Point England Walkway
While living in England, I learned to ramble. The English can talk incessantly about the weather, but this is not the rambling I mean. To ramble: to find paths, ancient and modern; to succumb to the primal urge to explore, to discover new horizons of culture, history and geography; to spend a day with nothing more than a map, sometimes a compass, a bird identification book, good walking shoes, and curiosity.
Tired of Covid19 lockdown in Auckland for all of April, 2020, it was now time to ramble.
But why not a Ramble? Big R. Like in England. I’ll improvise. I could join up the parks, green belts, coastal strips, lookouts, rugby fields, and children’s playgrounds.
I choose ANZAC day, a Saturday, inviting a compliant and enthusiastic member of my bubble, Bonnie, to join me.
Bonnie drives her shoulder into a fresh pile of horse poo as soon as we are through the first kissing gate of Meadowbank Pony Club, at the beginning of the Point England Walkway. “She’ll wash off in the tide” I console myself.
The horses stamp in protest at her presence, and I put her back on her leash. The rising sun, glorious in its ANZAC memories invites us down the hill. A distant bugler’s Last Post drifts across Glen Innes below.
We drop down Apirana Reserve, into Eastview, then Taniwha, and along Tom Court Memorial Walkway in Maybury Reserve, a grand avenue of firey gold and orange trees saluting us. We are then confronted with a construction site: the council is working on drainage and stream rejuvenation. “Find a path” I command Bonnie, who jumps into the creek. Improvising, we push around through tall wet grass, emerging on Elstree Ave, just short of the Glen Innes swimming pool.
Its vacant carpark is a memorial to days of human contact and hurried fitness. We discover a lake behind, teaming with birdlife: mallard ducks just sitting, juvenile gulls learning to fly, kingfisher slyly surveying the scene and two herons standing guard on a log. Indignant plovers screech in protest at Bonnie, while a squadron of pukekos lifts awkwardly into the air, their legs trailing behind them. We now have a choice: take the