Although I still walk regularly, its been a while since I did a programmed walk - a route someone else put together. In truth its been tricky trying to get routes that are manageable for Sundays (the one day Im pretty much guaranteed to have to myself each week), and which I can get to on public transport. In getting back into the exploring habit Ive been scouring travel books and even joined the Ramblers, though only to get the magazine and free book, the pictures of the local Rambler groups were frankly a bit scary. But anyway - now have a more local walks guide in hand:
Wilks, John. Walks through history: Birmingham. Derby: Breedon Books Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-1-85983-611-8
And this morning I headed off to do the first, and least appetising, route in the book...
Walk 1 - Digbeth: the early beginnings of modern Birmingham
Now. There are few places Ive been where I dont feel comfortable on my own (and bearing in mind Ive lived and worked in a few pretty rough bits of London including discovering I was literally around the corner from an IRA bomb depository just as I was about to move to the other side of the City. I dont like Digbeth and very rarely venture far down that way unaccompanied - I can skip happily around the Sing Fat Chinese supermarket gathering armfuls of ramen noodles but thats about my limit. So it wasnt with the happiest of hearts that I set off down Digbeth with new Canon Ixus in my pocket and guidebook in my bag. Not wanting to advertise my tourist status I memorised as much of the route as possible in one go so I only had to drag the map out a few times. It was a good move since I found myself incongruous amongst a crowd of blokes heading for the pub before the football, and it was about halfway round and heading back towards the city before I managed to shake myself free of the crowd.
Very strange how one can find oneself isolated in a back street yet in full sight of the city centre. Once Id turned off Fazeley Street onto Andover Street, I didnt see another soul until I was almost at Millennium Point.
Interesting fact - my iMac is now so old even Flickr no longer wants to play and upload my images to LiveJournal. So rather than put some lovely photos in here Im having to resort to putting the relevant images in a set page so the things that caught my eye can at least be seen by someone elses should they feel like looking.
When I got home, my trusty pedometer said Id done this many steps: 10411