In 2015 I had to compromise all my adventure plans and explore what was on my doorstep instead. This was due to family responsibilities, dreadful public transport and lack of resources. As a lover of wild places it was hard not to view this as a demotion. Following 5 long distance trails and 15 years of walking in some of Britain’s least populated hills in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, it is easy to become a bit of a purist.
I suppose I was trying to expunge my urban roots and a long spell living in London, but some people on Twitter have reminded me that there is plenty to see and some valuable wild space in large cities if you know where to look.
The whole national park movement was intended to bring the countryside within reach of ordinary people. However, for purists there is a temptation to want the ordinary people out of the parks again, and this doesn’t sit well with me. All this has involved me in some navel gazing about my attitudes.
Inspired by some groups trying to create National City Parks in London and Glasgow, and by people like Alastair Humphreys promoting the idea of finding do-able adventures on your doorstep, I have been exploring my own back yard a bit.
Like many people, I thought I knew my local area so well that it had nothing to teach me. However I have gradually realised that familiarity had bred some contempt, and that necessity can indeed be the mother of invention.
I will continue to bring you posts from wild places, but I need to shape my interests around the possible for the moment. For those of us who live in cities for whatever reason, we either discount this kind of walking and sit at home reading other people’s wild adventures, or we get out there.
With apologies to the purists.