All through my teens and well into adulthood I spent a lot of time outdoors, shooting fishing camping-out. I did a lot of walking and so friendships were often short-lived. When we were young, oh man, when we were young, how many times have you heard that said? Mates, kids that we grew up with, went to school with, lived side by side with, in our street were told by their parents " keep away from him, he's a poacher. I would have been about thirteen, " How cool was that? A feather in the cap or what?
There were the few, "bad uns " some would say, although looking back now, we weren't so bad, certainly not by today's standards. We liked to walk the fields and more often than not it was just us three, "Peas in a Pod " others said and not intended as a compliment but that didn't bother us. Okay, so we set a few snares. We had our dogs, all mongrels of various persuasions. We had our prized home made catapults and sometimes managed to take the odd Pheasant or Duck. A Moorhen or Coot sometimes, if caught napping, when we walked the marshes, but I don't think we caused any real harm. I wouldn't describe those times as especially happy days. Sure, there must have been good times, we were just three youngsters, living and growing, together.
Well anyway, once we hit open fields we'd make for the old dis-used railway line that cut through our part of the country, thanks Mr.Beeching, and then walk, maybe six or seven miles, wandering off exploring marshes woodlands rivers inlets anything and everything. We got wet, we got muddied, arses hanging out of our jeans but it didn't matter. Sometimes taking shelter in ramshackle huts that had been provided for the men that had worked the lines back in the day.
Our routes varied, there was no set plan of course but there was this small cottage set within just a few yards of the line where a road crossed it, I can't ever remember there being barriers there, certainly not in my time, the nearest village must have been some five or six miles away, there was just this old mill, that had been converted in to quite a large house, straddling the river that ran parallel with the railway line and because the cottage on the line was situated roughly midway between two railway stations and because it was where we would sit and rest for a while in we called it " halfway house ".
I hope you guys won't mind my having posted this. It's been so long and it just struck a chord with me.
I still have my old catapult.