Going for a Walk

From Hampstead Heath looking northYesterday I went for a walk with a friend. Quite a strenuous one, for me, as it happens. I could end today’s bulletin there because frankly “Judith goes for a walk” is news enough. I hate exercise and I’m not all that keen on the countryside either but yesterday I combined both and enjoyed a very rewarding afternoon in more ways than one.

I met my friend at a mutually handy tube station and we drove to Hampstead, intend upon walking up Parliament Hill Fields. My friend was very patient with me as our two-woman convoy toddled along at the speed of its slowest member, stopping on benches with glorious views for me to catch my breath. In the end I think we did a goodly mileage but at such a sedate pace as to be almost useless to my gym-going pal. Perhaps that wasn’t the point.

Conversation was good, including such topics as books, true crime and why the dogs were so well behaved in Hampstead. We got our answer from a professional dog walker, basically it’s because we were in Hampstead where the dog owners bring up their dogs with the same manners they instil in their children. Which means that the dogs can roam free on the Heath causing no fuss to anyone.

We saw and took great pleasure in dogs of all shapes and sizes, in ones and twos and small groups, being professionally walked, and whopping great conferences of dogs with five dog owners and twenty dogs coming together from all corners of the wide open spaces to socialise with each other, which is apparently very good for them and contributes too to their good behaviour. Who knew?

Here’s the view from our bench slightly short of half way round, looking north, because the view of London to the south was rather too misty to get a good shot of the splendid cityscape from our high vantage point. When I got home I was completely cream-crackered, in a good way, which one often is after an adventure in the open air. And proud, so proud of London’s parks and heaths and open spaces.

Hampstead Heath, its ponds and trees, views and slopes must surely come very near the top of that splendid list. Where’s your favourite London green space?

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