Wednesday 21 September 2011

Autumn Fair

Around this time last year, I wrote a short piece about how much I loved autumn. I seem to remember that the words came quite easily to me because it’s a time of year that I always find inspiring and full of promise. And not just for walking – it’s my favourite time of year for food, too. Who can resist a great walk followed by a great meal?

Now I’m getting excited about the prospects for this year, and once again I find myself poring over maps, planning and plotting our forthcoming little adventures. There’s so much we want to do it seems there are hardly enough weekends ahead to fit everything in.

As usual, the summer has been pretty busy – sometimes with holidays and walking, sometimes with other commitments; some of them featuring family and friends, and many featuring babies.

At 47 years old I reckon I should be in a baby-free zone by now – too old for children, too young for grandchildren – but there it is. Having successfully avoided any of my own, I now find myself surrounded by other peoples’ and, whilst I understand the unbounded joy they feel over their new arrivals, I can’t say as I really share it.

Normally, I find I’m in agreement with W.C.Fields (“I like children, but I couldn’t eat a whole one.”) but having “done my bit” and cuddled and cooed over the wee mites – sometimes more than one in the same weekend – I now find my reputation somewhat sullied. My photo, all over Fizzogbook, complete with babes-in-arms. Harummph!

Anyhow, back to the main point. All these distractions have kept us away from the walking, which is my main grumble. To get things going again we went for a short walk last weekend, just round some local paths and lanes. Although summer has barely passed – something of a curate’s egg, I grant you – the first signs of autumn were already apparent; the fields recently ploughed and the trees and hedgerows laden with fruit and berries. We took the opportunity to stock up on nature’s harvest of blackberries, apples and pears.

In my opinion, there are few finer places than the UK in autumn. Now, ahead of us, are two of the best walking months of the year, crammed with potential for clear, sunny days and misty mornings, bracketed by the Harvest moon and Bonfire Night, with a riot of colour waiting to show. I can’t wait!

In contrast to the unpredictable nature of this year’s summer weather, autumn can often be relied upon for reasonable spells of good walking conditions. And, so that we don’t miss any precious opportunities, we have plenty of possible trips at the planning stage. The Yorkshire Dales, the Shropshire Hills and the Peak District all feature in those plans, plus other destinations yet to be decided. One thing is for sure; we won’t miss out for lack of inspiration!

So here’s to another amazing autumn, and all the great walking to be had. How will it turn out? Who knows, but whatever does happen, it’ll be fun, and you’ll get to hear about it here first.

So watch this space.

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