TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess
Did you catch ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Walks last week? I sat on the sofa, coffee and biscuit in hand, shouting at the telly, “Been there!” “Done that one!” until I had ticked off about a quarter of the Top 100 walks that were shown.
Feeling very smug, I shared my list with Dougie who proceeded to laugh. He inspected my list and together we looked a little closer at my rambling achievements.
We began with Scotland. Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh he conceded I had probably tackled, when we first met, though I couldn’t compete with Dougie’s weekly runs around the park whilst he was at school.
Pitlochry to Blair Atholl: yes, together we’d visited Pitlochry and inspected the fish ladders and we’d also walked up to the Falls of Bruar which are near Blair Atholl. But we’d taken the car to travel between the two.
Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies: we had a fascinating visit to the rotating boat lift but The Kelpies, those superb 30m high equine sculptures, weren’t open at the time, so we just walked back to the car park.
Indeed, a car featured in many of the walks I had allegedly taken. In North East England I was familiar with most of the named walks; Dunstanburgh Castle, Hadrian’s Wall, St Cuthbert’s Way and Alnmouth Beach to Warkworth Castle.
But technically I hadn’t walked them. Yes, I have happy memories of visiting castles and beaches but I’ve not used my feet to trek between them.
In Wales we definitely looked at Snowdon (number two in the Top 100) and deliberated for quite some time about ascending it, but decided against it. We did, however, manage a satisfying walk around Lyn Idwal, a small part of which features in the Number 6 walk, Tryfan. Surely that counts?
Stops for coffee and shopping also feature heavily on my list. We probably managed a few hundred metres of the Beddgelert walk in Snowdonia but the rain came on and we were lured into a souvenir shop selling Welsh love spoons.
I was pleased to see some urban areas appearing in the Top 100. I can confidently tick off the Cambridge colleges, albeit during a three-year period. Oxford, Bath and the Thames Path in London can also bear witness to my walking as long as you don’t measure the actual distances covered.
Closer to home, of course, I’ve been to Wells-next-the-Sea, but I’ve usually stopped for chips at some point. Likewise, parts of the Norfolk coastal path have seen my feet on occasion. And I remember a lively family argument in the middle of a field near Flatford Mill, in Constable Country, which put paid to that walk being completed.
But things are changing and I hope Julia Bradbury will be proud of me. Now that Dougie and I have discovered proper walking, with waterproof jackets, poles and Kendal Mint Cake, we hope to try to complete some of these Top 100 walks, from beginning to end. Unless there’s a cute little tea shop en route, or the weather turns...