Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lost in the Cotswolds

It was a beautiful day today: sunny and 5 °C. We got a bit of a late start, but had a good breakfast, a quick grocery shop, and then we were on the road to our chosen destination for the day: Brimpsfield. The walk we had picked out would take us from there to the village of Caudle Green and back.

We weren't long in Brimpsfield before the charm of village living became apparent: the village hall that promised free parking could've been mistaken for anyone's house, and pigs, chickens and a horse shared a field across the road from it. So peaceful. And, down at the T-junction that was the 'busy' spot in the village, the ubiquitous war memorial with a fresh poppy wreath, surrounded by little wooden crosses.

The map in our guide book was decidedly lacking on landmarks, but well-versed in the language of stiles and berms now, we started out with confidence. It wasn't long, however, before we started scratching our heads and doubling back on some of our choices. Still, we felt we were heading true, keeping the water -- the one landmark of any consequence -- on the appropriate side of us at all times. And the scenery was incredible, as usual; this was one of my favourite walks -- at that point, anyway.

As we approached what we thought was the halfway point, we had some difficulty finding Caudle Green. I'd heard it's nice, but after a bit of looking, we decided to take a shortcut and start heading back. (The walk provided for this option, so there was no case for alarm -- yet.) As we approached a village from below, feeling very smug about how good we felt, this close to the end of the walk, doubt began to creep into Tea's mind. I assured her that we'd recognize something once we'd crested the hill, and make our way to the village hall by road.

Well, striking out a bit ahead of Tea, not only did I fail to recognize anything in the picturesque village that greeted me, I also spied a bus stop. In disbelief, I was still staring at the large block letters of CAUDLE GREEN when Tea joined me. While fairly confidently following the map to what we believed was the walk's conclusion, we'd managed to land at the halfway point! Now, coming to the realization of how badly disoriented we were, combined with the setting sun, gave me more than a moment of concern, to be honest. Still, this post's title is a bit of hyperbole on my part; we knew where we were; it was just a way's from where we wanted to be -- a mile 'n' a half, to be precise.

Still, we struck out on the road for Brimpsfield with all haste -- no more tricky footpaths for me! -- GPS software running on the Blackberry, and got back to the car within a half-hour or so. The moral of the story: we need to get an earlier start, so setbacks can be dealt with in the light of day. Oh well, no harm, no foul, and lots of fun again -- I think it's clear how much we're both enjoying this when we can still laugh about things in the heightened moments, shall we say. And we can sure as heck laugh about them now.

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