On impulse last Sunday I got up and went for a walk. The sun was shining, and it was bright and mild as I set off for the Rivelin Valley Trail. What I had reckoned without was the fact that it was Sunday, sunny, bright and mild, meaning thet tha trail was the busiest I've ever seen it (not hard, as I usually go first thing in the morning).
It was the most people I've seen for months and probably for over a year and while I wasn't exceptionally worried - out in the open as we were - about their potential germs, it was all a bit overwhelming. So I decided to complete the trail and go back by road, making a circuit (as it turned out) of 8.6 miles - not bad going considering how out of condition I am.
I started in Malin Bridge, at the confluence of the rivers Loxley and Rivelin,
which is about a mile and a third from home, and emerged on Manchester
Road on the southwestern outskirts of Sheffield, the trail itself being
about three and a half miles long.
Along the way, a number of trees and holly bushes had been hung with baubles, and a Rudolph had found his way into the middle of the river. There was a lot of water and I took the long way round rather than risk - or even try to locate - the stepping stomes of my usual route.
Everyone on the trail was very cheerful and friendly, and no one was ostentatiously keeping their distance. On the way back by road, however, people's behaviour was very different. And I wondered at the risk assessment process that led people to the conclusion that briefly passing within six feet of another pedestrian in the open air was more dangerous than walking into the A57.