After over eight years of living in the Netherlands, I've wanted to go to see the famous sand dunes, affectionately called the Dutch mountains by the locals themselves. I have absolutely no sense of direction. Really! It's so bad, I'm told I'm gifted! Anyway, for eight years I've been regularly visiting an expat food shop near The Hague. Most times we even make a day out of it, as it's a two hour drive each way, so husband and one of the dogs come and afterwards we go for a walk along the beach at Scheveningen. A few weeks ago, I decided a shopping trip was in order, so off we went. Instead of taking the usual road from the shop to the beach, my husband said he thought there was a smaller beach close by. So, just spur of the moment, we decided to take a look. Low and behold - sand dunes! For some strange reason, I thought they were the other side of the country (told you, I'm gifted!). Guess who didn't wear sensible shoes, let alone take her camera?! My phone battery had 20%, but I did manage to get a few simple snaps, but of course nothing special. But I knew I had to go back there. So a couple of days later we did just that. We took my little shih tzu with us, and he loved running about on a long lead. I got some photos, but none I was truly happy with, but I enjoyed the hike, and we came back with a tired out dog and arm ache from carrying him for a big part of it!
Hubby told me there were other dunes, in North Holland and that these ones should be taller and more impressive. He didn't know I'd wanted to visit them until that day. So after looking them up, and choosing a rather nice 10km hiking trail, off we set again. This time, with lots of camera gear, tripod, and of course the dog wouldn't turn his nose up at the chance of a walk so he came along too. The problem was, we didn't actually get to the dunes until about 6pm. I expected a 10km hike to take about two hours (perhaps a little longer if I were to get carried away taking photos).
This time, there were photo opportunities one after another. By about 8pm, I noticed the beautiful golden hour light closing in, and I was still busy taking photos. I wear a smart watch, and had set that to hiking mode, and I just glanced at it and was shocked to see we'd only walked 3km. We had less than an hour of daylight left, and 7km still to go, and lots of photos to still capture! So we discussed the possibility of turning back. What? No! I wanted to see the rest of the trail! Of course there's no lights there, it's a protected nature reserve. But surely we could just walk a little faster, and only stop if I absolutely must get a particular shot, right?
To cut a long story short, as dusk was soon fully upon us, we saw a cyclist go past in the distance. So, with the light rapidly fading, and by this point we were then about 4.5km in, we decided to join the cycle path as it was a better option than trying to walk through the dunes in the pitch black. So between us, carrying camera bag, tripod and shih tzu, we headed towards where we'd seen the cyclist. We found the cycle path, and got out our phones to use the torches. We finally emerged from the dunes at just gone 10pm. But it was worth it. So we weren't really 'lost' in the dunes, but that was no thanks to me! The cycle path was a good choice. I think we would have struggled to walk on that terrain in the dark. We only shaved off about half a kilometre from the route, according to my watch.