Monday, January 28, 2008

A civilized walk

I am, and always have been, a city girl. It's unfashionable nowadays to admit to preferring the urban lifestyle, but there it is.

However, I’ve also grown up on the west coast of the US, where a little bit of driving brings you to mountains, and coastal hikes and paths are a short hop away. I’ve also spent close to a decade in the Pacific Northwest, where the summers are so short yet so sweet that people actively go out and enjoy as much of it as humanly possible. And then they recuperate in the winters by flying down snow-capped mountains at ludicrous speeds.

The thing is, those places have wilderness. A hike means chugging up a mountainside through the forest to a lake. A camping trip means a tent, sleeping bags, tarps and bear-proof food containers, along with the rope with which to hang it from a tree branch.

The Limey and I went on a walk this weekend. (Note: it’s a walk here, but a hike at home.) It’s as different a beast as can be to the hikes I’ve been used to at home. But it was loverly.

We walked along the River Wey. Over fields and along farms, and in one part, across a golf course. Along the way, we saw:

St Nicholas Church- old as the hills, pretty as a picture, and still being used for services, of course.

Pyrford Place, summerhouse of Queen Elizabeth (the First!). I love the first floor entrance. I wonder if it belongs to the owners of the house behind it, or if it belongs to some historical authority. Imagine having that in your yard! What would you do with it?

The remains of Newark Priory, abandoned in the 1500s, apparently. Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately), it's on private land, so we couldn't go and climb around. I love climbing around on ruins. I had a great time in Turkey for that exact reason- they took terrible care of their Greek and Roman ruins, so you were allowed to clamber up and ruin them further. I feel guilty about it, though. But I digress.

You know how in the US, the destination of a hike is a great viewpoint or a mountain lake? Well, they are much more civilized here. The mid-point focus of our walk was

Yes, The Anchor, a pub right by Pyrford Lock, with a huge parking lot and families from around the area coming for their Sunday lunch. So we stopped by for a quick pint and apple-and-blackberry pie with custard.

We started back (it was a circular hike, which is nice, no re-tracking) as the light became perfect for scenes like this:

1 comment:

hana said...

That's a great walk. Is it not a hike because it's so flat? I didn't notice any hills in your photos. I wish all the hikes around here had pubs half way along them.