My 'little' sister is also very keen on doing it. Unlike me, she a rather devout Catholic so the pilgrimage would be a true one for her. Anyway, we have decided to go together, it's nice to do it with someone else, and despite all our considerable differences, my sister and I manage to get on.
The first hurdle is training, you can't just get up and go, you need to get used to walking several miles a day. I am not much of a walker but I love doing dance and sleek classes, whereas my sister hates exercising at home or at the gym, but boy, does she walk! Living in a lovely area of Italy also helps, she walks around the villages near her home. When she recently came to London to visit she would think of nothing but get out and walk, whereas I would always be asking to get a bus or jump on the tube.
But I want to do the Walk and will train for it. Fortunately, the weather is getting better, and London offers excellent walking opportunities, and special routes are available. One can do the Capital Ring Walk, for example, which is divided into 12 segments. It seems one can go from Finsbury Park to Richmond Park on foot, it is a mere 25 miles.
Full of enthusiasm, I resolved, yesterday, to get started. Of course, I did it all wrong. First, there was the matter of the footwear - I wore town shoes, sufficiently flat but not entirely made for walking. It was not raining, so I did not ruin them, but my feet were not happy. Then I went in the early afternoon. Big mistake. Everyone was out jogging or taking their kids out on a stroller. Pathways were crowded.
Artwork, ParklandI meant to go from Highgate to Stoke Newington, doing part of the Parkland Walk, which is a beautiful walk across North London in what is now a nature reserve.
I decided to go to Highgate station, my starting point, by bus. But I took the wrong bus and got off at Archway which meant I had to retrace my steps and go to Highgate (on foot, by this time I thought I should get started on my walk). Then after getting to the wrong entry point and going in the opposite direction, I finally joined the Parkland Walk and arrived at Finsbury Park. At that point I was tired, thirsty - not enough water with me - and cold because I was not wearing a jacket (silly me!). From Finsbury Park to Stoke Newington it would have been another 4 miles, and it was getting darker. I went back home by bus.
Crouch Hill, Parkland
Already my sister and I are exchanging notes. She 'whatsapped' me last night to enquire how many miles I had done - a bit of healthy competition is in place, it's normal among siblings. I am waiting to hear about her progress.
Walking is great for your bones, it is a weight-bearing exercise and coupled with other forms of exercise can do wonders for your health, as you get older. And it can also be something for which you can dress stylishly - but comfortably.