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Forres Forest Walks
You expect not to get a lot of sleep with 3 little girls, but last week we hit a new low with my eldest 2 daughters waking me 3 times *each* one night, and the youngest one only once. Short of locking my bedroom door, I’ve tried everything – threats, praise, ignoring, sticker charts, you name it. Suddenly I realised, maybe they’ve just not been tired out enough? So I set out to rectify that...
Behind the playground in Grant Park, Forres, is a wooded hill with wide, safe tracks. After grabbing a quick picnic lunch, we set off on my initial plan of walking to the top then hitting the playground afterwards until the girls were exhausted. “What’s that yellow arrow?” Maxi Minx asked, pointing to a post with a woodland walk-style painted arrow carved on it. I’d no idea, so we decided to follow it. Just for a few minutes. In case it went somewhere. All 3 girls helped ‘navigate’: Mini spotted the correct colour of arrow to follow (we saw 4 others), Midi decided which path the arrows were pointing along, and Maxi and I discussed maintaining ‘big picture’ awareness of roughly where we were at all times.
When I noticed that we were actually no higher, but on the next hill along, I realised that this might be a long walk... Ninety minutes later, just as I was considering back-tracking, we came across a map. We’d walked a little over 2 miles. And according to the map, it was only 2.5 miles to complete the circuit. However, with Midi complaining bitterly about not listening to her mother’s advice on suitable footwear (!!) and Mini tiring rapidly, I wasn’t too impressed with myself at letting ourselves end up here with no money to grab a bus back and no map. Flexibility is the key to both air power and easier parenting and it’s not like me to end up with no options! The big-scale map suggested that I could maybe shave off 0.5 miles by taking short-cuts, but that was it.
So, with Mini and Midi swapping over being carried on my back (I’m so glad I *did* bring my trusty Carmin Fish wrap sling!) and Maxi encouraging and distracting her little sisters (“Oh look, a tractor!) we made it back, 2 hours later. We dodged hungry adult cygnets and their attentive parents, were agog at the biggest dragonflies I’ve ever seen, and found some likely spots to come back bilberry picking in autumn.
The next day we all agreed on 3 things:
- Tiring the minxes out till they can barely put a foot forward = fewer night-time wakings (though it doesn’t cut it out altogether, alas. Pass the matchsticks!)
- We need to try the other eight of the Forres network of walks, and found some brilliant guides here: http://www.forresfootpathstrust.org.uk/walks.htm
- Midi Minx will never again insist on wearing crocs when we go out walking!