Up on the wall by the stairs we’ve got an OS map of Alnwick & Amble, with our house on the right-hand side, halfway up. On it we’ve started drawing the walks we do in red (inspired by Alastair, Katherine’s octogenarian co-volunteer at the museum). The idea is that we’ll gradually cover more and more of the map with red as we get to walk and know the area.
What the map won’t show is when routes get walked more than once. In fact, this writing and walking project isn’t about discovery, walking new routes and having new sensory experiences. It’s about the walks that take places over the same few routes, day after day. ‘New’ walks, the ones which enable us to put a new red loop on the map, are the exception. Much more often I’ll grab the lead and call the dog and we’ll go over one of four or five very familiar routes which we’ve done many times before. What I’m particularly interested in researching is how this everyday walk, the chore in which the route is repeated and chosen for convenience rather than spectacle or inspirational power, might contribute to my writing practice.
So what are the habitual routes? I’ll describe them as I walk each one for the first time (first time from now, not ever), and add a link in below.