Posts Tagged ‘Walking’

Birthday walk

Most years, I have insisted on the family walking in the countryside as my birthday treat. It has provoked bad temper and resentment. As this year was a special birthday, I had three days walking, at which the kids only had to join for one day.

Eliza and Robin

Amongst the 30 walkers who set out on Saturday morning were Eliza and Robin’s friends E & A, also brother and sister.  They entertained each other throughout the hilly walk to the pub and the flat, canalside return. As the adults trudged through the afternoon, weighed down by lunch and beer, in the unseasonal hot weather (which made me very grateful for the summer hat that Eliza had given me as a birthday present), Robin and A covered much more distance than was needed, by running back and forward along the canal.

In the evening, these four had a table to themselves in the room set aside for our dinner. But the walk had taken its toll, as the two boys fell asleep on the sofas in the bar area, while we dined slowly.

Gabe

Gabe has in prior years been the least reconciled to my birthday walk, but rose to this occasion. He puffed hard as we followed the hilly trail in the bright morning sunshine, asking regularly how much further to the pub for lunch. But he kept up a good pace, staying with me as I hurried to reach the pub in time for the other guests’ arrival. On the return, he walked with Malc, L and me joining in our contented chat. In the evening, he milled and mixed with my friends who stayed for dinner.

A highlight of three wonderful days’ outdoors, was Gabe’s decision to walk again with five friends and me on Sunday. We were back into the hills and there was rain as we set off. But he was at his sociable, mature best. Towards the end of the walk, he conceded that he was so tired as to feel in a daze, but he saw the trip through without complaint.

 

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Easter Sunday walk

Kids in pyjamas, watching TV: “What are we doing today, Daddy?”

“We’re going for a walk.”

Cue complaints, arguments, insubordination. Then, Robin: “I don’t mind. Where are we going?”

We arrived in Bollington in bright sun. While I orientated myself, the boys played with a tennis ball and a basketball hoop and Eliza scaled a climbing frame. We set off, up to a Viaduct and noisily along a disused railway line. The noise was chat, not carping. Gabe set the question: “Money no object, where would you go on holiday?” Then, “if you could have three second homes, where would they be?”

“One would be under the sea,” said Eliza. 

We completed our outward stretch, then headed back along a canal. Holding my hand, Eliza went through a detailed description of one of her non-sub maritime second homes. 

As we came back into Bollington, Gabe moved onto ‘your favourite three course meal’. L had two – an Indian and another meal. From that it was a straightforward step to a pub for lunch and a group of, if initially reluctant, then ultimately satisfied, walkers. 

Lucklaw Hill

We climbed Lucklaw Hill together. Gabe had asked if we could climb a hill and the other two came willingly. That surprised me; their good-spirited walking delighted and astonished me.

Taking the steepest route up, all three were excited by the views across Fife all the way to St Andrews. At the summit, Eliza wanted to be lifted onto the trig point for a photo to show L. They ate a mini-roll each in blasting wind. They ran together down a gentle slope to the wooded route of our descent, where Gabe led them on a another run.

There was no bad temper just a little anxiety. Gabe’s was whether we were allowed to walk where I led them. Eliza showed concern that we might fall from the steep slope into the quarry. Robin worried that a golden eagle may swoop and carry him away.

Back up the hill they dashed when I shouted ‘deer’ in time to see the bright white bottoms of the dark haired deer. Eliza sent Robin running away down a field clapping so she could test whether light travelled faster than sound. When I saw an eagle below us we crept down the hill to the road and followed the bird as it flew into the next field. For 15 minutes, they took turns to stare through my binoculars at a muddy field. I judged it better to allow them that than to contradict their opinion that they were observing the eagle. Then back to the car, with our lungs full of fresh air and ears empty of moans.