Mittwoch, 21. September 2011

Exotic Island: From London Gatwick to High Ashurst

Of course I have to write this in english, I try to forget my american, and remember what I learned at school.
"half seven" means natürlich halb Acht (the "past" is left out).
The flight with easy Jet: They dont have seat reservation (what do you want for 300 Euro???), so the crowd turns into a stampede when the dors of the bus opens. I managed to be early enough to have a window place. But this was luck. I was last in the bus, but first to get out.
The pass controll took longer than in Turkey. What a desastrous organisation! One short but extremely slow line (electronic passport control - what the fuck???) and a very long but faster lane .... people in the slow lane were just pissed.
Ok, then buying a ticket and finding the platform was ok (well, only one wrong information is for exotic countries ok, isnt it?)
I could buy a bottle apple juice and a roll with something (couldnt find out what) inside.

The train was normal, through typical british countryside. But this would change soon.
Getting out in Dorking. Here was end of public transfer. I had decided to walk. My equipment: Two maps and compass.

I walked along the road, got almost hit by a car (doesnt give you any information about appoaching cars first looking left - they come from right). Walked in direction of the hills.
Beautiful meadow, I am heading towards the hill I have to cross:

but: I was stopped by a river, to deep to walk through.

Now the adventure starts. I do not want to waste too much time, since its 30 minutes before sunset, but I have to walk back and spend 30 minutes walking until I found a bridge.

The forest changes immediately to a ral jungle. I felt like on an exotic island. I never thought to find such trees on england...

Fortunately there are paths through the jungle, otherwise I wouldnt be able to go, and the footpath goes straight the very steel hill up. I had real troubles to climb up in my sneakers, and when taking off my pullover I dropped my glasses.
I realised it 20 meters later, but was too lazy to go back. Bad mistake. I need my glasses to read the map.
But at this moment I didnt need the map, just vertikal upwards.

Would you expect such a jungle on England??

After half an hour I reached the top.
I found a road, met some locals, asked them: Which direction to Ashurst? No idea. Ashurst unknown. So I took my "map" (a screenshot from the homepage of the conference center and of google maps), took the compass and had to leave the road.
Willst Du Abenteuer erleben, verlasse den gebahnten Pfad im rechten Winkel" the famous american John Muir quoted: You wanna have an adventure? Leave the trail in a right angle (translated by myself). I did it, and since all paths and roads go North-south and I had to go West-East I did this several times.
I tried to find my spare glasses but cou´dlnt find them. Bad thing, I can not read the map without glasses. So I just estimated and guessed and continued towards my compass direction. Through woods, bad pants-destroying raspberry or bblackberry bushes ... meantime it was dark, and suddeenly I was oon a meadow and saw the lights of London... Very nice. I was quite lost, because I could not read the map any more, no names, no roads. I also didnt want to call somebody ("Hey Nick, I am lost." - "where are you?" - "I dont know, lost in the hills" - quite embarrassing for a mountain guide.)
I crossed some fences, passed a lonely house (with automatic lights, fortunately no dogs), crossed another fence, it started smelling like cattle, I saw crap of cattle, I am afraid of cattle. And considering the size of the crap, I could imagine the size of the bull. Imagine waking up a bull in the night?? so I backed up and walked along the fence north.
Siddenly there was a door "prohibeted walk through), I walked through, saw people, buildings, went inot abuilding, and I was welcome! I just found it (coming from a wrong direction) so I had a bed and shelter.
2 hours after I left Dorking I was at my destination: Not due to my orienteering abilities, but due to crap.
Here is my real route:

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