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As Kent residents and with Kent giving birth to the idea of climbing the highest point in each county with my kids, it seemed a logical point to start. And it was.
Welly boots, hats, gloves and waterproofs were packed and we set off on the most mini of adventures on four wheels.
A search on Google maps showed that Kent’s highest point was in the middle of nowhere in particular. Not in the sense of some great undiscovered wilderness, but just somewhere between a nondescript field and a small patch of woodland.
And the only place to park nearby on a long steep hill was a small, gravely road that was home to a few cottages and a few curious residents wondering what we were doing parking in their extended driveway.
I checked the map. And then checked it again. Oh.
It turned out that the only nearby parking spot was in fact Kent’s highest point. This was not quite what I had in mind. It was the exploring equivalent of Shackleton being helicoptered on top of the south pole, milling about for a few minutes and then getting back in and going home.
No, we were going to plod about in said patch of woodland looking for what seemed to be the highest point and to take a photo. Photo opportunity secured it was time for a proper explore.
Only the small patch of woodland was exactly that. Rather small and ending in the farmer’s field Google Maps had suggested. A squib as damp as the weather.
After more map studying, we spotted a road that led up the hill and decided it would have been far better to park at the bottom in the first place.
Boots off, coats off, hats off, back in the car past the bemused residents and then down to the bottom of the hill to commence the great ascent.
Then the heaven’s opened. This was more like it.
Then the complaints started. ‘I’m tired. My leg hurts. I want to go home.’
But then in the spirit of serendipity, we discovered a number of distractions to alleviate the gloom.
Firstly, that this hill contains some of the most spectacularly large, and no doubt expensive, houses in the whole county. Great forbidding gates and landscaped gardens stretching onwards and onwards on what the map called ‘The Ave’, clearly too posh for a common ‘Avenue’.
And to the left and down a steep hill was a pair of car headlights.
And a little further down a car seat.
We decided to go off-piste into the mud and relative shelter of the woodland to explore further.
A back light.
And further still half a car, with the undergrowth growing under and over and through it. But no sign of the other half.
With this the spirit of adventure was renewed among even the youngest of explorers as we climbed on and upwards towards the summit (of sorts).
Summit ascended, the mutiny set back in and having concocted this whole mini adventure, it fell to me to run back down the hill to go and fetch the car as the rain started to increase.
After a muddy ascent, I sped back up to our original destination to find the others huddled under a tree and tired.
No matter, the first county peak had been conquered – Kent belonged to us.
Views – 1/5 teddies. You can’t see the wood for the trees
Ascent – 3 teddies (1 if you park where we did). A steep and muddy ascent via a private road.
Overall rating – 2 teddies