The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A New Jacket, A Fitbit and the Biggest Mudfest Ever Seen

I must have been a good girl over the last year, as Father Christmas brought me not just a new Paramo Velez Adventure Jacket but also a Fitbit.IMG_5707

Trying out the new jacket (it had rained earlier in the walk!)

The Velez is a replacement for my aged orange one which has given me many year’s good service. There’s actually nothing wrong with that orange one, but its purchase pre-dated both the ladies’ version and the fixed-hooded version; the hood has always annoyed me (trying to get those poppers done up with two or three pairs of gloves on is trying at best) and the size has always been rather on the baggy side (the unisex XS was generous in its sizing).

I wasn’t aware that I wanted a Fitbit (which is essentially a pedometer, but a bit cleverer than your average pedometer) until I received one, and it’s already started doing its job, as my walk on Boxing Day wouldn’t have occurred if I didn’t have a device about my person which was recording my every movement. Sitting in the chair the whole day long wasn’t going to give me a pleasing graph to look at come the end of the day, so I pulled myself out of my chair and off onto the local estate I took myself.

Incredibly, for a walk that I have repeated dozens upon dozens of times, this was only the third repetition this year. For many months of the year it’s a very nice walk but on this occasion it was hideous. Really, really, truly hideous.

There’s a reason that I don’t walk over there at this time of year and it’s because it turns into the worst mudfest ever seen. Somehow, in deciding to eschew the village streets and head across-country I had convinced myself that (in spite of the recent dampness) it wouldn’t be too bad. Just to clarify: it was awful.IMG_0450

I searched for an old photo of the really muddy bit of that route, but couldn’t find one. So here’s a random photo of the old orange jacket, taken 4 years ago on a walk that was more soggy than muddy.

Three quarters of the way around I was so fed up of slogging up to my ankles in mud that I took the opportunity to hop over a bit of fallen fence into a National Forest plantation, which gave me much better walking. The only problem was that when I got to the bottom of the slope I found that there wasn’t a way back out of the plantation. And so, with darkness falling, I found myself on the third edge of the rectangle still searching for a way out and wondering whether I was going to complete the full circuit back to the fallen fence. I located a way out eventually and it landed me in a field almost as muddy as the path from which I had escaped when I got into the plantation.

With just over 4 miles walked (I hate to think how slowly, given the conditions), back home I headed swearing that I won’t be heading out that way again until there has been a dry spell or unless there is a very hard frost.

(Incidentally, I didn’t wear the new jacket for this walk. I wore the old orange one. I’ve had a few incidents of muddy-pawed dogs jumping up me on this route and didn’t want to risk getting my shiny new jacket dirty on its very first outing.)


  1. Nice photo around the very blue jacket. I hadn’t come across Fitbit before.

    1. That photo was taken on the Precipice Walk. We had just been discussing that (with a forgiving air matress) you could have a nice pitch just about where I'm standing, with some splendid views :-)