Activity Level: Not Very Active
I don’t exercise.
I hate the gym.
More than 10 years ago I was running for a bus and when I got on it, my friend who’d saved me a seat said if I ran like that again I’d damage my knees.
Becoming a walking convert
Then last year a friend suggested a walking holiday and without properly reading my WhatsApp messages (I was busy at work) I accepted. It was only the day before we were going to head off, reading back through my messages, that I realised we weren’t doing some nice two-hour circular walks over three days and staying at a lovely spa hotel – I’d signed up to walk all the way from Stroud to Bath over three days along a stretch of the Cotswold Way. Oops.
So ignorant was I of what I’d signed up for, I had to borrow my friend’s husband’s luminous yellow waterproof and, by the end of day one, another friend’s hiking shoes (she had read the WhatsApp messages and was only walking with us for a day). I complained some of the time and tried to ban jovial singing. When one friend suggested picking up the pace I sharply replied that I’d go at my own pace thank you very much. I was a joy to all.
But something clicked over the three days (my knee?) and by the end of it I was a walking convert.
So this year I’m walking. I started using the hashtag #walk2020 on Twitter before realising some people were using it because they intend to walk 2,020 miles in 2020. I’m not here to walk a mountain. I’m just here to walk.
2,020 miles in 2020 would be 39 miles every weekend. I’m mostly walking between 5 and 12 miles one day a week, usually on a Saturday.
I bought three of the Cicerone walking books that have routes in the south of England (where I live): the Ridgeway, The Thames Path and the North Downs Way.
The Ridgeway is an ancient path of pilgrimage, so it makes sense to work up to that one and do it over a week or more in one big burst. Probably in May. But I thought it would be fun to collect the other two in stages. And break the stages into smaller stages if I wanted to. Because I’m not climbing a mountain.
So far, my partner and I have walked from Abingdon to Oxford, and from Oxford to Swinford Toll Bridge. The section from Oxford in the book ends in Newbridge, so we’ll get the bus to Swinford Bridge and walk on to Newbridge another weekend. With shorter days in winter it’s just more comfortable than walking through the mud in the dark. And give us some credit, we walked Oxford to Swinford Toll Bridge AND BACK yesterday. That’s like 33,000 of my steps and 28,000 of his.