Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The Ramblers are a national organization for walking. U.K. landowners by law have to provide walkers the right of passage across their land (there are a few exceptions), so there are a LOT of places to walk. There are local chapters all over that have organized walks every weekend.
Apparently, the Ramblers have gotten a reputation for being an organization for retirees (or pensioners, as the Brits say), so earlier this decade they started groups around the country for people in their 20s and 30s as a way to revitalize the organization. As it happens, there's one of these groups in Cambridge, called Walk Cambridge.
This weekend, we decided to try the group out by joining them for a walk about 45 minutes north of Cambridge. It was a 6-mile walk between the villages of Folksworth and Stilton, which is where Stilton cheese gets its name from but isn't where it's made. It was pleasant enough, but the real treat was the people -- everyone was *so* nice. I chatted with probably 8 different people along the way, none of them JT, because he was busy chatting, too. One of the original members of the group told us, "I'm not sure if we're a walking group that talks or a talking group that walks."
We walked through fields, mostly, saw the occasional cow, and only one flock of sheep. We stopped for lunch in a farmer's field next to a giant pile of manure. Fortunately the wind was (mostly) blowing the other way. We also came upon a couple of horses that came over and greeted us, and when I fed one of them my apple core, she decided she wanted to be a Rambler, too. She looked at us rather mournfully over the kissing gate when she realized we weren't going to stay and play with her.
The whole walk took us about 4 hours, plus we stopped at a pub for 20-30 minutes for a break. We walked through a lot of mud -- a LOT of mud. When we got back to the car we both took our boots off and put them in the trunk -- we didn't even want to get in the car with them on. My jeans were covered in mud, too -- I'm going to need a pair of gaiters if we keep this up.
We had a great time, and the walk served the dual purpose of providing a way for us to meet more people in the area that aren't work colleagues, and seeing more of the greater Cambridge area. I think we'll be back.
More photos here.