Everyday Adventures Hiking

Dawdle Sticks

Dawdle Sticks at Arnside
Written by Stuart Wickes

Dawdle Sticks

Stuart Profile SmallThey were two great big sticks. Maybe six inches thick and four feet long. OK more like small tree trunks but to Matt they were dawdle sticks.“I call them that because they make you dawdle,” he explained. And they certainly did. We were five hours into an eight kilometre walk and still had three kilometres to go. Not that we minded. We had time to kill, to lay down in meadows, examine trees, chew grass, share a sandwich, talk about nothing, drag sticks.

It started as one giant dawdle stick. He found it in the bush, just off the path, snapped clean off its’ mother trunk. Its’ size made such an impression he threw away little stick pistols to take charge of this cannon.

Dawdle Sticks at Arnside

I wasn’t going to help him. Your stick, you carry it.

I’m not carrying it

“Are you going to bring that with you?” I asked. He nodded, hauled the cannon out of the bush and began to drag it along the path behind him. I wondered whether to stop him but thought better of it. It’s his walk too, his stick, his experience.

We wandered on, more slowly, with frequent stops to adjust the cannon. “Will you help me Dad? It’s really heavy.” But I wasn’t going to get involved. “It’s your cannon, your choice. You can always leave it behind.”

But Matt doesn’t leave things behind easily, not once he’s decided on something. There’s something of myself in him there. Our pace slowed to a dawdle, then less than a dawdle. The cannon began to irritate me. “Will you help me Dad? It’ll be quicker.” A battle of wills was developing. I didn’t want to spoil my walk carrying a cannon.

We reached a gate and stopped for a moment. I thought we might leave it here but Matt had other ideas. He hauled the stick up and launched it over into the meadow beyond. It landed with a crack and split in two. Game over I thought. But no, now we had twin barrels.

It looked hard dragging those two logs in the sunshine. Across fields, along tracks, through styles, over gates, along the road. A half hour dragged by and there were still two kilometres to go. He sweated, stopped, wiped his brow, rested a moment, summoned strength and determination, then picked up the logs and dragged them on. “I said I would get them to Arnside and I will.” I had to admire his determination.

“Would you like a hand?” I asked. He grinned his big wide cheeky grin and I picked up the other ends of the cannons. No more dragging now, just dawdling, father and son, carrying sticks to Arnside, him at the front, me at the back, connected by dawdle sticks.

Dawdle Sticks at Arnside

They were two great big sticks, enough to make anyone dawdle

About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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