Monday, January 13, 2014

That Time I Forced Daniel to Hike 9 Miles in the Mud

The other day, I was thinking about how badly I wanted to see some English countryside. The problem with going to the country is, you need a car. Most trains do not take you to remote areas, ya know? However, renting a car is incredibly pricey, plus Daniel does not like driving in the UK.
So, I was searching on TripAdvisor for an alternative, where this book was recommended to me:
It is seemingly perfect- 52 walks that are easily accessible by train and maximum of 2 hours outside of London. We picked hike number 23 for Sunday: a 9 mile trek between 3 different ancient villages in Kent.
We started off on the wrong foot: we missed our first train, due to tube closures, AND upon arriving to Kent, we realized that the hike would be a VERY muddy one. Our shoes were COVERED in mud, plus the bottom of our pants, and I pretty much lost track of how many close calls we had to creating a human landslide. But, it turned out to be a great experience. The air was crisp and cold, not a drop of rain, and even a bit of sun! We didn't see too many people, but the ones we did say always stopped to say hello. People are much friendlier outside of London!

Beginning of the hike, we started in the village of Otford, before making our way to the countryside

Daniel was in charge of the directions, and it is a wonder that we never got lost once- I count it all to Daniel being an Eagle Scout! Since we were going on trails, there were obviously no street names. Everything was measured in meters, something we are not quite as used to. Here are some excerpts from the book:

-"Curve right at the horse chestnut tree"
-"Go rightish along a wide grassy avenue"
-"Go left once you get to the slope"
-"Turn left once you get to a break in the trees"

So, we were always worried that we turned at the wrong tree or hiked up the wrong slope. But alas, we never got lost once! Just did a ton of second guessing!

The ground was icy! At least, while it was frozen, it made it less muddy!

All around the UK there are these intersecting public footpaths that are hundreds of years old (some originating from the Roman times), leading the way through woods, farms, and between villages. It is SO neat imagining old villagers hundreds of years ago taking these same trails!

An old farm we walked by

After every hundreds of meters or so, there are either kissing gates or these little step things. This was to ensure that cattle didn't get out, and unwanted animals didn't get in!


The middle village, Shoreham, that we were hiking to.

Shoreham was an adorable, 3 road village. You had your tea shop, your pub, your church, and that's about it! Not to mention the sound of the roaring creek, and cows!

Some "boisterous cows" we had to walk past to get to the next kissing gate. I call them boisterous, because our book warned of "boisterous cows along the trail". They just stared at us, but never moved a muscle!

We happened to walk past a castle, several hundreds of years old. I don't recall ever walking by anything like this when in Texas! Does a country club count?

Sheesh. Some more boisterous cattle

The village of Eynsford was larger than the other ones- had about 3 pubs instead of just one! I love how the creek just took over a street.

There were some castle ruins in the village- over a thousand years old! It was strange, because it was just in the middle of Eynsford- there were houses now built close to it. Could you imagine? "Yes, we are in the house next to the thousand-old castle- can't miss us!"

All in all, the hike was very rewarding but LONG. It took up our whole day, and 9 miles through the mud is harder than you'd think, plus a lot of it was uphill. We are both very sore today! I loved getting to see a different side of England, though, and I really hope I can convince Daniel to go on another country walk with me!

1 comment:

  1. I'm not much of a country girl but English country seems really pretty. I would love to do that!



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