I didn’t expect to be stomping my way around the Peak District this month. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but after one week my enthusiasm is starting to wane. It's 7.30pm on the 8th October and if I don’t hurry, I shan’t reach Midhopestones before bedtime. And what an appropriate name! It’s the last trudge up the lane and across the muddy fields I'm not looking forward to as the light fades taking with it my ability to negotiate the sodden cow pats safely.
If, when, I arrive at Midhopestones I will have reached just over 71 miles in 8 days along the 200 mile Peak District Boundary Walk. The reality of course, is that my approach of Midhopestones will simply be in my imagination as I will likely be taking a turn this evening, around the familiar block that is our village, to get the last of the day’s steps in to ensure I don’t slip behind.
Though I would love to spend each day walking the actual Peak District Boundary Walk, I don’t have the time. I have to work. Which is not to be sniffed at when you have been furloughed for most of the year. But that does mean the luxury of time which I have indulged in over the past few months is no longer available to me. So instead, I am virtually walking the route. Which sounds as though I am sat on the sofa in my snugly slippers, wearing a pair of overly thick goggles attached to my computer, transporting me through the delights of the Peak District whilst I remain entirely stationary, warm and dry. Alas 'virtual' only refer to the route, the walking is very real as the little throb in my left knee reminds me, an injury I carry from when I was youthful, newly jilted and incapable of riding a motorbike safely in the rain whilst my mind concentrated on getting past my ex’s house before being seen; sad, alone and desperate for a cigarette. Darn those days of nipping to the pub for a packet of fags out the machine!
So, in actual fact I am walking 200 miles, the equivalent of the Peak District Boundary Walk, and I have October to complete it. By my reckoning, and based on my younger days of pacing the welsh landscape counting double steps per 100 meters in driving rain, inconsiderate wind and unseasonal snow, to perfect my navigation skills for my Mountain Leaders Assessment, I will have to average about 12000 steps a day which equates to around 6.5 miles, give or take a hop, skip and a jump and taking into account the smaller steps whilst daydreaming and the wider steps when running from a bull.
Now, I cannot say hand on heart that every step will be executed outside during a lovely countryside walk, indeed that would be complete codswallop. My step counter goes on my wrist faster than I can say Big Wild Walk and before my feet touch the bedroom carpet of a morning. And if I am lacking in steps after every opportunity for another walk has passed, I find myself marching on the step whilst reading my emails and pacing the carpet in a figure of eight around our meager living room to the sounds of All Creatures Great and Small or a touch of Jo Whiley to keep the rhythm flowing.
But I do try and complete as many steps as possible whilst stomping across the Peak District landscape. It’s a treat! And one which Indi dog is happy to indulge in. I won’t take the car just to do a walk. Especially when I live in the most beautiful village surrounded by endless limestone dales and rolling hills. But I will make the most of being out in the car already. The Big Wild Walk has taken me through the Edale Valley, over Mam Tor, beside the Ladybower Reservoir and over a particular favourite, Stanton Moor. Always with Indi dog in toe and a cheese sandwich to keep her moving particularly when the rain is dripping from her long shnoze!
And why are we doing this? Well that’s simple. It’s good for us and it’s good for nature! We are walking 200 miles this October as part of The Wildlife Trusts’ Big Wild Walk. We are raising sponsorship money that The Wildlife Trusts will use to help deliver their projects. Their mission is to get 30% of land and sea connected and protected for nature’s recovery by 2030. But what does that mean? Well, in simple terms it means they are doing great things for nature, making the UK’s landscape richer in wildlife which in turn will benefit every single one of us. But you can find out much more about the work they do by visiting their website: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/what-we-do There are also local Wildlife Trusts located across the UK, mine is Derbyshire Wildlife Trust https://www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk
So you see, it’s all about caring for nature, the one thing we all need and that needs us more than ever before. Now I need to stop typing because my ‘watch’ has rudely vibrated to alert me that I have ‘been sitting too long’ and need to shake a leg! Whilst I head out into the dark and skip around the block, attempting to reach Midhopestones by bedtime, you can take a little stationary trip to my Just Giving page, and in the luxury of your warm, dry living room, make a donation to Bee kinder Big Wild Walk for nature. I’ll do the walking, but I need you to do the donating! Simply click on this short and succinct web address!