Five things I like about walking

Published 18 April 2021

The view across fields near Linnet Clough Scout Camp
The view across fields near Linnet Clough Scout Camp, near Marple, Greater Manchester.

Recently I was interviewed for a podcast. Normally I avoid such media calls on my time. Which is quite easy as I get next to none. But I avoid them because frankly I am a bit of a babbler and am not that good at interviews. My on-air experience mostly consists of six radio shows on a student radio station in 1998. And that was different because it was my show and I could do whatever I wanted.

But this podcast was about inspiring children to get out and get active. And as a parent who likes his children to spend time outside, well I thought I’d go for it.

We arranged a time to chat by phone. As it happened I had the day off work, and was doing a day walk in the local area. I spent the interview leaning on a gate overlooking a rather pleasant view across a field. There are worse ways to spend part of your afternoon.

The guy doing the interview asked me some questions, and I babbled some answers. I am not convinced I was massively coherent, but I am sure it will sound okay when he’s edited it all together. The whole experience reminded me why I prefer writing. You can take your time, refine, get it right. But to reassure myself afterwards of the time I saw a bit of Homes Under the Hammer being filmed. If you don’t know about Homes Under The Hammer, well it’s a TV programme all about house auctions. It’s a bit of a cult classic and has some rather random moments. But hey, perhaps you should watch it yourself. Anyway I was eating my lunch at work one day and looking out of the window who should I see but Homes Under The Hammer presenters Martin Roberts and Lucy Alexander filming some links for the show. I don’t know what they were saying, but it took them about half an hour to actually get it right.

Whilst I don’t remember my exact answers, I do remember the questions. And one of them was what do I like about walking.

And because I am writing this, I can tell you an answer that’s more coherent. And because most of my audience aren’t children, I can add a few extra bits that I definitely didn’t include as they weren’t appropriate for that audience.

Here goes.

Getting out and exploring places.

Going to somewhere I’ve never been before, seeing what I find. Through walking I’ve been to parts of the UK I’d probably never go otherwise.

The pace.

Life is so fast and frantic. Wake up, get breakfast, rush the children out of the house to get them to school, spend all day at work, cook tea for now returned children, bedtime stories, GET TO BED, etc. It’s rush, rush, rush. You can’t hurry walking. Well you can but I firmly believe you shouldn’t. Realistically if you’re walking from one place to another, you’re not going to go that far. Most people will be 15-20 miles, absolute max. Consider that Lands End to John O’Groats – from the southern tip of this country to the very north – is 874 miles by road. It would take you many weeks to walk. You can’t go fast on a walk. You’re forced to slow down, take a different pace to life. And that’s just what I need.

A nice pub at the end.

Yeah, not possible with every walk. And not everyone likes a pub. However this is about me and what I like. And a visit to the pub is always something I look forward to. It’s like a reward for the hard graft.

The friendliness.

Every now and then when I’m walking back home having done the morning school run, I see a woman who says a cheery “Morning!” to me as I pass. I have no idea who she is. I don’t know if she thinks I am someone else. Or if she just is friendly.

It feels a bit weird because it’s not the kind of thing people normally do. Unless you’re out on a walk that is. It’s nice to share a cheery smile, and exchange pleasantries. I’m not a great one for striking up random conversations with people, but even I have had some nice chats with people. On the Pennine Way we even ended up having an evening meal with a couple we’d met out walking. It was quite nice.

The stunning scenery.

Yeah okay, that’s not every walk either. However there’s always something nice, everywhere. One of the things I did try to get across in the interview for the podcast is that there are great places to walk everywhere, no matter where you live. Yes, even in big cities.

So that’s my list. Got any of your own? Feel free to share in the comments below…

Incidentally one thing I really should have included in the interview – but failed to do – was mention I was doing it whilst out on a walk! Stupid me!

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