Re-discovering walking

In my late teens and twenties I was a keen walker and climber, but as often happens with hobbies, things got in the way. By the end of 2020 asthma and two bouts of covid had taken their toll and getting up stairs was often difficult. I was faced with the possibility that I may have already climbed my last mountain.

Midnight December 31st 2020 I vowed to walk 1,000 miles during 2021 – less than 3 miles a day and overall about the distance from Lands End to John O’Groats. Despite working, having childcare responsibilities and a small menagerie to cater for, I was determined that I was going to get fitter and walking would be how! Have a look at the report of this recent research article about how walking 4,000 steps (about 2 miles) a day can dramatically improve health.

Walking every day was not always easy, there were many pressures that made walking feel like a luxury, and of course there were the days when I’d rather stay in bed or crack on with household jobs. However, always when I pushed myself to get outside and walk, I felt better. I came home happier – the fresh air, the exercise, the connection with nature and the beauty of my local area all combined to energise me. 

Late July, with 500 miles walked, and a new pair of boots, I arrived back in the Peak District National Park for the first time in 20 years. It was a one night stop over at Hartington so I got up early and walked what I thought looked like a good route on the map. And it was absolutely stunning. Beresford Dale, Wolfscote Dale and Biggin Dale. I didn’t realise before setting out what a classic I had stumbled upon. The exposed rock walls and scree make the route feel mountainous, but with only 219m of ascent. 

Peak District Sign Post
Rock Stack in Beresford Dale

I was back. I felt like a walker again – most of the 500 miles had been on the same path near home. To be out in the stunning Peak District just made me very happy – and glad I decided not to have a lie in that morning! So, when commissioned to create walking routes from YHA hostels this route had to go in, and here it is – enjoy! 

Reflections from rediscovering walking

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