They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
– From This Be the Verse by Philip Larkin
I like to think that my parents didn’t do such a bad job of raising me, and that I’ve turned out to be a relatively rounded person (although others may disagree). But I do think there’s one area in which they have forever ruined me: walking.
To be fair, it’s not so much because of any inherent character faults of their own; it’s more to do with the choice of location in which they chose to raise their children. You see, they chose Hertfordshire. There are positive things to say about Hertfordshire, but when it comes to walking, it’s probably amongst the most dull places in Britain. There are no mountains (the highest point is 245m above sea level), there’s no coastline, there are no dramatic geological features. Which means that when we went for our regular family walks, rather than heading for a location with an intrinsic reward, like the peak of a mountain and its fantastic view, we inevitably did a round walk to… a pub.
I’m not complaining; in fact, it’s my lack of complaint that is really the problem. You see, I now think a walk is incomplete without a refreshing pint. I really, really love the Highlands or the Lake District (if you haven’t been to either, go) – but I’m always a tad disappointed when I’m walking there and on reaching my destination there’s not somewhere to sit and enjoy a refreshing beverage.But you have to make that choice between a stunning panorama and a pint. Or so I thought until yesterday, when I discovered one of the world’s most amazing walking locations – the Rila mountains. You may remember that I went to Rila monastery a few weeks ago, but i wasn’t aware of what beauty lay nearby. The mountains are some of the most stunning that I’ve been to; the views are incredible. I went to the seven Rila lakes, a group of – yes, you’ve guessed it – seven lakes which are each named after their shape (trefoil, kidney, eye etc) and give you something lovely to look at every step of the way. And in addition, there are mountain huts scattered through the mountains where you can reward yourself with a beer.
Can a girl ask for anything more?