OK so I had never heard of the nearest village. Gnosall is not really the sort of place that you know when you are from Bedfordshire but it is a lovely area.
I had never been on a naked group walk before but all the arrangements were made and I felt very much part of the group before I even got there. Suggestions of best routes, offer of a lift from part way. Even an offer to wait for me if I was delayed on the fairly lengthy road trip. Brian, the group leader was really great.
I arrived at the pub car park with time to spare and saw someone who looked like a rambler and confirmed that it was one of the intended group. It was so we had a chat about suitable footwear as I had little idea. I got changed into “easy-change” kit and appropriate walking boots and slowly the others arrived. Brian had warned me that he might be a bit late but soon we set off.
We rather frustratingly set off at the same time and in the same direction as a single lady textile dog walker. So we did not strip off until we went our separate ways. I have walked naked alone a number of times now but the big issue for me is how to deal with textile encounters. The funny thing was that the first textile we saw was the very same lady that we had seen earlier. She had taken a slightly different route. I am not sure if she turned and went the other way when she saw us or if she had already turned to go back anyway.
I don’t quite recall the sequence of other meetings but we met tow ladies walking 4 dogs and by the time the group saw them it would have been a bit pointless to do a hurried cover up so we just greeted them, fussed the dogs and carried on. We went past one house and thought that we had checked out that there was nobody in the front garden but actually there were a couple of guys at the far end loading up a trailer so cheery greetings where passed either way.
We stopped for a picnic lunch in a lovely area surrounded by bluebells. Whilst we were resting and eating a large group of textile ramblers appeared at the top of the hill probably a couple of hundred yards away. They paused and took a slightly different route down the hill. I think they probably decided to avoid us
There was one house where the right of way passes close to one house and right through the front garden of another. We decided to cover up in advance realising that the right of way alone might be quite an imposition.
Towards the end of the walk we joined the canal towpath. The group had split with most heading for the pub whilst I joined the other two with a view to extending the walk a little by going in the opposite direction along the canal to a point, later returning to the pub and car park. We met a couple of cyclists where a polite greeting was offered and returned. A couple walking the opposite way where the lady bid us a cheery “hello” whist the man looked a bit straight faced and said nothing.
A narrow boat passed and the greeting from the skipper was no different than had we been textiles but a short while after there seemed to be some relatively noisy amusement coming from the barge. In the evening we found a picture of our bare bottoms on Facebook.
Having turned back towards the car park we encountered some other ladies, A middle aged pair and a rather older pair. All were perfectly happy to say hello and did not seem bothered by our nudity. As we got closer to the village it seemed appropriate to dress for the final 100 yards or so to the pub (which was closed when we arrived – the only disappointment in the entire day).
The walk was lovely, the company was lovely, the encounters were positive. A big thank you to Brian who organised it and to my fellow ramblers.