Why do we say hello to people we meet in the countryside, but not in the towns and cities where most of us live? In our everyday lives, travelling to and from work, squeezed into trains and buses, we never make eye contact with our fellow commuter inmates. In fact, there’s some hostility simmering beneath the surface, even though – to coin a mind-numbingly over-used phrase – we’re all in it together.
But put the same gaggle of passengers into the countryside – open moorland, a mountain path or a muddy track past an orchard – and we’re more than likely to smile or nod at them. Or at least – we do most of the time…as I’ve walked around the UK, I’ve realised the conventions of hailing and greeting total strangers is a little more nuanced than I’d expected. I got stuck into the idea for the Ramblers’ website – please take a few seconds to read my blog here. And don’t worry – if you say hello to me on an upland footpath, I won’t call for the men in white coats.