Weather and Walking

Despite my love for the natural world and appreciation for the changing seasons, it’s fair to say I’ve had quite enough of the weather just lately. Is it just me or is there a connection between the division and hatred sweeping our country and Mother Nature showing us the strength of her wrath? Like an angry parent warning us there’ll be hell to pay if we don’t play nice!

I do my best to avoid the media – with it’s fake news and propaganda – choosing instead to put my faith in the kindness and positivity I find around me on a daily basis… but I’m not so blind that I don’t also see the fear, anger and suffering that is potentially destroying our communities. It’s what motivates me to keep doing what I can to make a difference in the hope that it all feeds into the greater good.

There’s no avoiding the wind however as it rattles through the windows of our caravan, shaking the walls as I lie awake at night praying that the trees surrounding us can withstand the storm. The seemingly endless weeks of sleepless nights is beginning to take its toll but I’m grateful that Mother Earth has kept us safe so far… my heart goes out to those not so lucky.

Today the rain is pounding our roof once more, snow is causing trouble for friends in the northeast and 50mph winds are yet again forecast for this afternoon and through the night… my optimism from the beginning of the month is fading and summer seems very far away.

To top it off this weather is seriously interfering with my plans to walk Hadrians Wall at Easter…

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been walking once a week, increasing the distance each time, and easily hit my first goal to walk 10 miles by the end of January. The storms of the past few weeks however have hindered my progress, either because it’s been too dangerous to even go out, or the mud, wind and flooding have made the going so tough that I’ve not quite reached the miles I’d hoped for.

I’m not exactly big on fitness, I run out of breath just going up stairs, and I’m now wondering if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew…

Generally speaking though I love a good walk. I can’t think of anything that clears my head better than a lengthy dose of fresh air.

Two weeks back I set off for my routine walk in the wake of Storm Ciara. The weather wasn’t great but had relented a little so, despite my head not being quite with it and my boots breaking five minutes in, I reminded myself why I was doing this and decided to get as far as I possibly could regardless. The first two miles I find is often the hardest! My hip twinged; my boot rubbed; I got pins and needles in my arm… like my body is doing everything it can to make me turn around, but I’ve learned to ignore it – at least for a little while.

Eventually, I reach the point where everything falls into place, the endorphins start flowing, my muscles are warm and comfortable, the world is suddenly an amazing place! On this particular day I had a friendly robin (it may not have been the same one!) accompany me for several miles… always staying a few feet ahead and even posing for a photograph. I notice some scarlet elf cups – a fungi I’ve never seen before – and double headed snowdrops. The wind howls but the fresh air on my face is exhilarating and nothing matters except the path ahead. Before I know it I’ve cleared six miles… now I can turn around and head for home!

With just six weeks left until my challenge, I will keep trudging on… braving the elements as best I can and hoping that the ground dries up a bit in the meantime. Am I nuts? Perhaps…

Next time I’ll talk more about why I’m doing this to myself!

You can also follow my progress on Twitter or check out my ‘go fund me‘ page for further details.

Until next time…


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