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]

Sunday, 4 September 2016

ATV Tracks

I often refer to ATV tracks in my blog posts and it's occurred to me that not everyone (like my sister) will have a ready picture in their mind as to what I am referring.

When I mention just a 'track' I usually mean an engineered track (usually loose surfaced, but occasionally grass or tarmac). When I mention an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) track I mean that there are a couple of lines through the vegetation where tyres have gone. Like this:

They vary from light use tracks that can be difficult to follow, to well established ones which make the going much easier (unless they go through wet terrain, in which case they tend to become even more waterlogged than the surrounding land). Even where tyres have only rolled once or twice, if the surroundings are tussocky, the flattening that has occurred is surprisingly helpful. What is less helpful is that people with engines don't necessarily take the most direct line, and as these tracks aren't shown on the map, I won't know where they go. Thus, I often abandon a track which seems to be heading off the wrong way, only to pick it back up later and, looking back, find that it just took an indirect route.


  1. I am sure that is useful for readers who don't venture into the wilds. I know I have a number of readers from USA and Australia and I do try to explain such things when I remember, and also, after a comment from Big Brother, I now try to avoid acronyms and abbreviations, and also include photos which illustrate the lie of the land in specialised terrain, especially limestone country and dry stone walls.

    The increased use of quad bikes has created many more of those "going nowhere" tracks. As you have said before, on these smaller hills you might as well just beeline for the summit and arrive there before others who are still pondering and searching for paths.

    1. And yet, even when beelining for the summit, I still find my mind constantly going over the question of "Is there a better way of doing this?"