My days then consisted of being a waiter, getting a lot of tips, enjoying my rather nice, cosy flat, and planning hearty hikes in the Lincolnshire countryside. During that year I suppose I really learned about the fabric of my county of birth, trekking along some of the 4000 km of footpaths, mostly alone, but sometimes with friends. I remember the depths of winter; setting off in near blizzard conditions, finding to my delight that the blizzard abated and the brilliant sunshine warmed me, and the hedgerows and trees dripped with melting snow like diamonds falling.
The Bluestone Heath Road is a breathtaking ancient way where the views are sublime and the spirit soars. It runs across the Wolds, the stunning, gently rolling landscape, peppered with little villages which are quaint but genuine, and as rough and ready as the people who live there. You could stay at Woody's Top, perhaps one of the most isolated Youth Hostels in England, where you had to haul a water bowser up a hill to it, in order to wash and make your tea.
The highways and byeways of Lincolnshire were always so quiet. Perhaps, you would occasionally hear the scream of an RAF jet, and catch a glimpse of the pilot waving to you, but apart from that, all was so still. Nothing hurried. Everything seemed as if all you might encounter was a horse and cart and perhaps, another wayfarer to share tales with.
I miss it.
Beneath a yellow fading tree,
As red suns light thee, Autumn-morn,
In wildest raptures let me see
The sweets that most thy charms adorn.
O while my eye the landscape views,
What countless beauties are display’d;
What varied tints of nameless hues,—
Shades endless melting into shade.(John Clare)