Footpath rage

>>  Saturday, September 23, 2017

 It started out as a lovely walk on a lovely day, it was a risk assessment walk following the route I planned to take the Rangers on at night for a night hike.
 Kerry Hill sheep are always so comical.

And all was going well until we go to the point in the route that walks up this house's drive and across a field very close to the house.

We were initially greeted by 4 out of control dogs barking, showing teeth and generally being frighteningly aggressive.
Finally a woman yelled out of a window but I couldn't tell what she was saying as the dogs were all around us barking and growling.

Then I heard a man shout "you are going the wrong way" but I couldn't  locate where the voice was coming from.

The woman yelled again about walking back to the hedge.  I had no idea what hedge she was talking about and we were definitely on the bridleway path.  I was totally confused.

We headed back down the drive (or official bridleway) towards a hedge on the edge of a field and started to walk along it (house side).  I could see where I was on the map and knew I was off path.  I could see where the official path would be.  As we walked along the hedge a man raced towards us in a small farm vehicle and told us that we should be the other side of the hedge.  I told him that we were off the path and showed him how it went across his property.

He initially accused me of 'not being local' because locals knew to walk the other side of the hedge.  He then accused me of not being able to read a map and that I should not be where I was.  He expressed 'concern' about what his dogs might do to me.

Luckily I was in guider mode and stayed completely calm.  I pointed out that the path went across the property, that I was on the right path previously, he had forced me off it and it was my right of way to walk across it, if he felt it more appropriate to send walkers a different way then he should sign post it.   He said "why should I put signs up, it's not my fault if people can't read maps, no one has ever had a problem except you"

  ( I hate that 'no one else has ever' tactic.  It's an emotional manipulator used by people to try to put themselves in a position of power, luckily I'm old enough to know that I am not the individual I once thought I was and lots of people will do what I do, none of us are truly individual!)

Again I told him that I had a right of way and he finally said "well if you really want to walk it you can but I don't know what the dogs will do", I told him I felt threatened by that - which he got very angry at and demanded I tell him how he had threatened me.

I told him I would speak to the council on his behalf, that it would be very helpful if they put up some signage to show the path walkers should take in order to avoid any doubt and confusion and that could only help him.  That shut him up.

He knew damn well he was intimidating us off the correct path, that he is not allowed to put up signs sending people in the wrong direction, that he has taken down signs that the council will have put up before.  Basically he was a rich man throwing his posh voice and aggressive dogs around to intimidate walkers away from his property.

The shame of it is the route he wants people to take doesn't seem unreasonable, he should either work with the council to get it diverted and the maps changed or just put up a damned sign saying "I'd prefer it if you walked this way over this permissive path" and not tell the council.  They don't have the man power to go out and check these things!!  Although I suspect he doesn't own the field he is diverting walkers through, on the other side of the hedge,  but he could ask people to walk the perimeter of his property, like I was trying to do after his wife shouted at me.

What worried me most is I told him twice I was doing an assessment walk before taking a group of guides out that way and he did not acknowledge that, did not ask for a date (in order that he could keep his dogs under control).  He just had a massive sense of self importance and entitlement.

This is the side of the hedge I was walking (the correct side)

 And the gate later on that takes you off his property that is clearly marked with a council marker.

If you are interested: The lower green dashed line is the bridleway we were on,  the red line is the route we took, the purple line is the route he wanted us to take (and I would have done had there been a sign)  X1 is where the dogs started being aggressive, X2 is where the woman made us turn back and X3 is where the man met us to intimidate us further.

I have of course reported it to the overstretched and under resourced council, I intend to speak to the ramblers association about it but nastiness will win over, I've decided I can't risk taking the Rangers near the property because of the dogs.  I will do a double back route rather than a round circle.

The whole experience showed me 2 things:

1)  Wealth and a posh voice is not an indicator of good breeding.

2)  That I always thought that my reaction of a tendency to get shouty in difficult situations was the reason they were so difficult and stressful, whereas in this case I remained totally calm and it was still difficult and stressful BUT I did not get the satisfaction of telling him exactly what I thought of him.  So I will return to the me that I am because it makes no damned difference to their behaviour but all the difference to me. Calling a twat a twat to their face is totally more cathartic than any moral high ground.

oh and there's a 3:

3) When walking through a town wondering who left the gate open at the cunt farm it helps to know that sometimes the farmer is from exactly the same gene pool.


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