Friday, 17th April 2015 (Day 5, week 15)
Aiming for 1000 miles in a year
300.1 miles walked so far – 14.9 miles this week
Bovinophobia – fear of cows has proved my downfall today! I know, I said I’d managed to overcome it mostly, but today it reared it’s ugly head and we had to beat a hasty retreat from a field of threatening bovines, putting an early end to a sadly uninspiring ramble around Constantine.
We were using a little book called Five Walks around Constantine which contains lots of local information but unfortunately its all mixed in with the directions, making it very difficult to follow, We spent more time trying to work out where we were, than looking at where we were going – at least Mr RR did; I just wasted time taking lots of photos!
So….another book bites the dust and we consoled ourselves with a cream tea – yum!
Read on anyway – I’ve been working on my flower and tree identification skills!
From Constantine almost to Maen Quarry and back (4.2 miles)
This walk (which was supposed to be circular) starts from the little village car park in Constantine and takes us through very pretty woodland alongside a river before crossing many tricky stiles and traversing much farmland.
On the way down into the wood, we passed what used to be the domestic water source for the village right up until 1960!
Bosahan Woods are carpeted with what will soon be bluebells, although 150 years ago there would have been no trees – only villagers working the copper ore with hammers, and leats feeding water to the mill wheels.
Copper and tin had been mined around the area since 1827 and at one time provided employment for 80 underground miners and 30 men and boys at the surface. The industry suffered its fair share of accidents and there are tragic stories of young workers being cut in half by falling boulders and the accidental pinning of one boy by a crank, attached to the axis of a wheel.
It would be peaceful now wandering beside the stream, except for the fact that a dog walker with seven or eight dogs has decided to travel the same route as us. Freely admitting that the little muzzled Jack Russell she has charge of is ‘evil’ she nevertheless allows him to roam free and he spends more than enough time yapping and nipping at our ankles accompanied by his – also muzzled but apparently very friendly – enormous hairy companion. The lady eventually decides to take an alternative route and we are left to enjoy the babbling brook.
I just want to say at this point, that I’ve nothing against dogs or their walkers. I quite like dogs. I just get a bit miffed when owners can’t control their pets and allow them to spoil things for others (and also when they hang their poo bags from branches – why??).
Anyway, moving on. We climb our first tricky stile – or pile of granite steps:
and enter a field with a few nonchalant sheep grazing in it. This is the easy bit. A little further on and we cross a farmyard and another stile and are confronted with the first cows of the day. There are only 2 adults – but they’re closely guarding two calves. That’s fine – we give them a wide berth and although one of the adults stands and watches us out of the field, it’s not a problem – I can cope.
Along a track and through another farm and here the real problems begin. The stile is particularly difficult to cross and has been topped by an iron bar – either to try and keep walkers out – or because the cows in this field are incredibly good climbers. I’m persuaded it’s the latter, and am reluctant to scramble into a field from which I will be unable to escape in a hurry! However, encouraged by Mr RR, I clamber over. Our route should take us alongside the hedge and through a gate halfway across the field. Unfortunately, the cows know this and are determined that we shall not proceed. I mean just look at this lot on guard at the gate:
We walk on a little way, whilst I try to ignore my pounding heart and sweaty palms. More cows appear through the gate, and slowly they all raise their tawny heads and stare at us. It’s too much for me, I can’t do it!
There’s nothing for it but to walk back the way we’ve come, quickly through the field with the calves and over the stile into the field with the sheep.
Now I don’t mind sheep – after all whoever heard of anyone being trampled to death by sheep. But these, despite being nonchalant a few minutes ago, suddenly turn and come towards us baaing and growling – yes growling! I walked very fast out of that field I can tell you!
I distract myself on the way back with trying to remember the names of the trees and flowers and Mr RR pushes his way through tangled branches and undergrowth to snap a stone circle.
I’ve tried to correctly identify the flowers and trees here – feel free to comment if you think I’ve got it wrong; no birds today you’ll notice – we didn’t see any apart from one blackbird.
Associated artwork for Ricketyrambler by Mr RR: