Once upon a time, two hapless tourists, a boy and a girl, went in search of a famous waterfall in Wales.
A large sign plonked in the middle of the great wild wilderness told them that they were only two miles away from the most famous waterfall in the area, the Sgwd yr Eira.
The sign included a map that was impossible to follow unless you’re the bloke who drew it because it was drawn to a scale of 1:1 billion.
Right from the start, the trail was rough and dirty, decorated with mud tracks that sometimes turned into swimming pools.
If you didn’t feel like having a swim, you would have to skirt around on the banks.
The boy and girl found themselves skirting a lot.
Sometimes it was fine and there was walkable land on either side.
Sometimes it wasn’t fine.
Some banks were shut away by fences.
Some banks were grassy death traps with hidden bogs and pits underneath them that wanted to swallow your foot hole.
Some banks were entire hills that you had to climb.
After which you had to find a good spot to climb down again.
The boy and girl got into an adventure worthy of famous nursery rhymes.
Jack and Jill went up the hill to get away from mud-pools.
Jack leapt down and said, “Woohoo!”
And Jill followed very slowly and carefully and looking very uncool.
Second by challenging second, Jack and Jill picked their way through the rough terrain, which got rougher and crazier the further they went. A few times, there were diverging paths without road signs.
Once, they had to backtrack because one of the paths led to a dead end.
Another time, they had to climb over a locked gate, which signalled to Jill (with angry red beacons flashing in her head) that they were definitely on the wrong track.
But before she could protest, Jack said, “Listen! I can hear a waterfall. We’re near!”
Jill listened very hard, but all she could hear was her tummy rumbling.
They plodded on.
And came across a massive construction of logs that stretched about half the length of an Olympic stadium.
The path through was a muddy quicksand. Jack threw a large rock at it and it got eaten up whole. On the other side was death-trap boggy grass.
The safest way past this obstacle was to hug the logs and hope that there weren’t any termites in them.
When they came to the end of the log trail, they had to stop. Ahead of them spread a giant death-trap field, which they couldn’t see before because the log trail was that long and a bit curvy.
The mud path veered sharply to the right and continued to be equally muddy all the way as far as the eye could see.
According to Jack’s interpretation of the map, the waterfall lay straight ahead, so they didn’t want to follow the mud path to the right. But straight ahead looked like certain death.
It had been a whole hour since Jack and Jill started their trek, so Jill felt it was about time to put her muddy foot down.
“We should have reached the waterfall half an hour ago!” she said, “I’m turning back!”
Defeated by Jill’s defeat as well as stupid terrain, Jack reluctantly agreed.
They went back the direction they came, picking different sides of paths to walk on to see if it was easier.
It wasn’t. No matter where they went, they found themselves challenged by deadly hidden bogs and toxic swimming pools.
Still, they persevered, not particularly because they were the persevering kind, but mostly because it was nearly dinner time and they didn’t want to spend the night out in the wilderness munching on twigs and grass.
And, finally, when they were perhaps ten minutes away from the starting point, they saw this.
A tiny little path branching off from the main path, which they must have missed the first time because they were busy climbing up and down a hill to avoid muddy tracks.
Was the right branch the path they were supposed to take??
Disappointed Jack and exhausted Jill went a little closer to study the new trail.
HELLO, WHAT IS THIS LITTLE YELLOW STICKER ON THE FENCE POST?!
Public footpath, it said, in Lilliputian lettering that was turned 90 degrees the wrong way.
This must have been where they were supposed to go.
But who was going to see a tiny yellow arrow hidden on the side of a fence post even if they hadn’t at that point been walking atop a hill to avoid a mud bath?!
In any case, the public trail looked just as bad as the other one.
Jack and Jill couldn’t be bothered anymore. They walked back to their car and put an end to their two-hour misadventure.
And no one lived happily ever after, except maybe a couple of sheep encountered along the trail, who had looked at the intruders warily because Jack had tried to trick them into feeling friendly by making sheep noises at them but he wasn’t any good at it, and the sheep thought so, too.