By: Blonde Two
On the afternoon of Monday January 4th this year Blonde One and I visited the Dartmoor Christmas Tree to do our traditional post-Christmas tidy up. That night as we drove home Boris Johnson announced we were going back into national lockdown the next day.
We didn’t see each other again for nearly three months.
You don’t need to worry however, our Blondness has apparently not been diminished by our enforced separation. As witnessed by our recent decision to hold a walking meeting, which is a tricky thing to do without a vehicle when you don’t live in the same town. Here’s what we learned from the experience (some sitting also occurred).
Step 1. Plan your walking meeting route
As you can imagine we meticulously planned our long awaited reunion in true Blonde style, and with the help of the most excellent OS Maps (download free today and upgrade to Maps Premium for only £2.99 a month). We used the app to draw a line directly between our two houses, then found the midway point so we each only had to walk five kilometres each to get there. As chance would have it (or bysome inner Blonde navigational sixth sense) we had used this meeting point several times following lockdown one so knew it well. It’s on a lovely Devon green lane, above a lovely village in between Newton Abbot and Torquay. We agreed to meet at 12:00
Step 2. Walk to your meet-up point
Blonde One did the sensible thing and properly planned her route. She chose a slightly longer one to take in as much countryside and as few roads as possible, and arriving first, perched herself in the hedge to wait for me.
She had quite a long wait.
The lack of planning required for hyper-local walks had obviously got to me because my planning had only gone as far as, ‘It would be nice to walk through Daccombe’. There was a good reason for this, Blonde One and I have had many happy DofE camp nights there. However, by the time I had marched my way up and down several of Torquay’s many urban hills towards Daccombe, I realised I was running late. So I waved at the campsite from the hill above and set off on a ‘shortcut’.
Step 3. Stick to the original plan
This proved to be a mistake. I thought know the route I had planned to take well as we have walked it many times with our DofE youngsters (usually Bronze). By leaving this route and following my nose (instead of OS Maps), I ended up walking at least nine kilometres to complete a five kilometre route.
What did go well was our meeting challenge. You all know how much we love Dartmoor so, on our way to meet each other, our challenge was to take a selfie that looked as though we were actually there. You can judge the results for yourself in the photo above but our challenge did mean we were particularly pleased when we found the house in our title photo.
Step 4. Stop for a pre-meeting coffee
It was of course fabulous to see B1 (even though I couldn’t hug her). I knew she was there before I reached her because two other walkers had told me that they’d seen her and that she had already finished the wine. There wasn’t any wine but B1 was nice enough to stop for another coffee in the first gateway we came to. We chatted for ages of course.
Step 5. Find a suitable meeting location
We wandered the lanes and reminisced for a while but our meet-up was also a meeting. We have something really exciting happening this summer and needed to do a bit of Blonde planning. Our wandering eventually took us to Daccombe where we said hello to our favourite s-shaped hedge, looked longingly at the campsite over the gate, and sat down again. Yep, that’s right. In another gateway.
Step 6. Make your mind up
You know the story of the three bears with their too hot, too cold, too hard, too soft fussiness? Well B1 and I were a bit like that on Saturday. Because the floor at the edge of the road was too hard we decided to walk up the (very steep hill). Because the bench (from which I had waved at the campsite earlier) was too draughty, we decided to head up a track. Because we wanted to explore, we decided to cross the stiles. Because I needed a wee, I ducked behind a hedge. You can see how things went on. By the time we had found our ‘just right’ meeting place (a sheltered patch of grass just below the trig point) B1 had walked all the way from Newton Abbot into Torquay itself.
Step 7. Just get on with it
As has now been well documented B1 and I are used to having meetings in ridiculous places so the discussion itself went really well. In fact the whole day went really well. After such a long time apart we were both relieved to discover that Blondness is far greater than any pandemic. Our walking meeting perhaps didn’t go quite to plan but the exercise did us good (between us we covered over 45 kilometres). The whole thing was a truly Blonde affair, and exactly what we both needed.
Two Blondes Walking has an affiliate advertising relationship with Ordnance Survey