As you will know by now, I like L L o o o o n n n n g g g g walks ! Anything from 10 to 20 miles a day is good, and I even did one walk of 35 miles earlier this year. It’s great to be able to stride out and spend a whole day on the trail. I’m not sure if that makes me strange, in fact I’m not sure why I like long walks so much really. Is it the challenge, that sort of ‘man against the elements’ sort of thing? I guess you could ask, ‘Why climb Mount Everest?’ or, ‘Why skydive from 24 miles up? There isn’t really an answer, except for me, I love being outdoors in this wonderful countryside, close to nature and creation, and I like to keep fit at the same time !
There was a time when I used to search the book shelves for walking guides that covered longer distances, but I found virtually none! Oh, some books paid lip service to long walks by including the odd 8 or 10 mile route, but nothing substantial. So I started to plan my own routes, originally using paper OS maps, and now OS map software, and I have to say, I have really enjoyed doing it. There is something special about walking a route that is ‘all your own work’!
Well, I then had a thought – why not publish a book myself?? Now, I’m not really a writer, although I have been known to get the odd article in print, but that is exactly what I am doing, and have been for some time. Thus far, it has been very much down to route preparation and design and I have over 30 routes now. I also have a potential publisher and am looking at my options because these days it seems that self publishing is the way to go. The book will cover some spectacular walks and include maps, route descriptions, lots of information on interesting things along the way, and of course lots of photographs!
Anyway, as much as I love long walks, I really enjoy shorter walks too and often of an evening or weekend, you will find me walking in the local area where I live.
It is great to be able to walk straight from my front door without the need for the car, and although I live in an urban area, it is possible by linking footpaths, stretches of urban woodland, heath, parklands etc to feel like you are actually out in the countryside. One of my favourite sunday walks takes in a small nature reserve, a lovely oasis in the middle of suburbia where there is so much wildlife to see.
After the nature reserve, my route takes me into an area of woodland known as Delph Woods. It isn’t a large woodland and it is surrounded by houses, roads and a golf course but when you are in amongst the trees, you forget you are in the middle of a town. I have been walking these woods for many many years and I can well remember how I used to take my children there on a Sunday. There is a disused railway line running through it and I used to tell them tales of the ghost train that still travels through on a moonlit night ! I don’t think they believed me then, and they definitely don’t believe me now that they are grown up!!
One of the challenges for me is to capture some good landscape pictures and undoubtedly the early morning or late evening is the best time to do that – the so called ‘golden hour’. Somehow, it is easier to take notable landscapes when at the well known landmarks that have featured in books and magazines the world over, but to repeat that in your local woodlands is a new challenge. And I like a challenge !
The walk also takes in a small pond or two and it is always magical standing there in the fading light watching the setting sun reflecting off nature’s mirror. You may be in the middle of a town, but with the singing of the birds, the hooting of an owl, the sight of a deer in the dusk light, you could be anywhere. Long may these local havens be preserved for us to enjoy and escape into when we have just a little time to spare.
So the long and short of it is……enjoy both! Just enjoy the freedom of being outside in God’s creation, drink it in, it will refresh and renew you, it will reduce the stress levels created by modern life, it will improve your heart and your mind. It always does mine!
And if you need a guide book to help you, I know where you can get one….. !
Thanks for stopping by and reading the ramblings of The Dorset Rambler.
Until next time,
The Dorset Rambler.
If you would like to contact me, my details are on my website which is http://www.yarrowphotography.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.
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