We decided that since Everest is currently too far away (we both plan to trek there, in the fulness of time) we’d have to settle for the Sussex countryside, found a walk with a local ramblers group, and set off!
It was muddy, predictably, but also it was a week or so before the snow came, so it wasn’t too horrendously frozen. Thirteen miles in snow would have been disgustingly tough. As it was, we just waded through mud, met some lambs, and tried not to fall over or be left behind. It definitely proved to me the worth of having a charity that organises walks like this, because without them, G and I would not have known where to start – as it was, the route and travel were all planned on our behalf, and all we had to do was show up and keep up!
Admittedly, that wasn’t always easy, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that we weren’t being utterly left behind.
And our first coffee break was a real treat – a Victorian viaduct so carefully and symetrically built that you could stare right through its arches to the other end of the valley. Look at the picture – my words don’t do it justice.
One other thing that the walk confirmed for me, though, was that it would be fantastic to set up an LGBTQ*-friendly walking group. Wouldn’t that be fantastic? Some people might say that it’s not really necessary – if queer people want to join a rambling group, they’re perfectly welcome. And yes, that’s true, but sometimes a group that is explicitly a safe space for queer folk can have a hugely beneficial effect. Both G and I have various friends who would love to do more hiking, but the anxiety of joining a large group of near-total strangers, and the worry that even one of them might disapprove, or worse, be openly homo/bi/transphobic is just too much. If you’re in a group where you know that that sort of thing will most definitely not be tolerated, it makes it just that bit easier to relax, maybe?
Also, I’ve got the best name for this potential group – so good that it would be a shame to waste it… ‘Out and About’! Good, eh?