Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Seeing in the Summer

The May bank holiday weather was great walking weather and gave us the opportunity to put Small's new boots to the test.

May 1st: White Horse Hill and Weylands Smithy. Being May Day I half expected to find a band of hippes, druids or other nature celebrators atop White Horse Hill nr Uffington, Oxfordshire so was more than a little surprised to find that Small and I had the place to ourselves.

We strolled the short way down the Ridgeway from the National Trust car park towards Waylands Smithy. It wasn't long before we were joined by a bus load of school children - Small was complimented by one of the teachers for her kit. This lady was in agreement with me that walking is a wonderfull discipline for children giving an opportunity to explore the outdoors, learn about nature and get some fresh air and exercise. She had encouraged her children (now teenagers) to carry their own waterproofs, water bottles and snacks. I like to take this a little further and try to encourage Loki to pack his own backpack with all the things he thinks he may need for his rambles.

The only essentials I insist upon are waterproof and a drink, the rest is up to the kids. Loki learnt early on the dangers of over-packing. One sunny afternoon stroll he decided he needed to take his binoculars, a large hard bound bird book, an A4 notepad and selection of felt pens and crayons - in addition to his packed lunch, waterproof and a litre of water. No amount of telling him he was being over-prepared would make him reconsider his choices and he grumbled and complained about the weight of his pack after only a mile or so. I don't think he will make that mistake again.

Bank Holiday Monday and we decided to explore a different part of the Ridgeway. This was a whole family walk as Loki wasn't at school and Dad wasn't in the office.

The gaiters seemed a little excessive considering we haven't had a great deal of rain recently, but as he's got them he insisted on wearing them. I had foolishly decided that my waterproof was surpluss to requirements - this prooved to be an error of judgement. I didn't get very wet but the kids learnt from my foolishness.

Apart from a little drizzle the walk was a success. Only one bout of tears when Small wanted to go left and our route took us right. Minimal moaning from Loki and the dog resisted the urge to bark at some horses that passed us.

I'm hoping that if I build up the kids stamina now we will be able to take on part of the Coast to Coast when we visit Northumberland in the Summer. I'd love to take on the whole walk but I think it will be a few years before we can take on a long distance path as a family.

A few things that caught my eye in the news this week;

Ramblers go the whole hog on charity trek : http://bit.ly/X6GLU. Lancashire is a bit far for us but we do plan to get involved in some charity walking later in the year, watch this space....

Malvern Hills voted one of Britain's best views : http://bit.ly/adMKK

Eurocamp returns to Britain to lure recession-hit middle classes : http://bit.ly/JMR0b

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