Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Hiking Anecdote: "Then Descend"

Thanks in part to my less-than-ideal navigational skills, I'm quite keen on walking routes from websites like Happy Hiker, Walk Lakes, Walking Britain, etc. And on the whole they've served me well - indeed this one from Happy Hiker is now my go-to for when I'm going on my own or taking newbies (easy to follow, not a massive chance of getting lost, but still lots of fun).

But now my faith in these is being tested thanks to one walking route in particular from a site that I shall not name...

«*ahem*
Now I will give credit where it's due: the guide was very clear and very specific throughout the ascent. It wasn't the easiest of routes to get our heads round direction-wise (if the Yeti hadn't corrected me on five or six occasions, we'd probably still be there). So in that respect, it was really good.

«Plus it led us to this view, which was ace.

The problems started when we were ready to descend.

Admittedly the guide wasn't as vague as the title of this post suggests, but it could have been a little more helpful - while the guide on how to get to the top of the hill was 240 words long, the descent guide was a whopping 85. None of which mentioned painfully climbing down this:

«

And where it did attempt specificity, it did things like mentioning certain stiles (which led to nowhere) rather than the ones actually needed.

And the bit that got us a most miffed: the ascent guide gives a decent bit of warning to areas that are steep, slippery and covered in scree. But that stuff was a cakewalk compared to the descent path the guide led us to... which it simply said was "steep".

«Um. There's a descent path in there somewhere...
Steep was an understatement. A fall each (and we never normally fall) and a pretty serious knee injury later, we were back on level ground, walking/hopping back to the car.

It's not put me off using guides in the future entirely, but suffice to say: the Yeti would probably let me navigate before he'd let us use a route from that website again.


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