Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The terrible shame of getting lost.

Just taking photos of the view...
Recently I was enjoying a rather long low level solo hike around Millom - trust me, it's a lovely spot with some cracking views - when I arrived at a stile which was about 50 metres down the road from where it should have been.  I double checked my map and surveyed the area.  It looked as if the path used to run between some farm buildings but had since been diverted to go around them instead.  I was 99% sure of this fact until I spotted the farmer walking across the field looking in my direction, at which point I became massively self conscious and took a number of fake photos of the view until he was safely out of sight.

Is it a British thing?  Or perhaps it's just me.  If I'm out with Steve and we're having a difference of opinion about the route we hush right up if someone else comes along - especially if they're striding confidently in a "I come this way every day" kind of way.  We also tend to duck and scurry around farmhouses where we fear our confusion over the route may leave us open to ridicule, even though we know the path passes directly through the farm and they just haven't bothered to label it.  This usually results in us hiding behind a wall while we squint at our map ever more closely to figure out whether the path goes behind the second or third building from the right.

Sheep. Watching and silently judging...
I'm not averse to asking directions if I'm properly lost, but if I'm just a bit unsure there's a nagging worry at the back of my head that the other person will mock my woeful map reading abilities - I've seen folks on social media and they can be harsh.  What if they knew me?  The shame of a "I met that Cumbrian Rambler woman the other day and she didn't have a flipping clue where she was" comment.  We all make mistakes and we all get lost sometimes, that's just life, but why do we feel embarrassed about it?  (Or maybe it is just me?)

For the same reason I always get irked at "No Turning" signs on driveways - and I say this as someone who's driveway is a very popular turning spot.  I wonder if the owners of such places have never been lost and needed to turn around?  I can understand that they don't want their driveway blocked or damaged, but why not allow people to turn around and get back on the right route? Seems a bit rude to me.

Found by mistake
Sometimes there's a joy in getting lost - not in an irresponsible "help I'm stuck on a mountain and I've no idea what it's called as I haven't even brought a map with me" kind of a way - but in a "ooohhh - I thought we were on that path but we're not we're on this one and isn't that a lovely view?" kind of a way.  I've found some lovely places when I've got a little bit lost - hidden gardens behind churches in London, interesting sculptures climbing the walls in Manchester and, on this walk, a rather lovely bench with fantastic views down over Millom and out towards Barrow.

Excellent surprise bench!
I'm sure I'm not the only person who has discovered something new by getting a little bit lost so post your stories below and tell me all about it.  And if you happen to see me out and about looking a little bit bemused just give me a wide berth - I'm sure I'll get there in the end, I usually do.  😀

One place you can always get lost safely is in a good book!  (You see what I did there?)  Click the pic to find out more about our books & order yours.  😀

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