Posted by: travelrat | March 9, 2017

Travel Theme: Paths

Path 1

The Countryside Ranger was taking down some old signs, and replacing them with newer ones.

‘We don’t really like signs’ he told me ‘but, if they’re necessary, we’d prefer they said ‘Won’t you come this way?’ rather than ‘Don’t go that way!’.

Nothing says ‘Won’t you come this way’ more than a sign saying Public Footpath (or, in Wales Llwybr Cyhoeddus … which, contrary to rumour, isn’t Welsh for ‘Get Lost!’). Better still, one saying Public Footpath to Bumpydale or something.

There are one or two pictures featuring paths on my walls. Any artist or photographer can tell you they ‘lead the eye into the picture’. As an art instructor I once knew said ‘You can go down there!’. I often ‘go down there’ … and wonder ‘What’s beyond those trees? Or, around that corner?’

Le Grand Bornand

Of course, if I come across a tempting path in ‘real life’, I can go and find out, if I have time.

This state of affairs is, though, largely confined to England and Wales. Your wanderings can vary, from freedom to go pretty well where you like (allemansrat) in Scandinavian countries to the severely constrained ‘Don’t you dare put a foot off the path!’ elsewhere.

In Australia, we spent a lot of the time in National Parks walking on ‘boardwalks’. I never did work out whether they were to protect the environment from the trampling feel of the visitor, or keep people from stepping on the more toxic wildlife.

But, whether it’s an indiscernible path across an English field, or an Australian boardwalk … or, even just a short-cut between the houses to your local mini-mart, paths have something to say. Usually: ‘Come this way; there might be something interesting down here’. And, in the majority of cases, there is.

DSC_0133

My contribution to this week’s Travel Theme. More at https://wheresmybackpack.com/2017/03/05/travel-theme-paths/

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