Thursday, 23 June 2016

#30DaysWild day 23: Very lost, in the rain, in a deep, dark wood

I checked the weather forecast this morning and was pleased to see the rain was due to stop, so I decided to take the dog for a walk around Coombe Hill. The plan was to walk through the woods, then back along Bacombe Hill (an area of precious chalk grassland recently taken over by BBOWT), ending up at the monument on the top of Coombe Hill for some beautiful views of the Chilterns.
I'm not sure if it was the rain that put me off, but I seemed to go wrong from the very start and took a path I was not at all familiar with. I ended up going deeper and deeper into the wood and the rain got heavier and heavier and the mud gut thicker and thicker. We were well and truly lost and soaked to the skin!

At one point I ended up back at a stile that I'd already passed and had that sinking feeling you get when you realise you've been walking in circles. Not only that, but we approached the stile from the opposite direction to the one I would have expected.

Now I could get my bearings though and use the stile as a reference point, retracing my steps back through the wood. Somehow I managed to go wrong again though! I was starting to get a bit worried as I couldn't work out where Bacombe Hill had gone. It's a large chalk grassland slope that should have been on my right hand side. Not so easy to miss, but it just wasn't there.

I spotted some lovely foxgloves in a clearing in the woods, including a pure white one, and a tiny colony of miniature fungi on a log.

Completely white foxglove

I ploughed on, convinced I was going in the right direction, until I spotted a familiar sign on my left hand side...

... Somehow I'd found Coombe Hill, but I was walking from completely the other direction to where I thought I was. In fact if I carried on the way I was going I would have got to Bacombe Hill, but on my left hand side. It had been quite an adventure, but I was relieved to finally know where I was. Shame I have absolutely no sense of direction and had been completely lost!

I walked out to the monument to take a look at the views. It's one of the highest points in the Chilterns and you can get fantastic views of the hills and out across the Vale of Aylesbury. The rain had settled in on the hills though and the only view today was the gloom.

Not much of a view today
I'll have to save Bacombe Hill for another day, perhaps when it's not raining!

Feeling a bit of a drip for getting so lost!

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