We left Royston walking along the A505, which was not the most auspicious start to the day. Then woods, fields, muddy lane, green lane. The green lane was rutted. We walked in single file for over a mile. I trailed behind. I plodded. My thoughts wandered.
“Why do we walk?”
“Fresh air, good to do something together, nose around other farms, go to places we wouldn’t normally …” He reeled off more. “Why?”
We sat outside the church in Elmdon eating our lunch. The sun shone, we talked about crossing the Greenwich Meridian line as we left Royston and how much we’d enjoyed walking the Greenwich Meridan Trail. We listened and watched as people went about their day – someone chainsawing, the rhythmical thump of a machine, people walking into the pub, cars driving by – somehow we were a little removed. A glimpse into their life, a little like being on the train. Then, as we headed towards Strethall, walking along the ridge we had panoramic views of sweeping fields and woodland with villages and farms dotted about. We continued between hedges marking the probable line of the Roman road from Braughing, watched the traffic thundering along the M11 below our feet and headed down to Great Chesterford as it basked in the winter sun.
Stretching our legs on the train home, cheeks glowing as we moved from the cold afternoon air to the warm carriage, we chatted about the things we’d seen and wondered whether the woman who’d tried to cure a wart by touching the corpse of a poacher laid out in Strethall church in 1849 had been successful.
So many reasons to walk.