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Dorset: Day 3 – 25.05.2020……..Walking the path to somewhere!

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Having watched me pack my rucksack Milly was getting decidedly skittish and proceeded to have a funny half hour, running amok and trying to hide herself behind the seethrough curtains in my bedroom. I suppose the thought of being stuffed into her cat box and driven to the cattery was having an adverse affect on her mental wellbeing but I told her quite clearly that she had nothing to worry about. This was a staycation and I was going nowhere, except for day trips out.

During our planning session the night before, Maice and I arranged to start our walk at 11.00am thereby giving us time to have breakfast and do our yoga and keep fit workouts, a tradition we always follow on holiday and one which we will continue during our staycation. So physical activities carried out I got myself ready, said goodbye to Milly and set off in the car.

Thinking the roads would be busy with people travelling down to Weymouth beach I thought I’d give myself plenty of time to get to Maices house and in so doing arrived just ten minutes later at 10.30am, the roads, to my surprise, were surprisingly quiet. Although Maice was ready and waiting it took us another fifteen minutes before we actually got going, faffing around as we usually do, taking the obligatory selfie using my new selfie-stick-come-tripod, purchased so we could take some socially distanced photos, which I have to say took some getting used to, and when said selfies were taken we finally set off on our walk to somewhere, Maice leading the way as she knew where she was going……supposedly!

We walked through a lovely part of Upwey before coming into the countryside, walking along a dirt track, passing two footpath signs as we went, Maice still leading the way, past the field of very inquisitive bullocks who all came to say hello, until we arrived at a gate at the end of the track. ‘This is as far as I’ve been along here’ she said!. It’s no wonder she hasn’t got any further due to a) there were no footpath signs or markings to say we were actually on a footpath b) there’s no footpath stile c) the gate was locked and d) there’s an electric fence the other side of the gate, which to me quite categorically means No Access! We stood and looked at each other contemplating our next move. Rerouping next to the bullocks who’d suddenly appeared in the field opposite we had a little think. We’d have to retrace our steps and turn right at the signpost that said ‘footpath’. Couldn’t be clearer than that really. Never mind, we thought of it as a warm up, like you do before exercising and also, just think of all those extra steps we’ve clocked up!

We found the footpath sign just beyond the field where the sheep with the pink ears were grazing and they too, like the bullocks, stood and stared at us as we walked past. Maybe its our hats they’ve taken a liking too, and we followed the path up a steep hill, not quite knowing where we’d end up but it would be somewhere, which of course, is all part of the adventure. The view at the top was well worth the strain on the old glutes, for a kaleidoscope of green fields opened out before us, cascading down to the sea at Weymouth exposing the seven cruise boats that had taken up residency in the bay. It was sunny, the sky was blue, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was hot…….we couldn’t wish for a better day. We carried on along the path in the searing heat, admiring the view and wondering where we’d end up. The footpath sign didn’t tell us so it seems we’re going to nowhere, but I’m sure we’ll end up somewhere, eventually. Up and over the stiles we went, across the open fields, walking in the heat of the day to somewhere. We stopped for a regroup on the ridge of a hill to try and get our bearings. So, if Weymouth and Portland are over there, Upwey is back there, it would seem logical that over there in the direction the path is taking us could well be the village of Portesham? Maice had actually packed the very large map in her rucksack but we didn’t even contemplate looking at it as a) neither of us are any good at map reading b) we probably wouldn’t be able to pinpoint our position and c) the writing is so small we wouldn’t be able to decipher the words. So we decided to carry on walking by instinct with the view that we’d end up somewhere we knew.

We were hoping to see some wildlife along the way but the only thing we saw was a pheasant running through a field and an unidentifed sound of something in the bushes which we obviously disturbed, scaring both it and Maice who shrieked at the top of her voice and jumped about a mile in the air. We’ve no idea what we disturbed but it certainly put the wind up Maice.

We stopped for another regroup at the signpost that said Upwey, at least it was somewhere we knew, and followed the very steep hill to the top. Another spectacular view awaited us which was the cue for us to stop and have a picnic. We ‘set the table’ so to speak, laid out our Greek fayre of vine leaves and spinach pies and sat down to enjoy an al-fresco lunch looking out over Weymouth bay. It was lovely.

We must have spent a good forty five minutes in our lovely picnic spot, taking the opportunity to grab half an hour to lie down and sunbathe. It was all very quiet and serene, listening to the birds singing and the hum-drum of the many by-planes that flew overhead. We said hello to three sets of walkers and their dogs before deciding to pack up and continue on our walk. Heading towards the next stile we noticed that the last couple to pass by were still on this side of the field. Seems they were a bit scared of the cows in the next field who had congregated around the stile making it impossible to climb over. Worry not, here’s M&A to the rescue!. ‘These cows, they’re just curious’, we said to each other (I’m sure we said something similar on our Saturday walk!) as we went up and over the stile. The fact that they didn’t budge an inch when we made it over the stile meant a few ‘YMCA and Reach for the Sky’ moves with the hands was required to try and move them back, which they did…….by a couple of inches. I must say, it was all very cosy, all us ‘ladies’ together but we were still hemmed in so Maice, in her infinite wisdom then started making farmer type guttaral noises which caused them to move back a few inches more, with one, unbeknownst to Maice following her with it’s tongue out, licking the back of her rucksack. She shrieked in surprise and ran off when she turned round and realised what was happening, spoiling the photo I was trying to take to capture the moment. Bless them, the cows were lovely and have such an inquisitive nature so we said our goodbyes to them and continued through the cowpats towards the next stile. We were doing well, walking through field after field until we found we couldn’t get out. Had we missed something we wondered as we walked round the field looking for an escape route. We had to retrace our steps through two fields before we realised we’d missed a stile earlier on, so back en-route we made it over the stile and into the woods.

It was lovely here and so cool after being out in the sun for so long. So many trees all desperate for a hug, so of course we obliged and hugged a few on the way through. We had an idea when we saw two trees either side of the path. Let’s hug a tree at the same time and capture it on film, using my new selfie-stick-come-tripod. We set the phone up on the tripod, and got in position, Maice having to set the timer as I didn’t have my glasses on. She raced back to her tree and we smiled, and smiled, holding onto our stupid grins as we waited for the click. Was it working? We then realised we’d probably still have to hold the selfie stick to press the button, so we scotched that idea and took some hand held selfies instead! Ah well, it was worth a try.

Continuing along the path we met a lovely man and his grumpy dog and stopped for a chat. Apparently he lives the other side of the path in one of the houses by the church and walks through the woods every day. Oh, and we’re in Upwey, not far from the Wishing Well café so our walk to somewhere turned out to be a circular tour, clocking up well over 16,000 steps. Well done us!

We walked through the village and back to Maices house where I picked up the car, we said our goodbyes and looked forward to tomorrows walk. It’s going to an action packed day tomorrow as I’ve got to fit in my yoga, keep fit, and a shopping trip to Waitrose for Jane and Steve first thing in the morning before embarking on our cross country walk from Dorchester to Weymouth. We’ve got instructions this time so hopefully it‘ll be plain sailing, or should I say walking all the way.

See you tomorrow…….....

M&A xx

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