Monday, 1 June 2009

How to Walk No.2…

Here’s the latest in our occasional series of Top Tips for getting the most out of a London Walk. (For earlier post suggesting how to keep your kids happy on a London Walk, click HERE.) This time: How Long is a London Walk? Here’s David with the answer (and a bonus linguistic nugget to boot)…

(Pictured left: A cautionary tale… They should've gone with London Walks.)

“How long is a London Walk? The short answer is: none of the walks is a yomp*. Figure about a mile. And it’s easy walking. We go at a gentle pace, there’s lots of stops so stuff can be pointed out and explained. Indeed, on quite a few London Walks there’s often a chance for a brief sit down. Take Old Kensington Village, for example. Depending on the route we – Adam, Angela and myself (David) take – there can be as many as three ‘sit down’ stops: i.e., in the Tudor Garden when we’re exploring the Roof Garden (the largest and most astonishing roof garden in Europe!), in the old church (and I’m not using that adjective lightly – St. Mary Abbot’s is coming up to its big One Oh Oh Oh!), and the ‘sitting wall’ that runs along one of the village’s little ‘soigné lanes’.

(* Bowled you out with that word 'yomp'? Well you know something, part and parcel of The Best Tourism Experience in England – a London Walk – is that you also pick up some British slang from time to time. Flavouring as it were. Yomp’s a case in point. The great journalist – and consummate Englishman – Godfrey Smith defined the word brilliantly 25 years ago. Here’s what he says: 'Yomping: The term invented by the Royal Marines to describe their disconcerting habit of marching seventy miles a day during the Falklands conflict, a distance thought to be well outside the ambit of possibility by the Argentinians. The practice is a vivid example of the truth that in conventional war the English military, with their much-tattooed soldiers, brass-lunged sergeants and po-faced officers, all doing the job because they feel like it, are still not to be taken on unless it is absolutely essential.')”

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