First of all, I wish you all a very happy new year. May 2013 bring you health, happiness and fulfilment, and a fresh discovery of all that is beautiful in God’s created countryside around you. For those of you who follow my blog, thank you for taking the time to read it and for all of your kind comments.
The end of the year always seems a good time to take stock and to review all that has happened over the last 12 months so I did a review of all the walks that I have done in 2012. Excluding the ‘Sunday afternoon strolls’ (which don’t necessarily happen on a Sunday but you get the picture), the following are my statistics:
Full day walks completed – 100
Total distance walked - 1,250 miles
Average distance per walk – 12.5 miles
Longest single day walk – 35.2 miles
I don’t normally keep such detailed figures but as I am writing a book on walking in Dorset, I need to check distances and timings. The statistics make interesting reading however and just reinforce how very fortunate I feel that in my 65th year I still have good health and the energy to enjoy my favourite past-time. I feel blessed!
The coming year will be a special one because it is not only my 65th birthday, but will be the year of my official retirement, my wife has a significant birthday , and it is also our 40th wedding anniversary. And of course, God willing, it will be a year of lots more walking.
Looking back over the last year put me in ‘reminiscing’ mode and I came across some old photographs which were taken some 35 years ago !
A rather fetching outfit don’t you think , especially the red hiking boots, which incidentally were leather and cost me all of £7! In those days, I wasn’t able to walk quite as much as I do now since I was the sole bread winner and had a young family and a mortgage to support. This meant working full time and trying to make some money out of photography in my spare time. Weekends were either valuable family time or were spent photographing weddings.
However, I did manage to carve out some walking time, sometimes escaping with one of my brothers for a Saturday jaunt, or perhaps taking my son along in a rather battered carrier that we managed to acquire !
Another way I managed to get my walking time was by going out early in the morning. I would get up at 3 am in the summer and be able to do a really good walk and still be home in time for breakfast and to spend the day with my family. There is nothing better than being in the countryside or on the coast first thing in the morning before anyone is up and watching the sun rise as you walk, to watch the earth waking up after its night of slumbering.
Later, as my children were growing up, we developed a great arrangement – my son Paul and I would take off for a days walking whilst my wife and daughter would do ‘girly’ things. Later, at my wife’s suggestion, we bought a two man tent and Paul and I started backpacking on some weekends, usually along the Dorset coast. At first of course I carried everything on my back but as Paul grew, he gradually started to share the load.
Our trips grew over the years and we started to go away for walking weeks, often to the Lake District where we would camp in the Great Langdale Valley, but also to Scotland, North Wales, The Brecon Beacons and so on. We would walk all day, cook dinner on the stove outside the tent, and then take an evening stroll to our favourite watering hole which was The Stickle Barn Inn. I remember how much lighter the evenings seemed to be in the north of England and we would walk the mile or so back to the tent at 11 pm and it would still be light enough to see. Of course it was probably helped by the fact that there was no light pollution!
These were special times and they have given me such wonderful memories. To anyone reading this who has children, I cannot recommend highly enough the value of spending time together in the outdoors, especially in this computer age we live in. It will build strong and deep relationships as well as encouraging a healthy interest in nature and the countryside.
Paul and I still walk together and thoroughly enjoy each others company, in fact I am blessed with having a great relationship with both of my children – well adults I should say ! What more could a man ask for!
I could continue to reminisce for hours but I fear you would become bored. So to come back to where we started, I don’t necessarily wish you wealth as that is transitory, I wish you health and happiness as these are so much more fulfilling and long lasting.
A very happy new year to you all.
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 ishttp://www.yarrowphotography.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.
All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.