Rope Swings and Wedding Rings

When does a boy become a man, stop jumping in puddles, stop building dens, stop climbing trees and swinging on ropes? I’m twenty-eight, married and I still like to regularly do all of these things. My friend Sam is about to join the ranks of husbands and wives when he ties the knot in three weeks, across the pond in Miami.  Today we went for a hike and decided to claim the day as stag. We drove to Shirley Hills, notorious for dog walkers and doggers alike.

IMG_4741

IMG_4745

IMG_4744

We packed light, with a few cans of gin and tonic and a bottle or two of ale. I found a rope swing in Shirley Hills a few weeks ago, but thought it best not to test its strength without a buddy to heave me out of the precipice below if the rope turned out to be weak. Armed with boyish enthusiasm and a can of gin, we set off in search of the rope swing. I have an awful sense of direction which meant we walked for two hours before eventually finding it. We came to a clearing which had recently been logged. Some opportunist den builder had erected a huge structure in the clearing that resembled, from a distance, the skeleton of a brachiosaurus. The temptation to climb this wooden palace was too great for Josh who was at the summit in a flash.

IMG_4758

IMG_4762

IMG_4763

We trooped on through the woods, picking the most difficult routes we could find, to be more adventurous like. To our dismay, we reached a road. We doubled back and took a different route up a steep hill where we came across the wreck of an old car that must have careered off the road above the woodland at some speed in order to end up there.

IMG_4768

IMG_4769

IMG_4771

IMG_4773

We left the wreck and headed for a suitable area for gin drinking. I realised that we had probably walked in circles several times by this point, but was happy to enjoy the scenery all the same. We found a small clearing with another den. This den was very well built and somewhat permanent. The builder had decided to wrap the thing in barbed wire as if to ward off any would be den saboteurs.

IMG_4779

IMG_4780

IMG_4781

Josh refused to get in the barbed wire den, even though I assured him it would make a glorious picture. We left it, empty and abandoned and went in search of somewhere less prison like for a gin.

IMG_4789

IMG_4792

IMG_4794

Thirst quenched, we continued our hunt for the rope swing. We did eventually find it, although the sun had gone down and it was starting to rain. It held my weight well enough for me to gain the confidence to hang upside down for a while. There is something quite liberating about hanging from a stick tied to a 20ft rope above a drop. We decided rope swings and beer were a good combination, messed around for fifteen minutes or so and then headed back to the car.

IMG_4804

IMG_4798

IMG_4800

Here’s to rope swings and wedding rings. Good luck Sam and Stephanie.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s