What's this walking think all about then?
There's been such a big push to go walking and to get outdoors in the past couple of years, but there are still people who haven't got the message yet - or perhaps don't even get the outdoors. So, this post is for you to show them...
The old image of walkers being old men in a bobble hat and a unfashionable kagool eating mint cake is very far from the truth. Today, walking is an activity enjoyed by people of all ages, all races, all social-economic groups, and regardless of gender. And the kit available today is astonishing in both its practicality and its looks.
The most common question I get asked by people who aren't walkers is "So what's the attraction in just walking?"
Well, how long have you got?!
Let's touch first on of course on the health benefits you gain from walking. A decreased chance of heart disease, a decreased chance of diabetes and a decreased chance of high blood pressure are three reasons I think are good enough alone for getting out walking.
And then there's the social aspect of walking... or not. Social because there are many walking groups across the country you can join to go walking with, not to mention the national groups like The Ramblers. Then, of course, there's many communities on social media like Walks Around Britain, where you can share your walking experiences and ask for suggestions of great walks to undertake in the future. But sometimes going walking can be the best "get away from it all" that there is - and there's a lot to be said for the solitude of a good walk. Indeed, so many artists, writers, painters and poets find the very act of placing one foot in front of another fuels the creative process.
There are also the less tangible benefits from just being outside. We need a degree of sunshine to help us function properly, and walking is one of the best ways to get that "outdoors fix". And It's cheap too. In most cases, you really only need a good pair of walking boots - there's no expensive gym or golf club membership fees here. The benefit to the soul of being outdoors is priceless.
So, if you've never been walking before, now is as good a time as any to start. It doesn't have to be walking up the highest peaks in Britain - in fact lots of the best walks I've done have been through ancient forests, along the coast or even discovering the heart of a town or city I've passed through in a rush for years.
Starting out, you don't need lots of kit - just the best walking boots you can afford - and I suppose unless you will be walking exclusively when it's sunny, a good waterproof jacket could be a use with the British weather. If you are stuck for a walking route to do, there are several good websites which will have walks in your area, there's always social media accounts for you to look at, or your local bookshop should have a book of local walks for you to get started with.
Photos - Andrew White