On my little walk yesterday to Holland Village I got to thinking about some of the hill-walking I'd done back in the UK before the years of exile. The last serious jaunt had been with Tony, some time in the late 80s, but I can't for the life of me remember the route and location. All the serious planning was in the hands of the expert. But I recall being in reasonable condition at the time - still playing for Whiston FC and running fairly regular half marathons. I managed the walk with some ease and huge enjoyment.
And it occurred to me yesterday that had I not upped and left the UK, about a couple of years after that particular walk, I think, I would have become something of a regular, probably walking solo. It strikes me as something I was bound to end up doing, essentially because of the sense of freedom I found in any walk over any reasonable distance. But that was a future not taken.
Do I regret the loss of that alternative self - the solitary, rugged, walker of the fells? No, not at all. Partly because that self wasn't really lost but channelled in other directions. I think I know where he is now. But one thing's for sure. If we do relocate to the UK for any length of time in the near future, he'll be out walking wherever he gets the chance to roam.