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]

Monday, 19 January 2015

Why Is The Sun Ahead Of Us?

In response to my post about The Wrong Hill, a few people responded with stories of their own about heading off on a walk in completely the wrong direction. Whilst I’d like to think that if we had set off for the wrong hill, we would have headed in the right direction (i.e. we would have navigated to it flawlessly, I’d just identified the wrong hill), the stories brought to mind our best navigational mishap to date:

It occurred whilst we were on our way from Land’s End to John o’Groats, and we were approaching Hough in Cheshire. Passing through some fields, I said “At the end of this field we’ll hit a road and we need to turn right.”

As we hit the road, our need to turn the map over was hampered by a sudden sharp shower. No great problem: we crossed the road, climbed a stile and hid under a tree for the necessary map-faff.

With the map now correctly folded, we returned to the road and duly followed the directions I had given from the opposite side: we turned right and thus were heading 180 degrees in the wrong direction.

Within a couple of minutes, having examined the map quite carefully, I said to Mick “How far away do you reckon that church is, over there?”. The reason for my question is that, no matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t find on the map a church I could see to my right. Even then, alarm bells didn’t ring and as we continued onwards we discussed possible reasons why we couldn’t see the church on the map.

It took another ten minutes before Mick stopped in his tracks and asked why the sun was in our eyes. Sun in our eyes … church not on the map … Doh! Suddenly we realised our error – and the fact that the only thing we could do to put it right was to back-track.

Thank goodness it was a sunny day, or goodness knows how far we would have gone before we noticed!

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