…or Honest walk as it should be.
It’s a poorly kept secret that I am a member of the Ramblers. I am not the world’s greatest fan of solo walking as I do get sick of the sound of my own voice in my own head. I am no Wainwright. So, I joined the Ramblers a few years back when I was less fit, did three walks with them, then left them because their walks seemed a bit on the fast side to me.
However, since leaving them I bagged: Scafell and Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and Skiddaw, Cross Fell and Great Gable. After these I considered myself fit to join them once more and to be able to keep up. And how right I was. I started slowly with a couple of the C class walks – these are never more than 7 miles long and don’t have much in the way of up and down figures. Then I took to doing the B walks, these could be anywhere up to ten miles in length and can cover some hills – Parlick Pike and Arthur’s Pike spring to mind. Finally, in preparation for the Anglezarke Amble, last year, I took in a few of the A walks which can be up to twelve miles with much undulating.
Herein lies the problem. I like to be able to put a name to what I have done. It’s a bit anal of me but I like to be able to say ‘I did Rivington Pike / Pendle Hill / a circuit of Delamere Forest / The Coast Road’…you get where I’m going with this? Rambles walks – recently, just don’t offer that. At best, no matter which walk we’re on it’s a case of over this muddy field, across that muddy field, then do this muddy field…argh! Don’t get me wrong, some of the fields are really hard work, especially if they are on a slope. But, well let me put it like this; who would look forward to walking over seven muddy fields separated only by rickety, often dangerous stiles?
No, me neither. I have taken umbrage with the Ramblers in that we are only ever told the location of the walks – by village name, ahead of time. For example Sunday 5th of March: Chipping. No mention of whereabouts in Chipping, if I knew beforehand then I would read ‘a tour of the valley at the bottom of the Bowland Fells’ – ie. Seven Muddy Fields and I’d know not to go! I’ve taken this up with the Ramblers who’s retort was essentially: It’s always been like that! I’ve even volunteered to host a sort of information porthole on these pages. This was met with – some of the walk leaders don’t even have computers…I truly despair!
Personally I’m having a hard time adjusting to seeing each Ramble as essentially just a walk in the country with nice companions (and don’t get me wrong they are all lovely people). But what I keep fighting to not believe is that this is never going to aid me in my peak-bagging hobby (although I will concede that I would never have done Sharp Haw near Skipton without the Ramblers). Life is short and at £14.00 per ‘Ramble’ it’s a bit expensive to do something that I ‘nearly’ want to do. It’s convenient to do, walk down to Lord Street (or get a lift off Chris) then get on the bus and let it take the strain…but it’s so frustrating to go to villages like Chipping and instead of doing the Bleasedale fells…do seven bloody, muddy, irredeemable fields!!! Argh!