One of the most popular recreational activities in England is, surprisingly enough, walking. English people are really into walking. Or rambling, as it’s called here. See also: healthy walks. In America, we call it hiking. There is often gear involved-hills or mountains, special shoes (or at least tennis shoes), maybe a backpack and a water bottle, all that stuff. Sometimes you see the extra stuff here too, but there are some differences in walking/rambling in the two nations. And I’ve found that plain old rambling is far more popular with regular, non-athletic types in England, just as much as with the gym-goers. It’s for families, older folk, children, everyone. And that’s just nice. A national past time.
I remember the first time I went for a walk with Jon and his family. We were in Derbyshire on holiday and in preparation I put on my yoga pants and tennis shoes and a workout t-shirt with a hoodie. I looked like I was heading for the gym, and I was ready to rock this ramble! I also looked like a complete idiot next to the rest of the Norris family-I’m pretty sure Jon was wearing chucks, he and his dad were both wearing jeans, and maybe there were some rainproof jackets involved or something. Anyway, I learned my lesson. English rambling is way more laid back than what I’d previously thought. It’s essentially a very refined, very English way of enjoying the beautiful country that exists here.
In England and Wales, walkers have the right of “pass and repass” which means that the public is allowed access to footpaths and routes that cross both public and private land. It makes for interesting walks, that’s for sure-farmland and countryside abounds, complete with free roaming cattle, sheep, and horses. This country is perfect for rambling-hilly and green, dotted with picturesque villages here and there. And there’s nothing better than taking a long walk that ends at a quaint country pub with a roaring fireplace, a lazy dog or two, and good draft beer on tap. I mean that.
Even though Jon and I live in the city, I like to take advantage of any opportunities to get my ramble on. Jon’s parents are good at humo(u)ring me, and inviting us along to go for walks with them on occasion. And while I still haven’t got a good hang of how to dress-in part due to my hesitation to by hiking boots, which, sorry, no one looks cool in-I love a good wander, and now think I know how to do it without looking like a total noob.
In October Jon and I went for a walk with his mom and the dogs on the South Downs. It was a beautiful brisk autumnal day, bright and sunny, and I couldn’t help but take a bunch of pictures. I hope that we’ll be taking some snowy walks this winter (fingers crossed for enough snow to make a winter wonderland!)