Thursday 19 May 2016. I follow Stuart Greig on Twitter (@LoneWalkerUK) and it was in one of his blog post (lonewalker.net) in May 2013, when he was walking the Southern Uplands Way, that he wrote about using carrier bags as “emergency gaiters” to help him get across the boggier sections of this trail. The idea struck a chord with me as I have often found myself dithering on the banks of small streams wondering how I can get across without getting my feet wet. I decided to adapt his idea and, since reading his blog, I’ve had a few charity collection bags in my rucksack to use as “emergency waders”. After 3 years of carrying these charity bags, today was the day when I finally got to put them to the test. I hadn’t fully read the instructions for today’s walk but discovered about half way around that I would have to make two crossings of a small stream, about 20ft wide. Too wide to jump; no stepping stones and about a foot deep. For the first crossing I used a single bag on each foot but the small holes (to stop children suffocating) let some water in. For the second crossing I adopted a double bag solution which worked better but there was still some water ingress. This was certainly better than letting the water overflow the top of my boots or removing them and going across barefoot. For the future I think that I’ll use some large bin bags with draw cords to secure them at about knee level.
Enough of the dramas of river crossings and back to today’s walk which was 7.3 miles with 1,000ft of ascent. I get a lot of my routes from Walkingworld.com and they are generally okay but I have to say that this wasn’t one of them. I should have known when I started at the top of a hill that there would be a climb to finish with and so it proved with almost half of the total ascent being in the last mile. The one highlight of the walk came after a couple of miles with a visit to the ruins of Edlingham Castle where I stopped for coffee. The remainder of the walk was fairly boring being through farmland; something that I could do equally well at home.