Back in 2015, with an Interesting Election upcoming, I did several blogposts on policies, polls and likely outcomes.
This time the British election looks set to be rather more boring – there’s only so much fun to be had in watching a party react to predictions that it’s going to be reduced to 200 seats that would mostly vote for a baboon if it was wearing a red rosette – and the French one is frankly not much better. (Le Pen is not going to win unless a) Macron implodes and leaves everyone with the exciting question of the semi-fascist or the man you’ve just decided is going to destroy the country, b) someone manages to whip up a campaign that you have to vote for Le Pen if you’re inclusive because she’s a woman or c) everyone who gets polled is worried the pollster will think they’re a racist if they say Le Pen and they’re all saving their actual opinions for the ballot box.)
So this year I’m going to distract from it and write some posts about walks that should be possible to do from the train instead.
Railway-based walks are much more interesting than car-based ones because of the lack of obligation to return to where you started.
The aim will be to provide some ideas for routes with a mix of landscapes, gradients, lengths and areas, largely avoiding dusty roadsides and miles of flat muddy fields.
I was going to call it “Trails from the Track” and then remembered where I found that term in the first place. (Okay, I didn’t remember per se. I remembered it might be out there somewhere and Googled it. Turns out it’s a publication from the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership which I don’t own a copy of because, perhaps oddly for someone writing a series of walk guides, I prefer to eschew walk guides and design my own walks.)
“Trails from Rails” is a search term for putting multi-use non-car routes on old railway lines. This series is an attempt to reclaim the term for a more positive approach. Readers of certain webpages on the Wye Valley Railway will already know my editorial line on such schemes – I am, after all, a rail lobbyist – and will be unsurprised at the absence of such routes from the ensuing series of walks.
Along the way there may be a sudden interruption with a post about why the rail network should be privatised. To avoid this lessening your enjoyment of this politics-free zone, please feel free to ignore it until after the election. (Unless you were planning to vote for a baboon with a red rosette, in which case it will explain why retaining UK Rail under the control of public organisations may cause long-term fare increases, rising costs and poorer service. Owing to a degree of laziness and procrastination, the appearance of this post – ever – is not guaranteed.)
Here is a nice picture to get us started: