When our coach turned off the oh-so-bland motorway and onto a winding, dipping narrow two-lane road into English countryside, I finally felt like our journey had begun.
It was a strong contrast to the beehive of humanity in London. A stop at Hadrian’s Wall, an ancient defense built by the Romans to keep out the Picts, let us stand atop a bit of history that inspired a trail – Hadrian’s Path – leading hikers coast to coast across the northern fringe of England.
Out in the countryside, people walked and biked. We saw campgrounds around one of the national parks. Unlike in America, the parks and historic sites in England are managed by a private trust. Public access to cross private land is a right. And there are trails everywhere.
Mists closed in, as they should, as we rode into the moorlands of Yorkshire. They are a scrub habitat where little grows, bleak in demeanor under a cloudy sky. They go on and on and on.
Closer to the road are sheep farms, their green grass a strong contrast to the moors. At the Scottish border, moors gave way to forests and grassy fields.