You can see from the photo this was a wet day. Now, I don’t want to moan. It feels churlish in the face of the terrible losses suffered by others in these storms. They’ve lost their homes and possessions and they’ve been forced to sleep in makeshift accommodation with their children. Me, all I’ve got is soaked and that feels bad enough.
This circular walk: beginning and ending at Elton churchyard, over the scarp, through majestic conifers to Castle Ring, would have been beautiful on any other day. Even on this day, it was enjoyable and …well, bracing might be the right word.
Storm Frank had left the paths muddied and potholed. At first all I was worried about was my new boots. I’d taken delivery of a pair of leather walking boots over Christmas. This was a first for me and a sign that I will be taking my walking seriously this year (or at least until I get bored). I’d worn my boots around the house for much of the previous day, making sure they were a good fit and comfortable. And they kept the water out- at least until the last mile or so.
What a shame I hadn’t also been able to wear my new waterproof, insulated jacket. I’d had to send it back because of the clothing industry’s conspiracy (it’s true!) to reduce all women’s clothing sizes. This started a few years ago and it has been getting worse. It coincided with the chocolate makers reducing the sizes of chocolate bars making it necessary to buy two instead of one…
Consequently I was wearing my old ‘waterproof’ jacket which, for reasons soon to be explained, is now in a plastic bag outside the front gate awaiting collection by the NSPCC.
From the beginning of the walk my face stung with raindrops piercing my cheeks. After half a mile my trouser bottoms were caked in mud. At the one mile point my arms were wet. Emerging from the woods to the side of Castle Ring, I realised that my fleece, t-shirt and vest were completely soaked through. There were still a couple of miles to go but things couldn’t really get any worse, could they? Well, not until I stepped into a puddle deeper than the height of my gaiters and that was when my feet started to swim and slosh about in my lovely new boots.
At the end of the walk I dumped the coat in the foot well of the car – anywhere else and it would have caused serious damage to the upholstery. I wrung out my socks in the gutter and tipped my boots upside down to empty them. I shivered all of the way home despite the heater being turned to maximum.
Mercifully, once at home I could sink into a warm bath. Eventually the goose pimples receded and I thanked my lucky stars I still had a bath, and a home, to return to.