Wel­come

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - News - Guy Proc­ter, Ed­i­tor

If you could teach a child one thing to keep them safe from life’s great­est threats, what would it be?

Self-de­fense? Risk as­sess­ment? In­ter­net se­cu­rity? How to spot a ter­ror­ist? Kill a zom­bie? Eat 5-a-day? I think it might be cu­rios­ity – about the world, about other peo­ple, about what’s pos­si­ble, how things work, what’s round the cor­ner, why we’re here and how things con­nect.

A zom­bie attack would be aw­ful, don’t get me wrong – though I would try sim­ply run­ning as a first ex­pe­di­ent; they don’t seem that quick. But cu­rios­ity’s the an­ti­dote to a threat more gen­eral and more in­sid­i­ous: that of grow­ing up a berk, a bore and ul­ti­mately a blither­ing old fool. (I don’t say I’m win­ning this bat­tle.)

That’s why this is­sue is ded­i­cated to the cu­ri­ous – though I hope that’s some­thing you could say of ev­ery is­sue of a mag­a­zine about walk­ing, an ac­tiv­ity it­self so con­ducive to won­der­ing, such a pumice to prej­u­dice.

In your joints, walk­ing spurs the pro­duc­tion of some­thing called ‘syn­ovial fluid’ – a fric­tion­less oil that helps you stay flex­i­ble and re­duces the ten­dency to in­flam­ma­tion. It scarcely does less to our thoughts and our con­ver­sa­tions. Be­cause to walk is to stay cu­ri­ous, and to stay cu­ri­ous is to stay young. And be­ing young – not least in knees and spirit – is the best life in­sur­ance you can have.

This month I’ve been... 3 2 1 1 Rev­el­ling in learn­ing about our an­cient wood­land and the stained­glass beauty of its au­tumn canopy. 2 Bump­ing into reader and fel­low #walk1000mile chal­lenger Gill Mur­phy – both of us chuffed to bits! 3 Not eat­ing this ‘Amethyst De­ceiver’. Even though it turns out to be ed­i­ble, the fact it can ac­cu­mu­late ar­senic from the soil doesn’t par­tic­u­larly fi­fill me with re­gret.

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