Five Hundred Miles or so!

Walks have always been an integral part of my life; since my youngest days I recall clambering over the rocks out on the islands in Sweden, scampering through the forests.

Moving to Yorkshire as a young girl the stunning beauty of the moors became the background to my days out. I revelled in trips out into the wilderness, losing myself in bracken taller than my young self, walking along the ridge of the moors where the heather meets the sky, gazing down upon the miniature stone buildings of the villages below. They seemed inconsequential compared to the might of nature.

A younger me out on the moors

This strangest of years has seen walks featuring more than ever in my life – this time though restricted to those from my doorstep. As soon as the stay-at-home order was issued in March, the U.K. experienced weeks of warm sunny weather and it was a blessing to head out for an hour a day then perfect to sit and enjoy the beauty of the garden.

In the last five months, I have covered (according to my phone app pedometer) over five hundred miles, discovering new routes, creating new ones. At times it felt like ground-hog day; wasn’t I only by this gate yesterday, this oak tree surely is wondering why it’s suddenly become so popular? Yet the walks and their vistas proved a tonic each and every time, always something refreshing to sparkle the heart and mind, particularly as the times of the outings varied from day to day.

A painted stones left along pathways

In March the days were chilly, a bite of winter in the wind, the fields barren and mud-ladened. I realised for the first time I would come to know in detail the surrounding landscape, the fields planted, harvested, the lakes full of clear water, then green with algae as summer arrived.

As August comes to an end a carpet of leaves forms a soft bed for my feet as I wander through the nature reserve; Autumn seems to have arrived earlier than ever. Already the fields are busy with their winter crop, the flowers almost all over and instead we spend the walks idling by the hedgerows, filling tubs with the juiciest of blackberries.

A spot of exotic blackberry picking!

When restrictions were slightly eased we headed out with excited anticipation to Marks Hall Arboretum and Gardens and as only members were allowed we relished having the place mostly to ourselves. (You may recall an earlier post about Marks Hall and its Sculpture Exhibition entitled Creative Energy )

I couldn’t stop smiling as we wandered through new landscape, new views, drinking up the sights with sheer joy. The lakes were lush with fish, geese gazed warily at us, standing like sentinels over their young.

Geese and their goslings at Marks Hall.

A Bug hotel caught my eye and I was only too happy and oblige by adding some leaves and sticks to the creation.

Bug Hotel at Marks Hall.

Peacocks never fail to enthral me and in spite of the lack of visitors over so many months, they were as still friendly and unbothered by us humans.

It was with childish joy I encountered ferns on a far-flung part of the estate. Reaching up I could barely touch the tops of them. Hooray! They were still taller than me!

Overjoyed at seeing ferns still taller than adult me!

Up ahead I glimpsed an ethereal sight, the wonder of the white trunks of eucalyptus trees beckoned me, like angel wings amongst the darkness of the other trees. Their bark was smooth and soft, I stroked it as if a pet, relishing in the unusual texture. I picked a leaf or two, inhaling the fresh exotic fragrance. I might not have physically travelled far but my imagination was halfway around the globe!

Eucalyptus trees in the distance

Bugs galore have graced us with their presence, and I’m sure they were always here. Was that a withered leaf on the bathroom floor? No, the most amazing of moths, which I think is called the Angle Shades. The shiniest of red in contrast to the black caught my attention with one bug, which I believe is the cinnabar moth. One lunchtime an admiral butterfly landed on my mother’s hat!

Our garden has been a solace and haven to me, more than ever! In the mornings I’ve had the time to greet the plants, stopped in my tracks in awe of the intricate details of the flowers and their petals.

Garden bluebells

I even say a quick shy hello to our resident troll tree … can you spot it in the acacia below.

Face of our Tree Troll!

It is invigorating to tend to the plants, bushes and trees, then afterwards enjoy relaxation and rest surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Finally, I often have a song ‘playing’ in a loop in my mind as I stride out across the countryside and since writing this review one particularly has stayed in my mind – it’s especially relevant as I worked out the miles walked these months. I first heard it as the soundtrack to one of my favourite films ‘Benny & Joon’. Enjoy the snippets of the film as you listen to ‘I Would Walk 500 Miles’ by The Proclaimers!

146 thoughts on “Five Hundred Miles or so!

  1. Hi Annika! So much to look at on your walks. And 500 miles, OMG that is a lot. I just checked my walking app and I’m at 300 for the year. You are really clocking the miles. I’ve never heard of a bug motel – is that an English countryside thing? It’s cute and looks like it would be fun to add to it. We have spotted lanternflies that have invaded our state. Before the pandemic, everyone was really worried about it, but now it doesn’t seem very important to me, even though it is bad for trees. The thing is, they’re really kind of pretty! Anyway, I’m late in stopping by but I’m glad I did. Hope you have good weather this weekend for some more walking 🙂

    1. Barbara, I’m so glad you stopped by and after all our walking maybe we should have a tea break!😀 My husband is the one who keeps track of our distance walked and he’s tracking our route down the UK from Northern Scotland to the English most southerly point! Now at 700 miles, I’m informed! 300 is a lot and I’m sure normally I didn’t even manage that much!😀 The lanternflies look pretty and it’s difficult to be annoyed with them when they are so cute! The Bug Hotel seems to be a ‘thing’ here in the UK the last ten years – the built one in my son’s school when he was younger but he was most disappointed with just a hole in the ground! This was at the gardens must be the Ritz standard!😀

      Have a wonderful special weekend! Here the sun is shining and we’re off for walk and picnic along the coast! Heavenly! xx

  2. Hi Annika, A cute photo of a younger, you. I love your sentence “…the walks and their vistas proved a tonic …”. I also relate to the ground-hog day. I love all of the photos. The geese and goslings put a huge smile on my face. I don’t think I have seen a eucalyptus tree in real life. And thanks to you, I now have an ear worm. It still makes me smile. I am sending you a photo to your email, since I don’t want to take up too much room on your site. I think it will be self-explanatory.

    Thank you for sharing an exceptionally beautiful post, Annika.❤️

    1. Erica, thank you so much for your wonderful comment and now I’m smiling! 😀 Goslings and ducklings are always so sweet and we have a family of the latter who regularly crossed the main road in the village this Spring! Haha! Is the song still in your head?! I still love it!

      Yeah! What a great coincidence about the coats! I’ve always loved jackets and handbags … and this one here will be one I’ll wear for many years!

      Happy Trails, my friend! hugs xx ❤️

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