Monday, 14 April 2014

Walk No 1: First 'official' walk

The lower slopes of Chanctonbury Ring

So fuelled by my lofty ideals, on Tuesday last week I gathered together my kit and the baby. I'd had a poor night's sleep and was feeling groggy and stressed but one of my guiding principles is not to wait until the 'perfect' moment, but JFDI (just fucking do it).

  • Brasher leather lightweight walking boots – about 6 years old
Ye olde Brashers
  • Ergobaby Performance baby carrier (second hand, ebay £78)
  • Fuji Finepix camera (second hand £50
  • Regatta 25l daysack, £15, new
  • Alpaca scarf
  • Gym pants
  • Hooded fleece
  • Peter Storm Jack in a Pack (green with white polks dots)
  • OS Explorer Map – 4 cm to 1 km / 2.5 inches to 1 mile
  • Garmin thingy so I know the distance
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Food - Boiled egg, from our hens and some chocolate
  • Water

Massively unimpressed baby
  • a bottle of expressed breastmilk (not keen on the bottle, but good for a back-up)
  • Polarn-O-Pyret windstopper fleece all-in-one
  • A sunhat
  • A woolly hat
  • Bibs x 2
  • Nappies  x 3 
  • Water wipes
It was one of those really annoying days where everything took forever. I faffed about picking up piles of muddle and moving them, so they continue their task of being a pile of muddle elsewhere. Naps, feeding and changing cycled round without a good moment to cut in with the required car journey and so on....

However, I finally set off at about 1.30 pm in the direction of  Chanctonbury Ring, West Sussex an iron age hill fort located on the South Downs Way. There are a number of ways to approach the walk, but for today I planned to keep it simple by parking at the bottom of the hill and simply walking up and back.

The lower slopes of Chanctonbury Ring


I parked the landy up on a verge (too big to get under the bars to the car park) and wrestled a reluctant baby into her fleecy onesie, thus: 

Stranky madam posted into windstopper onesie

Although the kit-list looks long, in fact the overall package was a neat one - baby on the front in the Ergobaby and rucksack on the back with all the bits and pieces. I slung the camera across my body and off I set.

It was a beautiful day, sunny and windy but the trouble started almost immediately. Babalu carried on an extended episode of grunting that lasted for the entire walk. As I climbed the chalky hill, winding up through beech woods and not-yet-flowering bluebells, my bonny bairn grumbled and groaned and wriggled and mithered and generally communicated her satisfaction levels to me - low mummy, very very low. I persevered and reached the top, usually a happy moment as you finally emerge from the tree cover onto the cropped grassy summit with sweeping views in three directions, with the ring itself off to your right. 

Unfortunately, here the grunting turned into visible distress as the wind whipped up to the point where my girl was gasping, blowing bubbles and blinking furiously. It was too much for her and I immediately headed back down the hill. Not a wild success. I took her out of the carrier and stopped on a fallen tree to give her a feed and a hug. She went crackers when I tried to put her back into the ergobaby, so ended up carrying her down the hill - satisfaction levels increased to 'tolerating it, mummy'.

Inexplicably worried at all times

But it wasn't a total wash-out - I went to Waitrose on the way home!

Post-match analysis
Having tried the Ergobaby a couple of times now, I think the grunting is because she isn't quite big enough for it yet and really needs to be a few pounds heavier and slightly larger to be comfy in it. For now I'm going to revert to the Baby Bjorn.

I was tired, Babalu was narked and it was too windy to complete the walk to name a few downsides, but it was my first proper attempt with all the gear and we did at least get out the door and up a hill.  

1 comment:

  1. We used a Connecta ( which our grumbling baby seemed to love. comfy, supportive and altogether awesome-looking too!