An adventure in Bear Grylls’ trousers

Dougie walking on Balcary Bay
Dougie walking on Balcary Bay
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess

After traipsing around Snowdonia in either jeans or shorts, my man decided he needed a proper pair of walking trousers; something more practical and waterproof. A scout round the outdoor shops at Springfields in Spalding and he was drawn to a half-price Bear Grylls pair in Craghoppers.

With the survival expert’s stamp of approval, Dougie was smitten with his new trews. Grey and black, with pockets for his usual doctor kit of rubber gloves, steri-strips and antihistamines, he was all set for last week’s trip to Scotland.

The endurance breeks were given their first outing on the beautiful cliffs of the Solway coast. Setting off from the Balcary Bay Hotel, where we were staying for two nights, a two hour hike around the bay would surely test their resilience.

Setting off, we had superb views across to Hestan Island, once the hiding place for smugglers and their contraband. Our map indicated a rocky outcrop, Daft Ann’s Steps, named after a young lass who took a short cut to the island and perished on the submerged rocks.

Daft Dougie and I, meanwhile, strode on round the bay where we spotted the stack, Lot’s Wife, a formidable rock formation a little way out from the cliffs. Thankfully the path became a little easier after that and led down to the beach where Dougie imagined we could, if stuck, have fashioned a shelter behind large boulders.

Discovering that Dougie had only brought water and no other provisions, I rooted around in my own bag and couldn’t even find a fluff-covered cough sweet to nourish us. Mr Grylls would not have been pleased.

Dougie reassured me that we had only just had breakfast and this was only a short walk, but nonetheless we wondered what we would do if we began to starve. Thankfully we found some bramble bushes further on and gratefully scoffed a handful of berries.

The final stretch of the walk took us through a field with a bull. We could see the beast, lying down in the distance. It looked more like a lion to me, resting in the Serengeti. I started to hum ‘Hakuna Matata’ in an effort to stay cheerful but when Mufasa hoisted himself up and started to lumber towards us, we quickened our step and reached the kissing gate before he did.

Later in the day, invigorated by our hike, we spent the afternoon in the nearby town of Kirkcudbright. In a quiet street we saw an elderly woman peering into the boot of her car. She spied Dougie in his performance trousers and called out for assistance. Could he help lift her Irish Setter, Grace, out of the boot as she was refusing to budge. Not being a dog person, Dougie was initially wary. But he pulled up his pants, wrapped his arms round the dog’s back end, and together they lifted Grace from the car.

Bear Grylls would have been very proud.

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