Found on foot

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - News -

many artists and po­ets; and an en­hanced ‘at­tune­ment’ to na­ture, an aware­ness not just of our place in the world, but the world’s place in us. If this list is in any way valid, and I be­lieve that it is, then it maps ex­traor­di­nar­ily neatly onto the whole ex­pe­ri­ence of walk­ing in the coun­try­side alone. I get a sense of joy­ful­ness, beauty and well-be­ing that not much else gives me. Walk­ing with oth­ers is fun, but walk­ing alone is bliss­ful.

The case against such ac­tiv­ity, apart from the dis­ap­proval that some peo­ple seem to feel about any­one choos­ing to do any­thing alone is that it is dan­ger­ous – that solo walk­ers put them­selves at risk and cause dis­tress to them­selves and anx­i­ety to oth­ers. You prob­a­bly do not have a greater chance of fall­ing or get­ting lost on your own, but the con­se­quences are po­ten­tially more se­ri­ous. I do ac­cept that and be­lieve the risks are worth mit­i­gat­ing – if I am go­ing off the beaten track I leave a note on my front door or the dash­board of my car say­ing where I am head­ing and when I ex­pect to be back. (I also carry a lighter so could cre­ate a smoke col­umn, but have never had to do so.) But mit­i­ga­tion is enough for me. Life is a risky busi­ness – and some things are worth the risk: like love, courage and a hen har­rier hunt­ing low on the slope be­low you as you walk a high wind­blown ridge with the views drop­ping away on both sides in si­lence and soli­tude and joy. Arc­tic Terns, those el­e­gant lit­tle sea birds with black caps and red legs, who will dive bomb you with suf­fi­cient vigour to draw blood dur­ing their nest­ing sea­son, travel up to 59,000 miles (more than twice round the earth) on their an­nual mi­gra­tion, the long­est on record. MARCH 2017

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