9th February To tell the truth, I'm still smarting from the 'Not one of your better walks' put down of a few weeks ago! It's Bedfordshire, for goodness sake! What did you expect? This week we're in Hertfordshire...just...completing the Nickey Line from Redbourn as far as Hemel Hempstead before heading north towards Gaddesden Row and then picking our way through the lanes and bridleways back to Redbourn.
26th January A break from my current obsession. This time a walk that includes a windmill and a canal...you can't go wrong with a walk that includes them both! It's barely light as we park up near the Pitstone Windmill and head across the fields, through Pitstone and down to the Grand Union Canal at Great Seabrook. The great thing about starting this early is that the paths are empty...this time we're missing the canal cyclists...in the way you miss a hole in the head.
19th January After last week, it could only get better. To be fair, we were starting from a low base! Nevertheless this was a decent 13 mile walk to clear away the mid-winter cabin fever. Occasionally we stumble upon places that we are completely unaware of and the Nickey Line is one of those. Running from Harpenden to Hemel Hempstead, this is a throw back to days when railway lines were more common and travel by rail was a genuine option. Now a cycle-footpath, it provides a gentle start to our walk as far a Redbourn.
13th January This goes down in family history as 'Not one of your better walks!' Sue has years of teaching experience on which to drawn when summing up disappointment...and this was her damning conclusion to this afternoon's walk. To be fair, it's hard to argue.
1st January Start the year as you mean to go on! We're up while the rest of the world is still asleep, recovering from having seen in the New Year. This is more a reflection of our traditional way of seeing in the New Year, fast asleep. It certainly doesn't mean we're able to party hard and still get up early! A couple of dog walkers are the only other people to have made it up this early...and they're missing a good start to the year. The skies start heavy and grey but within 30 minutes the sun starts to break through and by the time we reach Chalfont St Giles the sky is blue and the fresh breeze carries clouds at breakneck speed across the Misbourne Valley.
30th December As we walk down to the Thames there are views across to the Berkshire Downs in the distance and memories of Susan the Unready. South Stoke is a quiet village except for the trains heading west that thunder though at regular intervals, even on the penultimate day of the year. The Thames footpath takes us north passed Moulsford School on the other bank and once again old memories are evoked.
9th December An early start yesterday, a late start today. After the early church service we're parking up on Chorleywood Common by mid-day. Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow so today the priority is to make the best of it...and, when the sun's out like it is, that's no chore. The football pitches next to Chorleywood House are heaving with energy and the air is full of 'football dads' barking orders to 'Close him down' and 'Get rid'. Leaving them behind we drop down into the Chess Valley. Here the tranquility is broken only by the occasional dog walker. For a while we're retracing yesterday's route (well, in reverse) and we have the place to ourselves. More shouting as we pass the ford near Valley Farm. Someone's been exercising a falcon, of all things, and the bird is sitting up in a tree by The Chess, enjoying the sun. The encouraging whistles and accompanying curses seem to be having little effect. We leave them to it.