I was supposed to be walking around the lake in the park yesterday but the dog had other ideas. In her permanent delusional state that she is an outdoorsy hunting/tracking champion, she dragged me down the road on the trail of Youngest Daughter’s route to the school bus stop, and went on strike on a traffic island when I tried to pull her in a NE direction to the park.
After a stare-out contest, I gave in and settled for a north-westerly urban wander. The delusional dog charged on happily, blissfully unaware that there would be very little off-lead possibilities on this track. I perked up at the prospect of nosing down a few local roads that I rarely wander on foot: the sun was barely up on the horizon and so the prospect of enjoying Christmas-lit interiors was immensely cheering.
We found ourselves braving a lane known locally as Little Switzerland; a narrow hairpin steep descent into Gledhow Valley. I used to drive this every day on the old route to school, and would watch with trepidation the local senior school pupils walking up the pavement-less road in the dark winter mornings. So walking it now in dark dismal conditions was unnerving in the extreme.
But my fear of being knocked over wasn’t enough to stop me Googling my exact map location in an effort to look over and beyond the steep early Victorian walls surrounding me, and supporting an ancient bridge going from nowhere to nowhere. This bridge had intrigued me for 20 years, and suddenly now I realised I could, with the help of Google Maps, explore the mysterious territory beyond.
The satellite image didn’t reveal much detail but confirmed a large tract of woodland unobservable from the lane. A large house sat well back from the road, and that was it. I think I need an old OS map to find out more.
I google-mapped a few more points on the walk. It’s a whole new dimension to urban nosing. No garden is protected from my investigation. No house extension. I hate my addiction to technology, but I love what it provides.