1. Went for a nice 6-mile ramble with a women’s walking group, in some old forestry land in the Welsh Valleys. Happy rambling of both varieties commenced, as we blithely followed no one in particular down a long series of identical logging tracks…
2. J caught up with us by chance, and pointed out that we had missed our turning. We consulted our three maps, mocked ourselves, and planned a new route along a long ridge.
3. Along the ridge there had been extensive logging to try to check the spread of a sporulating fungus (ooh!) called Phytopthera ramorum, which has been killing off the larch trees in Wales. This improved the view, but also wiped out our path markers and, it turned out, eliminated our planned back to the cars.
4. By 4pm we were still going in the wrong direction and sporting a knee injury, a dodgy cerebellum and a decided lack of foresight on the torches/overnight gear/sufficient chocolate front. Mercifully, all 15 of us managed to agree on a sensible plan. We retraced to the short, steep, closed path, scrabbled down to the valley like 15 mountain turtles, and made it back to the car park 40 whole minutes before they shut the gates. Whew.