Yesterday I finished up with our arrival on the ridge overlooking Loch na Leighe. This was where the walk really got a little bit trickier.
I think that we made a little bit of a mistake at this point in our route, as
we followed the path round the hill when I think she should have gone down
towards the Loch. When we came round the corner we found an electric fence which
we had to duck under (we weren't sure if it was on or not, but we weren't taking
any chances). Then we ended up on the wrong side of a little river. There were a
couple of grassy patches in the middle and we managed to make our way across
(with a little bit of team work).
At this point the track crosses the land belonging to Plan Farm (the farm
that I did my stint on during lambing season) and I suspect that it's been
rerouted slightly. We were following the green marker posts and wound up walking
along the edge of a field of sheep before coming up against another electric
fence with a marker on the far side of it, and this fence definitely seemed to
be on. Again we ducked under, walked up the track and found a gate with a marker
pointing through it.
We were concerned about running into a field of cows because we'd seen a
couple of fields of them at this point and we weren't sure if our current route
was going to take us into one of them, so we were rather surprised to turn a
corner and discover three pigs. We knew that the cows might have come towards us
(one of the group had a run in with some cows on a previous walk) but none of us
were familiar with pigs. We weren't too sure what to make of it when two of the
pigs came towards us, but they soon went back to their food and we headed on
along the track.
Although there didn't seem to be any cows in the field, they had obviously
been there recently. The track was very muddy with cowish deposits left here and
there. I started picking my way through trying to stand on the most solid bits
of mud and occasionally sinking into it if I didn't move quick enough. Some of
the others tried finding a drier route which led them into some gorse
And so I come to the part of the work which was my least favourite part of
the journey. I ended up pushing my along the edge of the drier land where the
gorse bushes were; it was slow going as I tried to avoid sinking into the mud or
slipping. And that's where it all when horribly wrong.
I put my left foot onto what I thought was solid ground, except it wasn't and
my foot started sinking. I tried to find a stable footing with my right and
failed. In a split second I realised I was going down. I remember thinking that
if I fell to the left I would land in the mud but to my right were the gorse
bushes. And before I could decide either way my left foot slipped more and I
went forward, landing between a pair of gorse bushes with my right hand in
And it hurt!
For a second I nearly cried, especially when I pulled myself to my feet
(finally finding a patch of solid ground to set my feet on) and discovered a
massive thorn sticking out my finger. I pulled it out which promptly started my
finger bleeding and had to fumble in my pocked for a nearly clean tissue, while
everyone was asking me if I was alright. I wasn't really, my arm and my hand
hurt and my pride was rather bruised too, but I managed to follow them across
the muddy track to the wall which we all struggled over to get onto proper dry
land so I could take in my injuries.
My left walking boot was completely caked in mud, as was my left leg almost
to the knee, as well as the knee of my right leg. It was about this point that
we all decided not to follow the planned route because we didn't know what the
track would be like the rest of the way, so instead settled on walking back
along the road; a longer walk but one which would probably be a lot safer.
We walked round St. Blane's Chapel and down the hill, where I located another
thorn in my hand which I didn't have the guts to remove myself so got one of the
girls to do it for me and pinched a plaster from someone else. About this time I
realised that I had a whole host of thorns still in my hand; it took me best
part of a week to get the rest of them out.
The moral of this story is, of course, if there's a choice between falling
into mud or into a gorse bush, aim for the mud every time. It might be messy and
smelly but it'll be less painful than the thorn bush!
The walk back up the road to the car was long but nice. We admired the sheep
in the fields, chatted (I think I've helped sell another couple of Fitbits) and
enjoyed the scenery. We spotted some buzzards and had a few spotty little
snowflakes fall on us as well. We took a brief break at the standing stones and
it wasn't long after that before we were back at Kingarth.
Despite the slightly scary walk along the rocks and the very painful fall in
the gorse bushes, I really enjoyed the walk. It was great fun getting out and
about on a part of the island that I don't often go to. I'm not sure it's a walk
I'm going to repeat in the immediate future, but I think I will have another go
at it in the summer when the land's hopefully dried out a little more.
It was definitely good for my Fitbit; I hit over 24,000 steps for the day,
and I earned my Ferris Wheel badge (for climbing over 75 flights in one