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The great outdoors

There’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned walk. The type of activity that might be suggested on Christmas Day, when everything is shut and there are no other options. Layers of clothes that you wouldn’t wear on the high street. Stuffing your feet into wellies and accepting blisters in favour of warm, dry toes. Kids groaning and dragging their feet because they’d rather be in front of the TV; adults trying to shift hangovers by gulping fresh air (and dragging their feet).

But my favourite part about walking with friends and family is the chat. If you know the people you’re walking with well enough that silence isn’t considered awkward, you get around to talking about all the interesting stuff. Patterns in the clouds. Idle week-day-dreams that won’t be contained. Politics rears its head, and it is blissfully ignored; it doesn't matter out here.

There’s nothing I love more than a sky that touches only treetops. It drips at the edges of my vision into landscapes of amethyst heather and razor-tipped gorse. We talk about books we’d write if only we had the time. Dreams are all possible when we’re walking. Spare time is something we understand; if only we could use it more wisely.

Then there’s coming home. Stripping off mud covered socks. Putting the kettle on. Milky hot chocolate rewards for anyone under 18 and coffee for weary adults. No matter how much time we spend asleep, the day is always a few hours too short.

Oh Brother Where Art Thou. Lord of the Rings. Moonrise Kingdom. The Name of the Wind. Stranger Things. Whatever your particular brand of fantasy there is always hindsight and clarity to be found just by walking in the woods.

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