Alright, I admit it, I was over-dressed in my all-weather coat with a fleece lining. How was I to know that even in the exposed areas of the latest archaeological walking experience, the sun would be streaming down with great warmth. Unlike the last walking party, this was an altogether fitter and larger group of people. Even so, we all ended up taking off warm layers, panting and puffing at some stage. It was an arduous guided walk around ‘ancient feet’, on land we would not normally have free access to. Most of the area is owned by one landowner who ‘gates’ off this Northern section of it, and it was she who who easily bestrode this land as our guide.
“Maybe I should have done a risk assessment first“, murmured the lady guide, as she swung her long rubber booted legs over a fence, expecting all of us to follow suit. We also had to cross a raised loch, all the while holding on to a rail on a narrow concrete ledge, doing a balancing exercise. (See below).
Our first stop was a ruined cairn, where, when I tried to sit on a piece of ancient mineral aggregate to gain my breath, I tipped over and ended up prone. The stone’s positioning, would not allow for any dignified balancing act. It was explained that the ancients exposed bodies here and the bones were then stored in a very orderly manner in the cairn. I did not aim to emulate the experience!
We ended up at a couple of ancient standing stones, further on up the hill, likely, BCE, (Bronze Age perhaps). Most of us huffed and puffed from the work-out (more energetic than the stepper at a gym) with the guide saying, she could take us on further. We must have already covered three or four miles, up hills, over peat ditches, hillocks, dale, rabbit hole, mole hill, gorse, heather and anything else that was difficult to negotiate. You needed lots of stamina for this tour.
The general consensus was that we probably had experienced enough excitement! But, we all had to trail back the way we came. It was no easier, as all the lumps and bumps came at us in reverse. One poor lady missed her footing, fortunately landing on soft springy peat turf, and adamant she needed no help in returning to her usual perpendicular position. The lady was okay, and in due course, balanced herself on the ledge across the loch along with the best and the worst of us.
My coat got mucky. I had attempted to tie it about my waist by its arms so I could cool off, but the weight of it would not hold the coat high enough from the vegetation, just below knee level. Eventually, I had no option but to put it back on, so I could negotiate the trickier bits of the return trail.