Monday, 8 October 2012

Rumination: 1,000 Miles

The evening of 22nd June saw one of the most singularly extraordinary rainstorms I have seen since December of 1996 (when it rained solidly for a week, and the roof of my house leaked) the sheer volume or water that came down finished off just about any interest I might have had in walking the following day. It was also prudent to stay in that weekend as I might have been needed for emergency flood relief as my friends in Mytholmroyd had been updating Facebook with anxious reports of the river rising and then having a flood in their kitchen. It turns out that it was nowhere near as bad as it sounded, but 'kitchen under water' sounded immediately alarming to me, at least. So another weekend didn't get walked, and I felt pretty miserable for it, especially as the day turn out to be pretty nice after the deluge of the previous night.

June 2012 - This man was on the
verge of quitting walking.
Being miserable was a good feeling, though, as week ago I had felt ready to throw the walking in after getting saturated on the walk to Kettlewell (being cold and wet are the things I dislike most in the regular scheme of things), but me being indoors with good outdoors weather had me wanting to be out in it. I've regularly pondered when weekend walking might stop feeling like a novel activity and become something more ingrained, and this was the point that walking ceased to be a new activity and became second nature, I was staying home and felt like I was being restrained. From this time, the question for the future would no longer be 'Am I walking this weekend?'' but would now be 'Where am I walking this weekend?', there was no more need to put together active months to force me out of the house, now I would be finding routes to walk to see as much of the immediate vicinity as I could and walking them as weather and energy would allow.

A time to reflect, also gave me opportunity to sit down and take some accurate measurements of all my walks so far and when I totalised them, I was surprised that I had already topped out 200 miles. That is one hell of a lot, I thought, as far as walking to my parents' house and back, a round trip to Leicestershire, and I'd never thought that I would get so many down in just over three months, in my first year of walking. Nothing like those fell runners and proper Long Distance Walkers might have achieved in the same period, but pleasing to me and impressive for a short and still-overweight guy like I still am. This set me to thinking about putting some structure into my walking by setting myself a target, as the first three months of walking had been structured and had been a success, so instead I needed a larger target and this is where the idea of 1,000 miles before my 40th birthday came around. It's a nice round figure, that's appropriately large but still attainable, and my finish target of November 2014 is appropriately distant and looks like a landmark to any observer. The target was made that bit easier to digest after seeking opinions from Facebook friends and deciding to count the miles walked so far as part of my total, 1,000 miles doesn't look so far when you have already 200 of them under your boots.

March 2012 - This man doesn't know
He's going to walk 1,000 miles.
Blogging my walks was my next thought, as I had been uploading pictures onto my Facebook page as I'd been going through March and April, but I'd allowed a backlog to develop as May came around and as that sites uploader had been somewhat erratic and I had displayed an almost pathological need to write lengthy explanations of my pics, it became too much of a task to keep doing. Writing about my walks became the obvious extension, and would give a potentially larger audience to my wittering, and I wouldn't have to use that broken uploader either. I know that I'm a slow writer (I am writing about June in October after all!), but I can get into a rhythm, and if I could keep a hand written (and ridiculously over-detailed) diary for 10 years a decade ago, an entry for one day (or so) a week should be easy. Naturally, if you read this you'll see that I'm not anywhere near having caught up with myself, but 2012 should be written up in its entirety by the end of the year. The blogging would have of course proved easier if I hadn't gotten reverse writers block and had my few sentences of introduction expand into something that took a month to get down.

The final thought comes around to working to a higher purpose in my walking, and I had entertained the thought of putting a charity drive on a long-distance path, probably the Dales Way, at some point in 2013 because it just seem like something that I should do. I'd had a look a the foreign excursion treks for charity but those things expect you to raise more money than I think I can gather, and they frustratingly fail to illustrate just how far you are going to walk whilst out either. The UK challenge walk market failed to inspire too, many challenges are just to, well, challenging, '20 Lakeland Peaks in 24 Hours' seems like some sort of test for masochists and the UK Three Peaks seems like a lot of travel and effort to no obvious reward, even the Yorkshire Three Peaks doesn't pique my interest as 26 miles is more than I want to walk and I know there's a long, boring trudge in the middle of it, which has a bog to traverse. A period of 2+ years of walking is long enough to get interest from all the random people in my life, and not having to rely just on my dozen closest friends and colleagues. Never done charity fund-raising though, and hadn't set up a Just Giving account in June, and still haven't in October, but I'll give that a push when the new year comes around, and I still haven't got a charity fixed in my mind, probably Mind, the mental health charity, as my personal choice and Leeds Children's Hospital as a local one. Like I said, that's something to worry about in the future.

So, the 1,000 mile target crystallises in my mind and I start plotting out the summer walks scheme, and all weather predictions are set to 'wettest summer ever', but I'll still worry more about to much heat, rather than too much water, and I'll look to easy walks keeping me away from too much high moorland and the possibilities of heatstroke and/or dousing in remote places. There are six major canals in West Yorkshire, and I intend to walk the paths of all of them! Onward!

No comments:

Post a Comment