Walking Through Mud is Quite Tricky

Quick update: Still in Germany. Went to Limburg yesterday where I bought a red felt bag (hooray!) and some new Tom’s shoes that I had been wanting but couldn’t find in Paris or buy on the internet because the website wouldn’t accept my French address (hooray!). Have eaten good food. Today we’re driving along the Moselle river. Went on an amazing chair lift ride into the hills where there was a spectacular view of the Rhein river. The end.

Ok, now back to my adventures in Holland. There is one event in particular that I feel I need to share with everyone as it isn’t every day you get to do this. Previous visits to Holland had included discussions with my Dutch family where they described a local activity that I heard to be a glorious stroll through low-tide waters to a deserted island. Much fun is had, the sun shines and everyone has a jolly good time. And so when my third cousin (or something like that) Judit contacted me via Facebook to ask whether or not I was coming to Holland with my parents and if I was still keen to go ‘mud walking’ my immediate response was, “Yes please!”¬†Oh, how young and naive I was when I made that decision three or so weeks ago…

Judit and her sister, boyfriend, mother and father came and picked up Mum, Tom and me and off we drove for two hours to get to the most northern point of Holland in the province of Groningen. The day before, the three of us had been busy running around el-cheapo shops buying ankle-high shoes, socks, shorts and warm jumpers to wear as it rapidly became clear that what we were about to do wasn’t quite as sun-shiny as I expected. The forecast for the day was 15 degrees with showers and as we were about to walk out into the North Sea, we were required to wear shorts in order to not get soggy pants. Crazy dutch.

We finally arrived at our destination and it started raining. We all jumped in and out of cars changing into our mud-walking togs and scoffing sandwiches before our three-hour trek. And here’s where we walked:

mud walking
Somewhere out there is the edge of the North Sea

We were accompanied by two guides who took us from the safety of a dijk to down onto the sea bed of the North Sea. In summer, during low tide, the water between the north of Holland and some islands off the coast recedes and groups of insane Dutch men/women walk towards the water. Why? I’m not sure. I suspect they think the resulting mud on the sea bed does good things to the skin on their feet because considering the wind, rain and general stupidity of the activity, I can’t think of many other good reasons to do mud walking.

I kid. It was actually ridiculously, stupidly fun. I am not one to get my feet dirty on a daily basis and I much prefer being clean, tidy and germ-free. So the act of intentionally walking into large expanses of mud was very beneficial to my mental health, I think. I was dressed for the occasion and knew what I was getting myself into (sort of) and therefore loved the fact that my shoes filled with greeny-black mud. See?

mud walking

Squidgy

We did the beginners’ walk which meant that for most of the time the mud was ankle deep at the most. On occasion you would hit a patch of soggier mud where you would sink a little further or harder mud where you were practically walking along a beach. There were two patches of mud that proved slightly trickier. We had been given the advice to take “quick, short steps” which is well and good to say when you suddenly discover your calf is engulfed in mud. It was deep. There’s probably deeper mud in the world but at that point in time I quickly thought back to the advice Bear Grylls had given about what to do in quick sand. Mum and I had been walking through the mud together to avoid potential death-by-mud and I soon realised that she had sunk slightly further than I had. She had clearly forgotten the ‘short quick steps’ advice and instead had both of her legs knee-deep in mud and had then lost balance and fallen forward slightly. Not so good. I thought I would have to leave my mother in the North Sea forever more but luckily the guides had saved stranded tourists from mud previously and gave her a large walking pole to stick into the mud and hoist herself out of it. Of course, by this stage I had been rapidly sinking further into the squidgy darkness and had to save myself while the guide took care of Mum.

So it all worked out ok in the end. No one died. No one was left to sink into the great unknown. And everyone enjoyed themselves. We were all a bit grubby by the end of it, particularly Mum who had some nice brown patches in some amusing areas on her pants. We eventually reached the North Sea and everyone cleaned their shoes in the water. It was bloody windy and I think I caught a cold as a result of it but it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that I really enjoyed. And will never do again.

Mudwalking

I made it!

You can see more photos and movies on my Flickr site, should you be interested.

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One Response to “Walking Through Mud is Quite Tricky”

  1. Chuck says:

    Walking through mud is nothing. To become world champion my training included walking across fields of lava wearing only my boxers. It made me tough.

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