Thursday, 2 May 2013

New Spring walks from Walk London

Although I've only been on one of Walk London's organised walks, I'm a big fan.  They're a great way of getting out to explore somewhere new, hearing from enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides and, of course, meeting fellow walkers.  A string of free guided London walks are coming up, and it looks as though the weather may be brightening to meet them.  You can see all of the walks on offer on the Walk 4 Life website, but here are a few of my choice picks:

A short (1.5 mile) walk around St Paul's, exploring London's past and some interesting areas that it would be easy to overlook. Apparently this walk is wheelchair (and pushchair!) friendly.
Starting on the steps of St Paul's on 26 May at 1.30pm

On a similar 'hidden' theme, this walk will explore the back streets near some of London's most famous landmarks.
Starting at Embankment tube station on 25 May at 10.30am

This includes some of my favourite parts of the Green Chain, taking in the view from Shooter's Hill and some wonderful woodland.  A longer walk at 7 miles, but done at a leisurely pace over 3.5 hours. Lead by Ian Bull, who I agree is a great walking guide!
Starts at Belvedere railway station on 26 May at 1pm

The Thames Path SUPER WALK
A whopping 17.5 miler, starting at Slade Green station and finishing in Greenwich.  For obvious baby-shaped reasons I'm not going to be able to do this but, if you do go, I'd recommend having a celebratory pint of Meantime at the Old Brewery afterwards.  Also lead by Ian, so you know it'll be a good one.
Starts at Slade Green railway station on 25 May at 10am

See the rest of the walks here!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Happy birthday! So much has changed.

Three years ago today, I decided to embark on one of the most incredible journeys I have ever undertaken. That year of training featured many of the toughest experiences I have faced, and the walk itself became one of the most rewarding.  Three years ago today, I launched into a world I had little understanding of (training? stamina? competition? what's that?) and came out understanding a lot more about myself.

Since the walk, my life has changed dramatically.  I have changed jobs once, moved house twice, and my hair is a good 10 inches shorter.  Oh, and I had a baby 6 months ago too.  So the walking is on hold.  In fact, the longest walk I have undertaken in over a year was probably the one I posted back in January.  Where I also said that I was resurrecting the blog.  Oops.

Anyway, today would have been my dad's 80th birthday. Although I can't believe that he's watching over us, I do believe that he is very much a silent grandfather for my daughter.  She sleeps in a cot with bumpers made from his old cotton shirts, I sing the same songs to her that he sang to me and, although she's little and obviously doesn't understand, I frequently talk to her about him.  Tonight I will cook something dad appropriate and raise a glass to his life - something I hope to share with her in the years to come too.

Thanks, Dad.  And happy birthday.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Walking and wanting

I haven't been out walking a huge amount lately as I've really been quite busy, but there have been a few things that have caught my eye:

Free London walks are back this weekend, thanks to Walk London.  Some long, some short, but all interesting.  I like the sound of 'London's hidden alleyways and courtyards', 'Subterranean London' and 'Seafaring London'.

Go and have a look at what else is on offer!

Back when I was training, I heard about the FitBit - a small clip-on  pedometer and sleep tracker with a really useful online logging and analysis tool.  At that time it was not availble in the UK, but guess what...

It's now here!

Even though I'm not doing crazy activity anymore, I'm massively interested in this.  I can't quite put my finger on the attraction since I've tried pedometers and didn't like them and would probably forget to put this on at bedtime after the first week, but still there's something about that sleek black case, and clever auto-syncing, and the data.  Oh, the data.

It's £80 though...and I guess I don't really need any more stuff.  Especially if it's £80 stuff. Ho hum.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Here we go again.

All the routes!  One of them is the LOOP.

New year, new walks!  Something a little less stressful than the training regime at the start of last year, and without the same purpose, but still out and about exploring London.  This is the year that we start walking the London Outer Orbital Path (LOOP).

The first route is a nice easy 8.5 miles from Erith to Old Bexley Village.  No steep bits, no particularly rough paths, and with interesting views of two very different flavours: rivers (Thames, Darent, Cray) on one side; heavy industry on the other.  I rather enjoyed that. 

The Thames at ErithScrapyard in Erith.

I took a few photos from the walk (and a video of some enthusiastic seagulls) which you can see in this Flickr set

I plan to resurrect this blog, not to raise money as before but to continue posting about my London walking adventures.   And also any other bits that catch my eye.  Which leads me nicely to direct you back to Matt Green's blog.

I first posted about Matt in July 2010, when I was right at the start of my training and finding inspiration from all over the place (you can read my original post here).  Matt's journey was certainly inspirational as he aimed to walk from one side of America to the other.  Just because he fancied doing it.  The result was not only some really beautiful and strange photos of the parts of the States that you don't usually see, but also an amazing insight into the country and the people who live there.  His last post looking at the walk one year after finishing was a touching reflection on the kindness that he met during his journey.

The great news that came at the start of the year, is that Matt is now back out and walking full time again.  This time he's aiming to walk every public road in New York City.  Once again he's taking stunning photographs of usually unseen NYC and the people who inhabit the city.  Please do go and take a look at the details of his challenge and enjoy the scattering of photos that he posts at the end of his daily walk.

Go!  Go now!  And I'll see you back here once I've hauled myself off the sofa for another stroll.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Three months on...

Wow. Another month has gone by. And what a month. Highs, lows, busy times, quiet times. They've all been there. And then today, as I prepared to write this post, I got a fantastic email.

Ages ago, I filled in a survey for Mapumental, and of course totally forgot about it. But apparently there was a prize draw attached to this one, and my name was drawn to win a £50 donation to the charity of my choice. Guess which one I chose... That makes £1682 for the June Hancock Mesothelioma Fund. Hurrah!

A couple of weeks ago my husband David and I took a weekend out to go back to my hometown for a visit. We had a particularly good day out with my Mum and Gran, driving through the nearby countryside and visiting places I hadn't seen in years. On Sunday we also had a little wander over to Southampton Common where this lovely chap posed for me and showed off his fabulous feet.

I haven't really talked about coots and their place in the relationship with Dad. Perhaps I'll leave that for another time

As often happens, the childhood photos made a brief appearance. While David amused himself by threatening to make pictures of me on a potty in the woods public, I was a little more taken with this one.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Two months on...

The walk feels like such a long time ago. My legs are now pretty much back to normal, the joint pain I was having last month has gone, and the only thing that seems to keep the whole adventure real is the map on the kitchen wall that I still haven't had the heart to take down.

In the last month since I wrote here I have taken part in a flamenco performance, continued singing pop songs in choir and been rather busy at work. In short, life has gone on. In the last month there has also been a Fathers' Day.

I don't think I ever celebrated Fathers' Day when dad was alive. I think he had the same opinion of it as the one he held for Valentine's Day: another hollow opportunity for consumerism. Or at least that's how he presented it - I'm sure he'd actually quite like to have had a shoddily made card from me of course and maybe I should have made one for him. Ah well. The opportunity has gone now.

Anyway, here's a little photo I found which must have been taken when I was maybe 13 or 14. It shows us during a day out to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. This is how I remember time with Dad.


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

One month on...

I'm now one whole month on from the start of my epic walk.

Since then I've started feeling like I've got twice the time in the week than I had when training. Which is awesome.

So, what have I been doing with all that perceived extra time? Not walking too much actually, thanks to a knee that's still a bit sore. But I've been back up and dancing, and I started singing in a choir for the first time in a decade. I've never had more varied things to interest me.

That said, I have started missing the routine of the training a bit and I sometimes find myself wistfully looking out of the train window at the parks I used to walk through. And just as soon as my knee is back to normal, I'm getting back out there.

David bought me a guide to walking the LOOP for my birthday so I think that will be our project over the summer. Not in one go this time though. It's 152 miles...