Y’all! I am beyond excited to announce that I am going to be going on a couple of long walks times this year with Macs Adventure.
In just a few weeks I am going to walk St Cuthbert’s Way in Scotland with my sister! This path wanders through several ancient abbeys, beginning with Melrose Abbey and ending on Lindisfarne Island.
And then in September, Lord willing, I am going to walk the Coast to Coast in England with my dear friend Diane. The Coast to Coast is a long walk that begins by crossing the Lake District, which I fell head over heels for last fall, and then continues through the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. I am so excited about seeing more of Great Britain on foot this year!
I love this description from Bill Bryson about hillwalking in the Lake District, excerpted from his book Notes from A Small Island:
I remember when I first came to Britain wandering into a bookstore and being surprised to find a whole section dedicated to “Walking Guides.” This struck me as faintly bizarre and comical – where I came from people did not as a rule require written instructions to achieve locomotion – but then gradually I learned that there are, in fact, two kinds of walking in Britain, namely the everyday kind that gets you to the pub and, all being well, back home again, and the more earnest type that involves stout boots, Ordnance Survey maps in plastic pouches, rucksacks with sandwiches and flasks of tea, and in its terminal phase, the wearing of khaki shorts in inappropriate weather.
For years, I watched these walker types toiling off up cloud-hidden hills in wet and savage weather and presumed they were genuinely insane. And then my old friend John Price, who had grown up in Liverpool and spent his youth doing foolish things on sheer-faced crags in the Lakes, encouraged me to join him and a couple of his friends for an amble – that was the word he used – up Haystacks one weekend. I think it was the combination of the words, “amble” and “Haystacks,” and the promise of lots of drink afterwards, that lulled me from my natural caution.
“Are you sure it’s not too hard?” I asked
“Nah, just an amble,” John insisted.
Well, of course it was anything but an amble. We clambered for hours up vast, perpendicular slopes, over clattering scree and lumpy tussocks, round towering citadels of rock, and emerged at length into a cold, bleak, lofty nether world so remote and forbidding that even the sheep were startled to see us. Beyond it lay even greater and remoter summits that had been quite invisible from the ribbon of black highway thousands of feet below. John and his chums toyed with my will to live in the cruellest possible way, seeing me falling behind, they would lounge around on boulders, smoking and chatting and resting, but the instant I caught up with them with a view to falling at their feet, they would bound up refreshed and, with a few encouraging words, set off anew and large, manly strides, so that I had to stumble after and never got a rest. I gasped and ached and sputtered, and realized that I had never done anything remotely this unnatural before and never to attempt such folly again.
And then, just as I was about to lie down and call for a stretcher, we crested a final rise and found ourselves abruptly, magically, on top of the earth, on a platform in the sky, amid an ocean of swelling summits. I had never seen anything half so beautiful before. “F*** me,” I said in a moment of special eloquence and realized I was hooked.