Friday, 27 July 2018

We nearly died!


The current On The Premises competition is for a short story involving a near death experience. You have from 1,000 to 5,000 words and until the end of August to come up with something. The prize is $220.

We didn't nearly die on our walk to the lighthouse on Scalpay because we followed the nice, clear path. The weather was good, we had proper walking boots and water. I think it was about two miles to get there.

Once we'd photographed the lighthouse, we noticed a signpost offering an alternative route back which was slightly longer; another half mile if I remember correctly. As we had plenty of time (it was midsummer so wouldn't be dark for hours) and it was a coastal path, that seemed like a good idea.

To start with there were way markers making navigation easy, but after a while these had either been knocked flat by sheep having a scratch, or were obscured by bracken. By the time we'd walked for a couple of hours, waded through a bog, and couldn't see the lighthouse, van, houses or people, we concluded I'd done my usual trick of following a sheep track rather than a footpath. Then that ran out...

As it was a small island, Gary pointed out that if we just followed the coast, we'd eventually come across where we'd parked, the causeway or, if we were even more lost than we realised, the lighthouse again. (That was sensible, but don't be too impressed – he'd followed me down that sheep track, despite me having considerable form in taking us down them and getting lost.)





It worked. We had some very steep climbs up, and rather alarming scrambles back down rock faces, more bog wading, stretches where the bracken was so tall and dense we couldn't see each other, and we became very, very hungry.

Actually we didn't nearly die on the walk back from the lighthouse on Scalpay. We eventually got ourselves back to the van, had tea and cake and were fine. The time we nearly died was on South Uist. You see there was this interesting looking track heading up into the mountain. There were sheep on it ...

17 comments:

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Sounds like an interesting walk, Patsy - great photos!

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

I'm not going to comment on how often I get lost.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patsy .. love the photos ... and how easy it can be to get lost on the mountains - thankfully I've never achieved that ... hope it won't happen too! Cheers Hilary

Rosemary Johnson said...

Oh no, Patsy. That happened to us in Cornwall. We were walking along a cliff path, up and down steep inclines, for 6 miles, with two children, to the next village, where, my husband said, there was bound to be a cafe. There wasn't, not even a tap to fill our water bottles... So we walked back the same way. (This was some time ago btw.)

Jen_bookworm said...

I like walking but I'm hooked in the heat so I've missed out on some walks this year. So envious of your travels and love reading about the places you've been 😀

Patsy said...

It was, Rosemary – mildly alarming at times then, but that just helps us remember it now, and the scenery and views are well worth remembering.

Patsy said...

Ah, like that is it? But getting lost helps us discover new things, doesn't it? As long as we get home again, I think that's a good thing.

Patsy said...

We're a lot more careful if the weather isn't good, or we don't have several spare hours of daylight, Hilary – even so, I might let Gary navigate on the next trip.

Patsy said...

I bet there's a cafe there by now, Rosemary!

Patsy said...

We're very lucky to be able to travel as much as we do, Jen.

Teresa Ashby said...

I bet you got plenty of story ideas from that, Patsy. There's nothing like wading through bogs and being hungry for stirring up creativity - all those emotions. Gorgeous photos!

Patsy said...

Bits of my adventures often do make it into stories, Teresa,

Carolb said...

Lovely photos Patsy.

Yes as a child one year on holiday my parents were told it was possible to walk the cliff path all the way to the beach (that we had to get a bus along the main road to).
It was a hot summer and everything was overgrown and we were forcing our way through bushes and brambles as we went downhill but no obvious path in sight. We eventually got down to a concrete walkway by the sea, but we did think we were going to be lost forever until that walkway came into view.
At least there were no bogs to go through!

Anonymous said...

Been lost quite a few times, Patsy. Lots of scary jaunts. The scariest of all though was when we were staying in a cottage in Cornwall, where we'd veered of the cliff path to some kind of rock shelf that eventually led nowhere. It was too narrow to turn around so the only way to go was up, scrambling on the rocks and holding onto branches. I was already terrified when a voice in my head reminded me that a fortune teller once told me I'd end my days near a small fishing village. I don't thing I've ever shown such rock climbing expertise before or since!!!

Patsy said...

I bet you remember it better than you would have done had you gone by bus, Carol.

Patsy said...

One thing I've never had to contend with is voices in my head predicting my demise! I can imagine that would be somewhat off-putting.

liz young said...

So glad you survived!