Author Topic: When hiking, have you been taken aback by what people say to you?  (Read 1473 times)

gunwharfman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4736
My strongest memory and it took me totally by surprise, was when I hitchhiked a lift (about 5 kilometers all uphill) near to Lescun in the Pyrenees in 2015. I got in the back seat of his car (another man sat in the passenger seat) and said "thank you for stopping." The driver obviously realised that I was English and the FIRST WORDS that he said to me in English was, "ARE YOU A CATHOLIC?" I blinked in surprise and feebly said "no" and he immediately came back with, "Are you a Protestant?" and again, I was a little composed now, "No Monsieur, I'm not anything." From then on he didn't talk to me. His friend turned around and mouthed the words "No problem" to me. I was grateful for the lift!

For me, that was a weird experience!!!

gunwharfman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4736
I also remember on the Cotswold Way, along a narrow road near an old house I sat down on a tuft of grass on the verge and a male voice from the house shouted from the window "That's mine, get off and move on!" I didn't of course, I had a drink of water, organised myself, and then moved on!

On the same hike a few days later as it was very sunny and hot I decided to have a sleep on a patch of grass by the side of the footpath. There was no one around so I quickly dozed off. A while later I was woken up by a man shouting from behind me "Can you get up, my horse doesn't like to see bodies on the ground!" I looked up and stood up in surprise and there was a middle-aged man, on his horse, with his crash helmet on, tweed jacket and jodhpurs just behind me who then shouted something like "Rah!" and galloped on past me. I hadn't even properly woken up and he was already gone!

forgotmyoldpassword

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 544
Probably when I was hiking in Scotland, hitched with a guy after a grueling high level route which took several days - having little sleep in the process, really gnarly.


I noticed he had a saltire on his back window as I shut my backpack in the boot.. He then proceeded to spend the whole drive talking to me about devolution whilst I was so dog tired I could hardly tell you what day it was and answered 'yeah', 'uhuh' or 'absolutely' for most of the drive as he was slagging off westminster.   


Not sure if I was 'taken aback', but I was definitely in that weird moment where your brain thinks you're in a totally surreal situation. ;D

Ridge

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7838
I was walking on a track past a quite isolated farm in the Peaks when an old farmer, in tatty tweeds, came out of the house with his barking dog. He was looking very grumpy as he came up to me. He then started explaining what all the wild flowers and plants in the bank along the side of the track were, including some he had rescued and replanted. Nice old guy and really knowledgeable, spent a lovely half hour in his company.

tonyk

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2362
 I had a rather odd experience with an irate farmer whilst walking the Peak District High Level route.It was 6am in the morning and this farmer was heading towards me on a tractor and when he got within shouting distance he let loose with both barrels.It seems I was to blame for everything;the EU,subsidies or lack of them,out of control dogs and especially walkers who he appeared to hate.At the end of his rant he wanted to know what I was doing up at this time of morning.He then insisted I was a civil servant,another of his pet hates,and got even more angry when I told him I was a businessman and unlike him was not subsidised by the government and EU.He gave up after that one and drove off.

astaman

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 164
Another hitch-hiking story from the late sixties. My friend Roy and I (in our mid-teens) were hitching from south to north Wales for a few days wandering in the Tremadog cliffs. Around Brecon we got a lift from James Roberston Justice no less. We passed under a very steep and rocky embankment a little while later and he went into a rant about the 'beware of falling rocks signs' saying 'what use are the signs, if a rock is going to fall on you a bloody sign won't stop it, will it?' So much like Sir Lancelot Spratt that Roy and I just looked at each other in amazement. For the rest of the journey to Dolgellau he was perfectly charming and nothing like Sir Lancelot and in fact seemed surprisingly, and to us pleasingly, left wing. I later learned that he had stood as Labour parliamentary candidate after the war.

barewirewalker

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3307
One rather wet afternoon on the Kerry Ridgeway a mysterious figure swathed in head to ankle Barbour waterproof approached us, Mrs BWW very soon switched on to the identity of this figure, but I am not very good on the celebrity culture, until the lady under the voluminous quantity of wax cape claimed responsibility for the downpour. It was Sean Lloyd, when she was a weather presenter.
Thought the experience that really set me back was the Welsh farmer, whose verbal abuse, a lengthy tirade where every 2 words were interspersed with the F word, though some may have been the welsh for great, because I had the temerity to be on a RoW that was approaching his farm. It was this experience that made me realise that poisonous policies of the landowner had reached into the heartland of the Agricultural Industry.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

harland

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1027
I can't say that many years ago I was actually hiking but I was walking back from the pub to our hotel (separate room) with a female co-worker (from the East End of London).  On walking into the hotel my co-worker in a loud voice said "look at that prat in that big hat" - only for Elton John to turn round - neither he nor his minders were best pleased! Didn't think to ask for his autograph.

SteamyTea

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 920
James Roberston Justice no less. We passed under a very steep and rocky embankment a little while later and he went into a rant about the 'beware of falling rocks signs' saying 'what use are the signs, if a rock is going to fall on you a bloody sign won't stop it, will it?' So much like Sir Lancelot Spratt
His father was geologist.
I don't use emojis, irony is better, you decide

One F

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
Can't say that much takes me aback, but on the 26th July 1997, part way along the Pennine Way, my walking pals and I were, how shall I put it, gobsmacked. Here's a copy from my Pennine Way diary of that little happening:-


"On Cam Top itself the weather changed and a strong cold wind blew across followed by heavy rain at about 1330. Last 4.1/2 miles to Hawes in persistent and heavy rain. Pity as this part of the walk would, under reasonable conditions, have been as good, scenically, as any other. Unfortunately the rain spoiled it somewhat!! Arrived wet at Hawes YH at 1530. The hostel didn't open until 5pm but, as with many hostels, the outer door was left unlocked and you could sit in a sort of a porch, sheltered from the rain. Already in there was a young woman who we found out, as we engaged in conversation, was from New Zealand, a Kiwi travelling around the north of England. As we chatted she was surprised to learn that we often cooked our own evening meals in the YHA members kitchen and of course, cleaned up afterwards and took care of washing clothes and stuff. She told us it wasn't like this back home in New Zealand, where the menfolk didn't care for such tasks and the only reason, in her opinion, they sought a woman for a partner/wife was so they could have "a cook and a fu**". I don't think that all 5 of us have ever been stopped in our tracks like that - open mouthed and unsure what to say next. Full marks to the Kiwi though, she didn't mince her words and I guess could be quit a handful (oo'er missus)."

gunwharfman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4736
The saddest experience I ever had was some years ago when I was hiking from North to South on the Pennine Way. I decided to book in at the Bainbridge Ings Campsite in Hawes. There were three of four small tents in the field and as I was pitching my tent I noticed a middle-aged man to my right standing by his tent sobbing and then snorting as he wiped his nose with a handkerchief!

I hesitated, I really did, I didn't want to get involved but in the end, I just couldn't help myself. I wandered over and I said to him something stupid to him like "Is anything wrong?" I can't remember my actual words but it was along those lines.

He then took me by totally by surprise because he just blurted out in that instant that he was dying of Cancer! We were complete strangers to each other and I was taken aback and the thought went through my head, what do I say? Before I even had a chance to speak he just carried on and told me that this was his last hike. His wife and he had discussed it and they agreed that he should do this, so he was hiking the Pennine Way, south to north, knowing that he had incurable cancer and only a short time to live.

I spent over an hour with him and we parted company when he decided he would wander off and phone his wife. I'd already told him that I was going into the town and asked him if he wanted to come with me but he said no. I never saw him again and when I crawled out of my tent the following morning he was gone.

Ridge

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7838
You were there when he needed to unburden GWM, good for you for asking if he was OK.

gunwharfman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4736
I realise that as I get older past memories and events just seem these days to spring into my mind so easily. I think it may be a natural part of the aging process? My wife assures me that my present-day memory is fine - at the moment! My mother in law is 95 and she can remember events before and during World War 2 as if it was yesterday, (mention Buster Crabbe for example and off she'll go) but then she can't remember what she had for breakfast today.

But as my wife reminds me, I have this sometimes 'annoying' habit of just talking to anyone, I just get a visual or verbal cue then off I go, so I have to expect some things will be said which might be unexpected.

gunwharfman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4736
Like the time for example when just a few words started me on a high but ended in a low. On the same Pennine Way hike, I arrived late afternoon on a Sunday night at the campsite in Horton in Ribblesdale. The owner was in his office and I paid for one night and he then said: "Do you drink Whiskey?" I answered yes, which in hindsight was a silly thing to say! I stayed and chatted with him and he gave me more than one and afterward I had to erect my tent! That's when I learned to never drink alcohol before my tent needed setting up!

gunwharfman

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4736
Or that time when I was hiking the 'Stevenson Way' in France when I walked into a classy countryside restaurant, the 'madam' in charge was behind a podium, wearing a long sequined dress (she looked very smart) and welcomed me 'very sincerely' and gushingly handed me a menu as if I was a long lost relative! I informed her that I was a 'vegetarian' and her mood changed abruptly and she said 'NON!' and pointed me to the door! I had been thrown out!

I had to wander into the village and buy a couple of slices of takeaway pizza!