Muddy field by boxplayer

Muddy field

Mud. The theme of the day on our Epping Forest short walk today. Hoping to dispel my general gloominess.

Had decided to do a walk before dropping round for a doorstep visit to the VDBs in Brentwood. A couple of hours or so of walking and we'd be there 2ish - little did we know.

En route got a phone call from my mum to say she'd managed to get an appointment for her first coronavirus vaccination. I'd spoken to earlier and said maybe she should think about avoiding the bus and shops for a couple of weeks what with the infection rates going up. Think that panicked her into phoning her doctor.

Funnily, I'd looked at the walk in the book and seen it was no 13 and thought 'oh oh' - what could go wrong? Well as we drove down the road approaching Theydon Bois for the start we started seeing cars in front of us doing u-turns and coming back our way. We rounded a corner and found the road blocked off with cones and police cars.

Decided to do the next walk in the book starting from Epping as there wasn't any handy way back into Theydon Bois - a short walk taking in only a small section of true Epping Forest - Wintry Wood - and along paths through fields, playing fields and other parts close to civilisation.

Wintry Wood or The Lower Forest also featured the Stump Road - a remnant of the old London to Cambridge road. Weather was nice and bright in the main, if cold. We'd dug out the proper walking boots, mindful of all the rain we've had.

Well they were about as much use as flipflops. Most paths other than the odd one on a road were dampish at best or seriously boggy and muddy at worst. As we crossed from one field to another we found a tiny gap in hedges that was basically a sludge pool. We managed to squeeze ourselves through keeping to the slippery edges and pushing through the blackthorn. Phew we thought.

A circular walk, we got to a road that if we wanted to we could just go right at and find ourselves at our car. Or we could carry on the walk on a 'delightful path' said the book. We decided to go for it - even though it said 'it could be muddy at times'. Well how bad could it be we thought - having seen a lot of muddy paths so far.

Famous last words. The path was wide, but bordered by impenetrable hedges and it soon became, no joke, a quagmire (also being a bridleway). We tried for a while to keep to the edges - but the hedges were blackthorn and hawthorn again and the edges slippery (I tumbled once). Realising that we'd be there until it got dark at that rate - I just gave up and began wading through the mud, said mud going up well above my ankles. Not easy to keep ones footing either, the path just seemed to go on and on - though all in all it was only half a mile.

We emerged onto a road with much relief. The last section of the walk was through another field and we decided to take it as it was a footpath so unlikely to be as muddy and it would save a bit of time - getting late as it was now. Lovely late afternoon light on this last stretch.

Unfortunately there was still a 20-minute walk to the car once we came out of the field and my legs had more or less stopped working - hips stiff and immobile with the cold and stumbling through mud. And I was starving - we had forgot to bring snacks.

Got to the car and drove the 25 mins to Brentwood for our doorstep visit to the VDBs - much relief when Tina brought out hot cups of tea and biscuits 'which one would you like?' she asked - all of them I exclaimed!

Stopped for a 15-min chat and exchanging of presents before Dave and I drove off. Got home and immediately dived into the hamper Tina had given us - bingo - a box of cheese biscuits - just right for a snack while we recuperated upstairs.

Later smoky jackfruit burgers and roast aubergines and courgettes while watching The Book of Life - more Mexican day of the dead animated fun.

Mud bath https://365project.org/boxplayer/extras/2020-12-30

30 December 2020
Epping, Essex
A lovely view and leading lines, even if a tricky walk!
January 2nd, 2021  
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