17 Jan A right pea souper
We emerge from our car into a right pea souper. Fog hangs like a white veil across the wintry countryside. Everything looks hazy. Soon fine droplets start clinging to our hair and clothes forming a white layer.
As we descend the hill the shape of a church tower suddenly emerges through the fog. The weather making the Wiltshire landscape we are exploring both mysterious and atmospheric.
We are on a recce. Creating a new Foot Trail. And with our youngest trail walkers (our children) in tow we walk through an envisaged new route first formed from memory in our minds to see how it pans out on the ground.
It is a cool January day. The temperature hovers around 3 to 4 degrees. Warm layers and breathable waterproofs keep us comfortable in the elements.
We pass chocolate eclairs between us. And conversation moves from family matters to sights on the trail.
Winter is a key time in the development of new trails. We are creating a brand new introductory trail to kick off a guests experience on a Foot Trail.
“People have been walking exactly where we are for 2000 years.” says David, our Guide. ” This path has been taken by animal drovers and would have seen the early carriages take post to and from London. ” We stay silent, letting our imaginations wander as we tried to picture the people who have taken this same route for centuries before us.
In the green verges we are thrilled to see that early snowdrops are beginning to bloom.
We are walking in South Wiltshire. The place where Foot Trails as an organisation began. And like all our Foot Trails the trail itself is born out of experience, local knowledge and a quest for the authentic experience. This means staying clear of national trails and obvious tourist hot spots and staying instead on local paths.
And it means getting out and walking. Regularly. The only way to properly get to know an area on foot.
In today’s fog the usually enjoyable views are cloaked and hidden from view, but we can picture them none the less.
Country life in this corner of Wiltshire stays reassuringly familiar. At the local pub, the lunchtime stop on our trail, we open the door to a packed inn. And tuck into salt and vinegar crisps and the local tipple.
Back on the trail we pass a string of country cottages. And soon we are back to where we began.
Winter holds its own special beauty. And for our guests this small corner of South Wiltshire gives a truly authentic peek into life in the country. The trail works beautifully and will form an interesting part of trips to come.