We still go walking, of course we do. But not every Friday like we used to.
For the whole of a year, last year, I wrote about our walks every week, more or less. A couple had to be called off during the howling gales and rains of last summer. This year would have been different. Here in Northern Britain we’re having our hottest summer for seven years and we certainly wouldn’t have been out walking on a day like today.
In fact several years ago, before writing it all down had been even vaguely thought of, we used to have a ‘walking season’ of approximately late September to April. After that we’d stop walking and go camping as the heat rose and a ‘normal’ summer happened. Climate change changed all that, and so walking, with its attendant thermals and waterproofs happened all year.
So that, arriving at last year and the creation of this blog, we were able to catalogue a whole year of walks. And I can see from the catalogue that this week in July last year we had our first Friday Walk for 3 climate-called-off weeks. We did ‘Running Free’ – a local Liverpool walk based on my 10k run circuit. But that was it for what was obviously a horrendous July.
It’s early August as we get going again, returning to The Shining Shore, our regular meditative walk where we came to know every tree, bush and wildflower by walking the paths so often.
Because the walks were never principally about walking. They were about needing rhythm and ritual in our lives, about deliberately not working so much, about time for each other, reflection, attention and holiday as in holy day. Sacred days, and it’s lovely to have them all documented on here.
And, inspired by a book I’ve just read, I think our year of walking might become a book. Not a book of guided walks. But a book about what we did and why we did it.
The inspirational book is ‘The Idle Traveller: The Art of Slow Travel’ by Dan Kieran. This too is a book about the philosophy of slow travel, rather than ‘Essential things to see and do in two days in Prague.’ It’s poetic about the joys of getting lost, the freedom of travel plans descending into chaos, the pleasures of slow trains and staring out of the window – and of walking around places you live close to, but usually drive past without looking.
And in this last it resembles a book we might come up with, with two big differences. He’s not me and Sarah and writing about our lives and places won’t be anything like him writing about his.
So I’m looking forward to starting this and I’ll let you know how it’s going from time to time. At the moment I’m unclear about contents, direction, publishing and even purpose. It just feels like something I’d like to do. The feeling you get when you set out on a new walk. Maps, compass, food, drink, each other, let’s go.
Then suddenly, being a Friday, a walk breaks out.
And after lunch walk along the river path to New Ferry, behind the big houses and gardens of Rock Park.
Where we’ve been walking and working this week, at The Florrie with LHT.
‘The Idle Traveller’ is highly recommended.