I walk quite a lot. I’m lucky enough to live close enough to the UCL to be able to walk to work (which is quite a luxury in London) and so each morning and evening I trek the two-and-a-half miles or so between Bloomsbury and Islington. Fitness-wise, it keeps the wolf from the door, so to speak, and it saves the cost of a travelcard each month, which more than offsets the increased wear-and-tear on shoe leather.
But it doesn’t stop there, oh no. This weekend I’m off to the Lake District in Cumbria for a some proper walking. Walking that doesn’t involve anything as effete as a pavement. Walking that involves maps, Proper Boots and the sort of clothing that markets itself as Hi-Tech. In other words, I’m going hiking. There will be sandwiches, fresh air, and Ordnance Survey maps. Should be a lot of fun.
Hiking is something that’s in the family. My Grandfather, George, started going to the Lakes back in the 1930s and kept on going for the next sixty years. My dad and his brother and sister were all raised on hiking and climbing and they in turn dragged my generation along as well. Early on, Granddad joined that most venerable of Lake District institutions, the Fell&Rock Climbing Club and later started a club of his own: The Tuesday Climbing Club.
Since he died, the Tuesday Climbing Club have held a weekend of walking in George’s honour, and this weekend is the George Hall memorial meet. This year there will be a small gaggle of Halls in attendance. If previous experience is anything to go by, we will attempt a day’s walking that really shouldn’t be tackled in less than three. This will involve at least four summits, at least one of which will be quite hard to identify until you’ve left it. It will be cold and (possibly) dry, but the air will be fresh and the views will be spectacular.
That, plus a sturdy pair of ear-plugs to keep out the snoring when sharing a dorm with my aforementioned relatives (at least the male ones) and it should be a fine weekend. Buttermere here we come.