Having parked at Hartingdon in the car park at a shop where Helen had just bought some pots, we were stopped in our tracks by a young woman who wanted to know how far we were walking. This threw both of us a bit, mainly because the tone of her voice suggested that she wanted to come along with us. Seconds later her boyfriend came out of the public convenience there and they disappeared in another direction - strange !
Anyway off we set across some lovely Spring rolling fields, before eventually picking up a small stream which the dogs could dip in and out of. Despite scoffing my cob in the car park, I was still anxious for some liquid refreshment, and so we stopped not long after for coffee and cake. Well this was where the true value of my evil employer’s freebie thermos coffee mug was revealed (i.e. the coffee was nearly stone cold). The good thing though, is now that I know they were merely dumping a load of rubbish on their insubordinates that they couldn’t get rid of elsewhere, the natural order in the universe has been restored, and I feel much more secure in my job again.
Being a bit of a thicko, I always thought Dale was shorthand for rolling fields. However Helen explained that it is another name for a valley, and thus our walk was somewhat circular in nature around said valleys. Or for those of you who are itching to rush to your maps right now, we circumnavigated: Beresford Dale, Wolfscote Dale, and Biggin (hope I’ve spelt that right) Dale.
There was quite a few people about in this picturesque setting, (unsurprising given it was a Saturday), as well as a fair smattering of dogs. One couple who always seemed just a little bit ahead of us, also had a black Labrador called Cooper (probably called Mini Cooper when he was a puppy), whom Molly and Luther were busy swapping doggie notes with. Luther for his part was having a good day, after Helen had fretted on whether he would be up for another walk following his previous day’s exertions. Molly was her usual manic self. Having previously been all pally with Cooper, when we eventually got round them, and then ourselves stopped for some refreshments, she decided to start growling at him when they caught us up again.
Eventually we left the Dales and walked alongside (on our way back to Hartingdon) a number of enclosed fields full of sheep, and the first of this year’s new lambs (see I said it was Spring). One brief wrong left turn, and then some slight confusion over which town the church with the green top belonged to, and that was the last we saw of Cooper.
We then found ourselves being helped through a gate by a couple, literally moments before two quad bikes could have mowed us all down. Thus we carried on behind them, with behind being the approprite word here. Basically because the female half of said couple, had probably the fattest behind either of us had ever seen on another walker. One of us found ourselves appalled by what we were seeing, whilst the other one of us found ourselves hypnotised (but I am not saying which one of us was which). Eventually the spell was broken, when we broke off to allow Luther a drink from a trough that seemed to be just lying about.
Back in Hartingdon town centre we found ourselves negotiating a mobile female hen party, that was spilling out of a local pub. Skirting round them I headed for the local duck pond with Luther and Molly, whilst Helen diverted off to get us an ice cream. There we stared at a a shop that sells cheese, for which Hartingdon is famous for – apparently.