Earlier this year, soon after my operation, I did quite a lot of walking. I couldn’t walk very far in one go, but I did make an effort to go out for a short walk every day, which I could tell was really very good for me. Once I went back to work, I tried to walk a short distance at lunchtime every day, but at weekends I reverted to type and either sat at the computer or slumped in a chair reading for most of the time. I realised yesterday (belatedly) that I had never achieved the modest target I had thought I was working towards earlier, that of walking from our house along the old railway line, now a cycle path, to the tram stop which now marks the end of this branch. Years ago, this was where the branch line joined the main Edinburgh-Aberdeen train line, still very much in use.
Because yesterday happened to be a perfect day for walking, sunny but not too hot and with no sign of thundery clouds, I was at last in the right frame of mind to give it a try. I put my bus pass and the house keys in my pocket and set off. Although we live in town, once you are on the path everything instantly becomes rural. This is partly because of the golf course which occupies the land to one side of the old railway embankment. I was mulling over what it might look like if it had been developed for housing when I realised this might never have happened in any case, because I think this area was a loch at one time and is in fact still liable to flooding at times.
As well as vegetation of various kinds including some very lovely trees and wild rose bushes, which don’t encroach too far on the path because of its cycle path status, there are signs here and there of old railway architecture such as the old station platforms, and the steps at the side of the old viaducts. Then there’s the golf club-house, and some allotments. Then you arrive at the fairly new tram stop, from which there’s an open view across to Edinburgh Castle, with Murrayfield stadium somewhere on the left not far away.
Of course everything looks better in the sunshine, but I was pleased that I had done this quite modest walk at last, and favourably surprised by the scenery en route, which was much nicer than I remembered. Also, because I hate re-tracing my steps, I am pleased to report that I could catch the tram to Haymarket and the bus home from there. I don’t think I am quite ready to set out on the West Highland Way just yet, but it’s good to think of walking for enjoyment now and not just as another task that has to be fitted into the day.