I thought it was time to have another look back some of our very early walking attempts and try and bring them up to date but it’s ok, I won’t be going through each and every one, although each one has something noteworthy about it, at least in my mind. So, as well as slow walking, I’ve added walking down memory lane to the mix.
Since buying the house, we’d managed a few (very) short walks out of the village and decided that it would be great to venture further afield, to try and walk to some of the places we’d only visited by looking at them from afar but not that far. We bought an excellent walking book, spookily called “Walk the Axarquia,” which contained many walks, all of them very appealing but quickly reduced down by looking at our criteria:-
- Distance 10Km maximum (this was a bold choice) Although we said 10, we actively looked for less.
- Effort/exertion rating (ideally 0 but unfortunately, the lowest started at 1)
I should add, that at the time, being beginners to walking in Spain and only doing this on short holidays, we were not the fittest couple to have set out with wild abandon. (Not much has changed but we’re getting there)
So, now left with only three walks in the book, we opted for a coastal walk, with a rating of 1 and a distance of 5km. I’d bought a GPS (Garmin Etrex 20) to assist in the navigation, as the book, although fairly detailed, does leave some margin for error, depending on how you interpret the directions. We found this out quite early, when just looking through the book, after buying it, I showed Mrs S a section of a walk and she didn’t see it the same way as me, so an independent source was needed, just in case.
It was a lovely day as we drove to the coast, catching site of the lovely blue sea, as the road twisted and turned down. Arriving at the beach, we stopped in a deserted car park, near to a restaurant, which looked closed. It was December, so not surprising really. I took the rucksack from the car, made sure the GPS was working and off we went. The very nice man, who wrote the book gave us an estimated time of 2 hours and off we set, up a gentle slope and towards the sea. A nice clear path, took us up and west alongside the coast, with the blue sea and the sun on our bodies, it was turning into a really good walk. It was all going swimmingly (not literally) until we reached about halfway on the circular route, when we encountered, which for us was something like the Eiger. Turning inland from the coast, we began to walk/climb up a concrete road/track. It really was quite steep and a complete change from the nice meandering track we’d been on a few minutes before. It was along this road that Mrs Slow took what was to be the first of many “view breaks” and I can’t say I wasn’t pleased at this development. And so we stood, at forty five degrees, looking out to sea, with the sun reflecting across it and taking in as much fresh air as we could, before the continued slog onwards and upwards.
Another first was soon to follow, after we were walking again, I’d been chattering away to Mrs S for what seemed an age but with no reply and so, I asked if she was “Ok?” The reply was a rather breathless “Can’t talk, walking” and at the next view break, Mrs Slow managed to tell me that she was concentrating so hard on survival, that all else was blocked out. She did point out that in her humble opinion, the walk was certainly not a 1 on the exertion rating. Her assessment was quite a bit higher than the maximum 5 rating, that some walks got. As we were past the point of no return, we slogged on until reaching a wooded area, with two tracks going off in opposite directions. Mrs Slow took the opportunity to point out her score for the exertion rating of the walk again. The GPS decided it didn’t want to miss out on a bit of excitement and decided to take us to the left for about 30 metres, before saying we should be going the other way and after turning back, it decided it liked the first way better. (We found out later that the particular model GPS we had, did not have a 3 way directional compass and because our walking speed barely registered, this is what caused it’s indecisiveness). Eventually, the GPS sorted itself out and we crested the hill to a splendid view of the sun beginning to set, spreading it’s glow right across the sea. We had to put a spurt on, as we still weren’t that close to the end of the walk but there wasn’t that much in the tank for yomping, so we just put one foot in front of the other and began the descent back to the start. (I think it was at this point that wild abandon left us but it may have been before that when the GPS became indecisive.)
The light became less and less but the good news was that Mrs S could speak and reminded me on more than one occasion that, in her opinion this walk was definitely not a 1. I began wondering if we might finish the walk by the light of our mobile phones. After all, we’d previously viewed a property by mobile illumination (see How did we end up in Spain), so this couldn’t be that bad could it? Finally, we made it back to the start, three and a quarter hours after setting out on a beautiful December day. It was dark as we began the drive back to Sedella and we talked about a few things to add our novice walking kit.
Once home, the walking book was quickly amended (by Mrs S) to an exertion rating of 5 and the words “NOT LEVEL 1” above the title. To be fair, the person who wrote the guide does say that all times are for the walking part only and do not include stops for what we would call a “view break,” any other non-walking stops or just plain slowness.
Getting back to the UK, a torch was ordered and although they weren’t needed at the time, hats. I had a bit of a moment when ordering mine and now own a hat with a brim that makes a sombrero look small and makes me look like a tack, when wearing it but hey ho, it does the job and keeps the sun from my scalp, which is rapidly growing through my hair.
All Images © 2008- TheSlowWalkers