Footpaths vs eyepaths

We McCoys went walking in Wilsons Prom on the long weekend.  Good weather rarely falls within my otherwise rich and wide blessing-spectrum, so I can only assume that we were among the many beneficiaries of some other camper’s weather blessing.  Bless them, whoever they are.

Anyway, at one point we were all sauntering along the above track, happy as.

We were on our way to see this

And this

Suddenly the track opened up from being windy to semi-straight.  There was an immediate groan from the kids.  ‘Is it really that far?’ (or something like that, which I have to add so that when my kids read this and point out that that is not exactly what they said, I’m covered).

It was the perfect demonstration of an old landscape principle that says something like ‘Don’t make the foot take a path the eye has already walked’.

While the path winded we could walk it for ages, but the moment we could see too far ahead, fatigue set in.

It makes it sort of tough for gardens like this… Vaux-le-Vicomte, France.

The magic problem/solution combo is when you see well ahead, but the path takes you in another direction.  I’ve hardly ever seen such a literal example of this as on a recent visit to Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s place just outside of Washington DC.  The front lawn is very simply flanked by sinuous plantings of trees.

If you think that’s not quite long enough to justify using as an example, check the view from the original front gates below (which you don’t use any more – we had to skirt around the block, hunting for them).  But when this entrance was in use, you didn’t take the route that you could see.  The old drive wound off to the left of the pic, and the house didn’t appear again until you were virtually on the doorstep.  Likewise for the visitor of today.  The first view you get of the house is that above, but you don’t walk that way.  The paths wind around behind the planting on either side, passing through both veggie and flower gardens, before reappearing right near the house.

Not a bad way to chew up a few spare acres…

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