I have strayed from the straight and narrow again. Fear not, readers, for I have not opted for a life of crime, unless my writing counts as criminal.
No, I’ve wandered from my usual forest walk, over a stream and into the wilds.
I must confess that as a man of the wild I’m rather mild. That is to say, I like to be surrounded by nature, but am reassured by way-markers and the occasional discreet sign.
That time on the moors…
I still have nightmares about the time I got hopelessly lost on a blazing hot day on the Yorkshire moors.
After several hours, all I could think about was Lilt, a drink I hadn’t had in decades but whose “tropical taste” advertising meme had stuck around my brain.
When, eventually, I came to a village and went into a local pub, they didn’t have Lilt, so I ordered a pint of beer and a glass of water. A minute later, I asked for the same thing.
Five minutes later, I requested it again. I think they thought it must be a very Scottish thing. Particularly when I burst into song. Only joking.
Into the wilder woods
So, usually on my regular walk, I stick to the approved path.
Just off to the right, across a stream, there’s another path into a wilder wood.
It doesn’t look so official and I usually just ignore it, fearing arrest and imprisonment if I venture therein.
Actually, what I do fear on that narrower and not much trodden path is the dreaded tick.
The thing about ticks
I think they’re still around in autumn. There are definitely deer in this part of the wood and, where there are definitely deer there are definitely ticks.
Though the path started off quite broad, it soon narrowed and, where grass stalks and ferns lean into the path, ticks will gather, waiting for your troosers or other garment to brush against them.
Then they come aboard.
I’ve had them a good few times, and they creep me out, burrowing head-first into your body and carrying a threat of debilitating illness if you don’t get them out quickly enough, head an’ all,
The magic of nature
But I was drawn to this stretch of wood today, even though I nearly balked at the stream, which was too broad to leap, and running high after recent rains.
Still, once I got over, I felt I’d entered a magical realm. It was a proper wild wood of deciduous, native trees. I felt fine blundering aboot in there.
Scandinavian vloggers on yon YouTube are generally found in proper woods like this (and with right scary wildlife sometimes on the premises, though thankfully distant), rather than on paths like my usual one, which is quite popular with dog-walkers, even if I rarely see anyone most days.
But where is the wildlife?
It’s easy to get lost in woods, particularly when the path fades but, luckily, I found my way back by recognising some natural features.
The lack of wildlife here, even deer, is disappointing, and something on which I’ve commented before.
We’ve lots of wild land and little wildlife. I guess they must have given up.
Or maybe they were hiding in the bushes, whispering to each other: “We don’t get many Rabs in here. That one must be feeling brave today.”