As anyone who lives there can attest, England is an amazing place for taking very long walks. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the main one is the Right to Ramble — the right to walk through private land or public, as long as there’s a path that goes through it, basically. This right was almost lost in the 1930’s, but a social movement rose up to preserve it, and so it exists today still.
So I had an idea (which turns out not to be at all original), to do a walking tour of England, or parts thereof. To start planning this adventure, I’ve set up a little survey. Your responses will just be for me, not public. Also if you’re outside of England, I’d still love it if you took the little survey, because there are other parts of the world where such a tour could work.
Since hatching this idea I discovered a lot of other musicians have done similar tours of England. Some form of the idea first occurred to me when I was doing a gig with Attila the Stockbroker years ago in a small pub on the moors somewhere in the north of England. I noticed lots of hikers coming through and staying at the pub, which had a few rooms upstairs for lodgers, as they often do in England.
But having done quite a bit of hiking in my youth with a full-size dreadnaught guitar on my back, I knew I never wanted to do that again. So I basically shelved the idea, until just recently. What changed is I got really into the mandola, which is much, much lighter than a guitar.
So the basic plan is this: to hike from one gig to the next, arranging the tour in areas where there are nice walking paths, to play gigs in pubs, inns, living rooms of houses, or other venues, and to stay with people, in their homes, or upstairs from the pub, if it’s one of those kinds of pubs. I will not be traveling with a tent, bedding, a cook stove, or any of that heavy stuff. Just the mandola and a couple changes of clothing (along with waterproof boots and raingear, of course).
I’m hoping lots of folks who already like my music will take the survey and this can be a largely crowdsourced endeavor, to take place sometime in 2022 or 2023, depending on how much response I get, and other factors. I may also start proactively contacting pubs and inns that are located on particular rambling routes.
I hope to hear from folks, and to see you down the trail!