Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Lost, hot and no drink.

Autumn jobs started today, well actually yesterday morning when we stopped and after watering up we cheekily washed and scrubbed the roof as there were no other boats around.  So when we arrived in Kinver yesterday and after Polly had put the kettle on and we had had afternoon tea with cake in the sun on a raised picnic area in a clearing that had been made for boaters, we polished the roof.

The thing about boat polishing is that once you start your boat appears to increase in size.
Once we got a routine going it wasn't too long till we had completed it.  But the roof is the easiest bit to my mind as there is no bending down and its all easy to see.
It was a bit upsetting that this morning that the sparkling roof had leaves on it so I pick them off before we went off to explore Kinver.
The High Street is a short walk away and is one of those nice towns that still has a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker.  

We had been told about Kinver Ridge and wanted to go there, trouble is how to get there.  No problem as there was a sign for the Tourist Information Office down the street, so off we went to find it... nothing, we must have missed it so retraced our steps.... nothing.... it was hot by now so as David was losing is sense of humour and needing a spot of caffeine so I popped into a cafĂ© to ask if they knew where the Tourist office was, 
"Its here chick..." the lady said pointing to a small wire rack on the wall behind me containing a few leaflets.  But hey-ho there was a map of Kinver on a leaflet and the walk up to the Ridgeway.  Coffee drunk so Let's Go Rambling.
Now you all know how David loves his maps, but since we have been in the Wild West Midlands we have been looking for a map shop but there are none.  
Low level map anxiety had set in so I was pleased that there was a least there was a map of sorts to be comforting him.  Oh dear me, the map had roads on it that were not named, the street had signs directing you seemingly in the wrong direction.  I tried to calm him but didn't do that well, I wouldn't say we argued but it was a close thing.  
After getting lost and being directed up there, coming to a brick wall things were getting desperate serious measures were called for.  I asked a passer by.
So now on the correct road with a letter of complaint to the map publishers being mentally written in my head as we arrived up the steep hill to the car park of The Rock Houses.  
The whole area to the west of Kinver is a huge sandstone escarpment covered  partly in a marvellous forest and heathland.  On one side are the Kinver Rock Houses.  Caves that have been inhabited for centuries by self sufficient people growing crops in the fertile sandy soils and grazing their animals in the surrounding woods
HERE to see the NT link

There was a couple at the car park, more elderly than us and a tad irritated as they had arrived to visit the houses and unwittingly come on a day the houses were closed.  As we had.  
They set off on the path while we studied the NT map which we hoped was better than the rubbish tourist one.  We concluded that we needed to follow the old folks who said they were going to the houses, but it was like a horror film set as these old folks had simply vanished into the trees although we had been talking to them only one minute before....
So Reader,  what could be better, I swapped a town with no map for a dense old folk eating forest with cliffs to walk around in with a moody muttering husband who kept saying 
"Where's the sun?"   
"If only I could see the sun I can get us out of here"...... it was cloudy.
I led the way confidently up the nearest path, it was criss-crossed with other pathways and yes same thing with us, the NT map just twenty yards or so behind us had vanished really quickly...  I kept an eye out for the orange dots that we were supposed to be following.  One at the start then we hardly found any more at all.  Marvellous.
But as we kinda followed our noses and eventually came upon these

Not open today but nonetheless an insight into past lives.

When the family increased in size, they simply dug out another room in the rock.

Lovely paths laid out plus splendid views.

Veg gardens have been restored.

Two or three houses in a row.

Handy well outside your front door.

The blurb says that they were inhabited until recent decades. 
So we continued  uphill towards the Ridge.  Nice big fat blackberries to be had here, so sweet we just ate them, seems blackberrying is out of fashion these days.
When you had reached the very top the views went for miles 

Maybe that is Scotland in the distance.

Right on the top.

Views for miles

Well we decided to walk along a marked pathway on the ridge, two sides of a triangle and come to Kinver church, off we set, a fair few people around, sun had come out, birds were singing and the sky was blue.  Then it dawned on us that we had no idea in which direction the flaming church was as the trees were in the way.
After a lot more muttering mostly about who had forgotten the water bottle, we started to walk in the estimated direction, this was based on the sun as it had now come out.
Forty minutes later, a bit hot and with confidence slipping I asked a couple of fairly speedy walkers where we were going, where was the Church, which is the correct path and finally can we please follow them.  I said that we would walk behind them fifty paces so as not to intrude and the sweet pair were jolly sporting.  They agreed that it was confusing with seeming hundreds of paths going this way and that, none of them marked orange, of course.
So we upped the pace and when we slipped behind had to almost jog to keep up, such is the general fitness levels of the locals.  When they got to another junction they even stopped till we came into view and waved their intended route.  Frankly Reader without them I think we may have still been there.  When we arrived into a car park they too had completely vanished.  There was another sign telling walkers where they were, but nothing saying which direction Kinver was. I kid you not.

So as David stood in the centre of the car park gazing up at the sun and down at the shadows, I flagged down a passing car.  It became apparent that it's pretty complicated to get back to Kinver even though it was the only town in the immediate area, but the nice man gave directions and off he drove and off we set.  Fifteen minutes later, I heard a car getting close and we stepped into the grass.  It was the nice man, he had been give the task of getting his baby grandson off to sleep in the car and come back to rescue us!!!!  He took us to The Vine pub in Kinver and had he not have been in sole charge of a babe we would have stood him five pints such was our gratitude.  The man told us that he lives very close to Kinver Edge and they have lost walker regularly knocking on their doors asking for directions!!!  So you see Reader it wasn't just being old and daft..... this time.

 We recovered with long cool drinks and eventually had supper here too.  
PS Never saw the Old Folks again from the car park and never came across the church.


  1. Do you own a smartphone? You can get walking maps that will work on those. You will never get lost again!

  2. Dear Sue,
    You are right of course but I think my smartphone is the worst in Europe, with reception to match. I was on top of the highest hill in Wiltshire when we were on the K&A with no reception....
    I am back on line today since I left my dongle at home!!!! There really is no hope.
    Lisa xx