This is retreat week. Jayber has now joined me so technically I should be very far removed from the internet. And I would be, except we are currently holed up in a pub, the only wifi spot in the village. We’ve come here most evenings for a wee early evening drink but tonight the alcohol is medicinal, the need to write an attempt to find the funny side of a day that went pretty badly wrong….
Jayber felt the need for a bracing walk this afternoon. He suggested a far flung mountain, I refused to spend that long in the car so we settled for Inch island wildlife reserve, a fairly tame there-and-back-again which looked pretty. And it was. Here we are:
Happy. Fun times.
Then we decided, why do linear? Boring. I’m sure we can make it a loop, see there on the crappy tourist office map? That looks like we could go right round, doesn’t it? So off we went and it was fun going off piste. Let’s have an adventure, we thought.
Then there was a bit of mud. No problem, sure I’ve wellies on. Then the mud became more bog-like which historically I have not done so well with (last visit to Donegal had me submerged to mid-thigh in bog, Juju in my arms). Jayber, ever the optimist, ‘We’ll be grand…..’. When the bog became treacherous (wellies disappearing fast) we crawled under barbed wire, trespassed over some poor farmer’s field, then over some more barbed wire to a….road! Hooray! Nope, a track with an 8ft spiked gate at the end. Over the gate (dear lord), and then phew, map says it shouldn’t be too much further.
Never ever will I set off with a tourist office map again, it’s Ordinance Survey all the way next time. Jayber kept saying, ‘We’ll be back at the car in 10 minutes…..it’s just over there…….this next bend’. Forty minutes later, no road appeared. Even then I was ok until it got dark and the only thing between us and our car was a mile long road. This road had no footpath, no verge, just hedges and heavy traffic. And here we were, these two numpties, head-to-toe dark clothes literally clinging to the hedges as the traffic whooshed by, hooting at the two idiots who had a death wish. Honestly, it was completely terrifying. We knew the traffic couldn’t see us until it was on us and there was just nowhere else to go.
Just when the panic started to become overwhelming, and I was fairly sure at least one of us would die, a lorry driver stopped to give us abuse. He rolled down his window, ‘What the f…..?’, saw the terror on my face and just said, ‘Get in!’. I couldn’t have cared less if he was a serial killer, he was still a better bet than The Road of Death. We got a 5 minute tongue lashing about how we picked the worst road to walk on and how he had nearly killed us himself. All dished out with a generous dose of ‘Jaysus, Mary and Joseph’ for good measure.He was our angel of mercy and we told him so as we shakily climbed out of his cab, sure he would later be telling his wife about the two Nordie twits he saved from certain death.
There wasn’t much chat on the drive back to our cottage. Just general agreement that that was officially The Worst Walk Ever, that we would only do looped, mapped, bog-free walks from now on and we would be driving straight to the pub to recover ourselves.