Monday, April 9

UK Bloggers Meet the Burley Bog Monster

We were into the third hour of walking when we realised we'd hit trouble. Why when travelling over boggy ground is there never a clear cut half way mark? The point at which you can bail out and retrace your tracks staying mostly dryshod. Or at least dryer than you will be in five or maybe ten minutes time.
And if there was such a point, would us gung-ho alpha male outdoor blogger types ever admit it existed?

Naw probably not.

It was around this point my body involuntarily broke into the infamous bog hoppers dance. An attempt to deter gravitational forces by a speed-up in pace, reduce the physical footfall to a theoretical minimum, and propel the body forward to the next likely looking clump of darker coloured grass. Or not as the case may be.

Hop skip jump stagger dash. Splash. Bugger. Repeat the dance and plough on through.

Pausing on a suitably large clump at bogs edge, I turned to look for the five dogs accompanying us. Assorted sizes, all used to this sort of madness, but unaware of the next phase of lunacy that was in store. Bits of most of them were on view. True mostly mud caked, but still all above the marshy ground.

And then there was Weird Darren.

Oh no. Had I inadvertently done away with him? Sucked deep into the notorious New Forest bogs. Another sad statistic that the local tourist office play down 'Well yes sir, we do loose a few people each year but they tend to be mostly the infirm whose families take them off the waymarked paths when their time has come. We try not to publicise it too widely as the bogs do fill up so quickly'

It had all started so well earlier in the day.

An impromptu meet-up with Darren, a stroll on the New Forest, to take the air, shoot the breeze, and walk the dogs. The day dawned misty on the coast, usual for this time of year when the land first heats up quickly, but inland the sun had persisted and blue sky beckoned.

We left Vales Moor car park (OL22: 188 040) throwing in a loop to visit the man-made shelter, whatever it is, and then hitting the main track onto Burbush car park. Trying hard to ignore the mounds of litter bags already piling up at that 'beauty spot', we quickly passed onto the ridge to the north east, heading for Goats Pen, and the sneaky little woodland cut through to come out besides Burley Tea Rooms, where coffee and cake was the order of the day.

Returning along the track leading from Burley to Castle Hill, we paused on the hill to consider the panorama, limited by the distant mist still evident 'damn typical Bank Holiday weather' I guess for the stay adoors in those areas so affected.

Ahead our start point, and our finish. Ten minutes at most beyond the foot of the hill. And it was then we decided to try a detour to miss out the road section. A bit of land, bog terrain to my eyes, but Darren was keen to test out his theories of X socks and lightweight footwear, an earlier dip not proving enough for his stalwart demands.

We later ambled into the vicinity of the car park area, wandering through groups of day trippers and picnickers decked in their summer sun finery. Two mud spattered forms who had lurched out from the lower heathland, accompanied by 5 panting hounds. Both men and dogs equally in need of a serious hose down.

And that terrible sound that will never be forgotten by all who heard it this fateful day.

The steady 'squelch squelch' noise of a man testing lightweight footwear after a particularly cheeky bog crossing session. And the laughter of two people who'd avoided the bank holiday crowds & had a enjoyable time putting the world to rights, whilst out for wander.

Nice one Darren, thanks for a good day out. I still prefer my gore tex and dry feet, but then I'm not the one planning the Scottish trip.

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Excellent write up John, so much better than mine. More dry, less damp I'd say ^__^
I guess you had to be there

I needed something to make up for this bloody pc problem!
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