though it was cloudy the pictures were wonderful. So beautiful!
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NEEDBU66 3/11/2013 5:43PM

    I love your blogs. Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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LIVELYGIRL2 3/11/2013 5:37PM

  I love to do walking with you. I can take photos on my phone, but it isn't a smart phone. It's pay as you go, so no idea how to do share pics.

Anyhow, it's wonderful to see your area and country.

Good for you, that your continuing on with your exercise and food choices. emoticon

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WENDYANNE61 3/11/2013 5:25PM

    Wow - you are quite amazing, woman! Here is a bunch of bananas for the next treck! emoticon

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IAMAGEMLOVER 3/11/2013 5:12PM

    The photo, I love it. I enjoy the hikes, especially when I am sitting in a nice warm house.

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JUNEAU2010 3/11/2013 4:52PM

    My definition of a fair weather hiker would not fit you 'cause you slog through mud and I could not! emoticon

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SNOOPYLINKOS 3/11/2013 4:26PM

    You and your counrtyside are amazing! Thanks for sharing.

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LISA_FRAME 3/11/2013 4:02PM

  Love the photos!

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PATRICIAANN46 3/11/2013 3:04PM

  I even enjoy your half-hikes.......... emoticon

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CJYOUCANDOIT 3/11/2013 2:39PM

    Thank you for sharing a bit of England with us! I have enjoyed it immensely.
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DONNA5281 3/11/2013 2:19PM

  emoticon for sharing!

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JOANNHUNT 3/11/2013 1:44PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JIBBIE49 3/11/2013 1:42PM

    emoticon Great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail. Spark Guy says one and one half million read it daily, so you certainly are an inspiration today. emoticon

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KARENLEIGH32 3/11/2013 1:31PM

    Ok today's walk was a bit cold for me but still very enjoyable!

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LILLIPUTIANNA 3/11/2013 12:59PM

    It's a little cloudy here in California today and I'm all bundled up like an Eskimo! I'd have probably stopped on that trail and curled up in the fetal position until the Spring thaw warmed me back up.

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LINDAKAY228 3/11/2013 12:35PM

    some hikes just kind of turn out like that. I set out on a long walk Saturday when the weather seemed to be clearing and part of it was along a path by creek not close to any streets but still in town. I was 3 miles from my house and way into the path (I left my house walking to it) when a few light snow flurries started around but I wasn't alarmed. At 3 1/2 miles it started to be a sleet/snow mixture that was really wet and the wind started blowing! The last 2 miles home were in that nasty weather. At 1 1/2 miles before I got home I could have called my daughter, because I was on a road by then, but decided I had to tough it out. Sometimes we are a little crazy, and I wouldn't have gone if I'd known that was going to happen. I left my house about 4 pm Saturday, and we had just had a few very light snow flurries that didn't really stick t anything and just floated around a little in the air off and on all day. Of course the really bad weather hits after I decide to go walk!!

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FIRECOM 3/11/2013 12:19PM

    I never tire of reading your blogs. You are a jewel and I sincerely appreciate your images and great writing.

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JUDYAASH 3/11/2013 12:12PM

    Great blog as usual. Wish I could walk and had the nerve to walk alone. emoticon emoticon

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