The good thing about setting off on a walk is that sometimes there are surprises in store. When I was a child we did a lot of ‘exploring’, and I see going for walks as the grown up version of that.

Yesterday was a perfect day for getting out, so we headed up The Helm at Oxenholme which, for very little effort, gives views of Lakeland, the Howgills, Morecambe Bay and the hills of Lancashire and Yorkshire. Our walk continued over fields in the direction of the village of Old Hutton and, judging by the nettle-covered stiles, was very little frequented. The nettles took me back again to childhood explorations and frantic searches for dock leaves as the magic antidote to nettle stings.  We did not survive the many stile crossings unscathed.

The surprise came at Old Hutton, when an elderly gentleman working in his garden invited us in for tea and cake. ‘I don’t see many on that path these days,’ he remarked.   We admitted to a tiny bit of hesitation, particularly when he shouted to his wife that he’d ‘found two’, but we made bold to enter. And then, as a reward for our finding of the hidden way, his wife brought out tea and home-made cakes. Over the next half hour we chatted and found many things in common.


Things like this don’t often happen, do they?  We left so enriched by the experience that I didn’t notice my nettle stings on the way back to the car. Thank you to our hosts for their trust.