The day before visiting Hergest Ridge in Herefordshire I had actually aborted mission in the Frome Valley. Reason being, first I had forgotten my quick release clamp, without that could not use my tripod. Ok, lets improvise I will just take handheld shots, a mile into the journey my memory card was full and not brought a spare and then I started to get lost using the AA guide.
To and From Kington
Hopefully today I would make up for it with some great landscape pics from atop Hergest Ridge in Herefordshire. Quite a journey from my base in Pershore in Worcestershire to Kington of around 50 miles but it was going to be a very warm spring sunny day on Hergest Ridge, I had applied lots of factor 50 to my balding head.
In Kington could park all day for £1.50, I really love these Herefordshire towns on the border with Wales like longtown and the Black hills, sleepy little places lost in time, unknown or forgotten, a place maybe one could retire one day especially with a camera with great walks over Hergest Ridge and other hills nearby.
I was following the AA walk for Hergest Ridge and from the map looked pretty simple enough although around 8 miles. At Kington could not load up ordnance survey online maps to my mobile phone, not a problem with Ordnance survey online maps but problem with my provider Vodafone. For UK I recommend EE for outdoors they tend to have more coverage and 4G.
As for actual device I use a smart mobile phone but more at the cheaper end, I recommend the Moto G5 now by Lenovo. Great thing with this smart phone is that its Dual SIM, so you could have two different internet providers. You also want a minimum of 16GB storage and option for external memory it quickly fills up with Apps. At the more expensive end of the cheap range of smart phones is the Lenovo P2 with a larger 5.5″ screen boasting two days battery life which could be invaluable if you get lost out in the Herefordshire wilderness. But what I would not use a smart phone for is taking any serious photographs especially landscape 😉
Talking of getting lost and not having an good internet connection out in the field thats exactly what keeps happening when I solely rely on the AA walks.
Now these AA walking series are great for getting some ideas and some background reading but I would not rely on their printed maps or written directions, I keep getting lost with these AA guides and its really frustrating and time wasting seriously detracting from the days enjoyment.
Its much better you are able to load Ordnance survey maps on your smart phone and plot your route along the footpaths using your GPS or alternatively or as a backup print out the map before leaving. When you do get lost you need to rely on a compass so as to correctly head in a general direction say north to try and get back on track. Thats exactly what happened to me on this photo walk around Hergest Ridge.
Towards Hergest Ridge
The walk started well enough leaving Kington with some pretty pastures and noticing buttercups in the fields for the first time this year.
It was along the banks of the river Arrow that I first got lost following the well trodden path of the Herefordshire trail.
Whereas I should have carried on forward through a crop field, this would have been crystal clear with Ordnance survey map loaded up on my smart phone with GPS tracking. I wasted about an hour here before backtracking.
Lost Again Head North
It felt good to be back on track at Bredward and Hergest Bridge. But then I got lost again following the written directions in the AA guide. I never made it to Upper Hergest. Using the compass on my watch I just had to cut north through fields in the general direction of Hergest ridge and Offa’s Dyke Path.
Very stressed but at a place called Bage I took a rest and admired the views over Herefordshire. The water in my bottle was now warm from the sunshine. I then made it up to the place called the race course on Hergest Ridge and was on Offa’s Dyke Path but way down from the Trig Point.
Due to the bright sunny day I mostly used a polariser for these landscape pics. Maybe not always the best choice with a wide angle lens anything below 24mm as the shades of blue can get out of kilter. But we live and learn.
By now I was tired having lost a lot of energy and time getting lost due to the AA walking directions.
My water bottle was empty and I was thirsty for some Ale. So I followed the other walkers and beaten track down Offas Dyke way back into Kington and had a nice well deserved pint in the Burton Hotel. Next time maybe make a weekend of it, stay in the hotel overnight especially when there is going to be a great sunrise and sunset.