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Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Hills Are Alive-ish Part 1

Do you think we could bring an action against the OS Map people under the Trade Description Act?

The reason for this question is my last Walking Weekend.  I could have put that better, as I sincerely hope it's not my last Walking Weekend.  I mean the Walking Weekend myself and three like-minded mates pottered through a few weeks ago.  I think I've mentioned these before.  They basically consist of a couple of days of healthy exercise and country air, punctuated by bouts of over-indulgence with food and drink (but not necessarily in that order, as per Eric Morecambe).  This year we invaded Rutland.

My issue with the OS is that their maps lead you (well, me anyway) to believe that little treasures are to be found scattered hither and thither across the landscape, only to dash your hopes when reality and the map description don't quite match up.  For example, on our main walk, one of my friends (who is a published historian, and knows what he's talking about) encouraged us up a particular hill with the promise that we would soon be passing a 'medieval village' according to the map.  We toiled over stiles and sheep droppings, until he told us, excitedly, that it was 'just over there'.  Now, I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't this:


"So, where's the village then?"  I asked.  "That's it" our Historian said, with some exasperation.  "But, there's nothing (expletive deleted) there!" I pointed out.  "Ah well, if you know what you're looking for..." He said, with an air of authority, "I suppose you were expecting people in costume or something?" he chuckled.  To which the answer is, no, but I would have expected some evidence of ruins over and above a gently undulating landscape!  I'm afraid I'm a little cynical, having been caught like this before many years ago, as I will explain next time.

The first collection of stories "Steady Past Your Granny's" is now available as a Kindle e-book at amazon.co.uk or amazon.com