And what a mixed, strange but beautiful walk it was! It started badly! Now there is no such thing as a bad walk, but there are bad footpaths, and the first three miles were the worst of paths. Well ‘paths’ is stretching it because there weren’t any to speak of – that lovely clear pink dashed line on the OS map ore no resemblance to the reality. Thick mud (despite the lack of rain they keep talking about), bogs, no visible paths and no visible waymarks! Not a good start!
But after four miles I finally reached a good, clear and well signposted path – and for the next 13 miles it was a fantastic walk. Beautiful valleys, lovely hamlets, a smattering of typical Dorset quirkiness, great hilltops (including an Iron Age hill fort, amazing views – and a gorgeous Spring day to boot!
Oh yes, and interesting people too. I got talking to a guy as the light was fading at the end of the day and he said to me, ‘Not much about tonight’. By the way he was dressed I could see he was a country man so I assumed that he was a bird watcher or a conservationist so I asked him what he was looking for and he replied’ ‘Deer – I cull them’! He had apparently spent 30 years driving round the countryside with three rifles shooting deer, most of which it seems end up in Belgium. I guess the occupation ‘self employed deer culler’ is a bit different! To do it, he buys the shooting rights from various landowners. Now I am totally against shooting animals for sport, but they do apparently need culling or we would be over run with them because they have no natural predators, and I guess it is better for that to be done by a professional who has been shooting all his life. I’m trying to convince myself! It does bring a question to my mind, I wonder if he is allowed to shoot in a field with a public footpath going through it? Scary thought!
One interesting thing he said fits in very much with my earlier blog entries – he said that he spent his time off road in some unknown valleys and that it amazed him that these beautiful places ‘had been around for a thousand years and yet probably only 1,000 people had ever seen them because there is no road’. That’s why I love walking, it takes you to places I’d never see otherwise! The other thing he said is that there were wild boar in the woods. Now I’ve been walking all my life and I’ve yet to see a wild boar – one day hopefully!
As often happens, I ended up walking in the dark – when the above shot was taken, I still had several miles to walk (incidentally, I had no tripod so to get the sunset picture I had to put the camera on the ground!). Just before the shot was taken, I had a strange experience. I have written before about being attacked by cows – well this evening I was attacked by………sheep! Never seen anything like it before as normally they run a mile but this evening the whole field of sheep ran at me – bizarre! They didn’t do anything except bleat – I think they either didn’t like me invading their space at night or more likely they thought I was going to feed them.
Ah, the strange things that happen on a Dorset walk!
Thanks for stopping by and reading the ramblings of The Dorset Rambler!
The Dorset Rambler