Getting back into walking

The grand walk around Smithills Moor on 24th April, 2021

I’d promised myself a ‘getting back into the swing of things’ type of walk for a week or two and with the onset of good weather, I couldn’t remember the last time we’d had rain, this weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity, whilst Chris stayed at home and did the gardening. I didn’t relish the idea of driving well over 90 minutes to get to Pendle and I also thought that given my current lack of fitness that to attempt Pendle Hill would have hospitalised me! A gentle stroll up to Rivington Pike and a meandering route down back to the car would have been just what the doctor ordered then…

Eventually, after some arguments between me and my iPhone cable splitter – which cuts out, I reached the start of the walk at around 9:25 and was on route by 9:30. I did toy with the idea of mapping this out via my Fitbits ( I had both on because I don’t trust them) in conjunction with the phone app but then decided this would zap my battery, or my data or more likely both!

The first port of call was the Pinetum, we don’t have many trees where I live now, so this afforded me the chance to see something more than Amelanchiers and Cherry trees and it is a nice flattish kind of start to the walk.  By 9:45 I had already decided that this would not just be a “Pike and back” route, having seen it from afar for the last few car outings, I wanted to nail Winter Hill summit but on my own terms – I would not be choosing any of the harder routes up to the top. I know  how boring this can sound but I wanted to bag the summit via the road route. This meant heading west and then south in order to get to the start of the Winter Hill road off George’s Lane – I had done this before, twice, so I was familiar enough with the route. I was surprised to see that the Dog Hotel that was, had now become a pop-up eatery, selling all sorts of drinks which were all neatly laid out, on a table, becoming increasingly warmer and less and less palatable! They also advertised that they sold Greenhalgh’s pies – I declined the chance to cart around with me – something as hot as Mercury’s core with heart attack potential, things like this were at least in part to blame for my current ‘rotund’ physique! Walking past was easy.

After some time I arrived at the turn-off for Winter Hill (the road) and began the gradual ascent. I had anticipated there being lots of folks out and about today, more so than normal given the freedoms now afforded to us in post lockdown…I had no idea they would be spread so far and wide, I saw people going the same way as me! Thankfully the three men that I did see decided to take a path which I had once considered, but decided against (which I believes leads all the way up to Crooked Edge Hill). I did get talking to a man who was walking down Winter Hill who had said that the Pike had appeared teeming with people since more or less first light this morning. That’s kind of a good and bad thing, good in that people are getting exercise and socialising and bad as I have now been possessed by the spirit of the late, great Alfred Wainwright and want all of the countryside to myself! Don’t get me wrong, I do like people, I do enjoy talking to them on route…but I don’t like having to wait for them at stiles and kissing gates and well most places to be honest! The distant views of the Pike were instilling in me the belief that towards that direction lay an awful lot of ‘waiting for people’.

Counting Hill in all its majesty.

I found myself to be coping so well with walking that the notion of extending the route to detour around Dean Mills Reservoir leapt into my mind and wouldn’t vacate. Hence I resolved to walk on past Two Lads and instead took the right hand turn onto yet more moorland – or at least the slabbed path which leads down and south-west, passing the former site of Smithills shooting hut. Progress was quite quick, given that I did occasionally stop to take the odd hazy photograph. Overhead – or at least all around me, were invisible sources of constant sound – Skylarks and by goodness were they on form today! I exchanged pleasantries with a couple who looked to have come from where I was heading and who were heading where I’d been. There was another friendly exchange between myself and a man who was a dead ringer for my one-time next door neighbour and then finally I was at the top of the little slope and in front of me was the small but perfectly azural Dean Mills reservoir.  To be honest you could possibly fit eight of these into the Lower Ogden Reservoir (my all-time favourite body of water) but that should not detract from this being in a lovely location and the shade of blue from a reservoir which has previously labelled as brown or peaty…well it was so worth the trek here.

I decided not to loiter as I was feeling a little bit hungry and thirsty and in need of a sit down. Although there was nothing wrong with the ground I fancied there might be somewhere nicer to sit further uphill and duly began the gentle ascent of this lesser visited of the West Pennines: Counting Hill. I think the last time that I was in this vicinity was in the winter of 2013 when I met up with a lady from the walking forum for a walk which turned out to be one of my favourites of the year – with snow, not normally my favourite weather condition. The terrain is essentially one giant peat sponge, soaking up every bit of water that falls on the twin plateaus of Counting and Winter hills, filtering it and conveying it on to the abundance of reservoirs situated to the south and west of the area. This is not the most arduous of climbs in fair weather, pardon the pun but it is a breeze! In inclement weather the organic path vanishes, in fact it is hardly visible at the start and end. Today I got lucky, so lucky in fact that I only saw one person on this hillside until I was within striking distance of where this path merges with the one which branches from Winter Hill road all the way down to Belmont Road. I found a very handily placed arrangement of rocks at which I sat and ate my lunch and tried to get some decent photographs but the haze was destroying clarity leaving everything looking a bit washed out on the monitor afterwards – you can’t have everything! Within seconds of my rising from my dolmen of a seat, a cute little bumble bee had landed and began foraging for whatever bumble bees forage. This would lead to one of the clearest photos of the day.

Who knew there was a tarn up here?
It’s yours truly trying to look enigmatic!

Winter Hill, the true summit of Winter Hill now beckoned and having not been to the top of this for close to three years I was up for the quite gentle task of traversing the remainder of Counting Hill and onto the col which is now gaining popularity at the top of Winter Hill (the road). I was almost sad to be leaving Counting Hill as this was a wonderfully tranquil and solitary place where I think  I could easily spend large amounts of time and only come away feeling good about myself.  I think I counted twelve people who’s path I crossed on route to the ordnance survey column – my only one of the day! Ordinarily, it’s rare to see more than one, I think this is the post pandemic phenomena – people are so bored of staying at home that even more are coming out into the countryside, well, as long as they don’t get in the way I suppose… It was a really welcome change to approach the column without my boots getting a liberal coating of mud, people can dress it up however they want but I do know the difference between peat and mud – mud stinks, peat does not! There was no spectacular view to the Yorkshire Icons to be had today so I quickly stood up and made my way back to the road, took a left and after a few metres took a right to begin the longest downhill section up to this part of the walk. Again I did encounter a lot of people on route, far more than normal, Winter Hill never used to attract the hordes but I have a feeling that’s transitional.  I was torn between wanting to wander across the great wide track across Rivington Moor to the Pike and bagging Crooked Edge Hill once more.

There’s nothing spectacular about this particular hill, yes there are two great mounds of stones and another budding ‘lad’ at “Two Lads” but it’s not like they offer a mobile phone charging station or vend a nice full-bodied merlot, they’re just two mounds of stones which people have taken to treating with a certain sentimentality which eludes me (and yet I actually love Pendle Hill!). All the same, it’s important to stick at one’s objectives for the day and the ascent of Crooked Edge Hill had been part of my itinerary for…a few hours. Having stumbled upon a path which seemed to have potential to escort me over towards the Pike track I made a deal with myself to bag Crooked Edge Hill and return to this path to achieve all relevant objectives. That being said, the possibility was denied me as I couldn’t find (or devote the time and patience) this path to the Pike and instead filtered off back down the bumpy and vertigo inducing drop down Crooked Edge Hill to the former dog hotel / pie shop! This is not my favourite part of the route and I was delighted to be back on terroir – almost firmer at the front of the shop. I was only slightly tempted by the sight of what had to be by now, bottled warm water and decided to have a seat at another large stone and with a large helping of fortune discovered I still had some energy gels with me, which were readily consumed. By this time Apple Weather app was reporting the local temperature as 17 Celsius – it felt a good deal hotter than that!

The reward for the slog uphill, the Tower atop the Pike.

I’m not a fan of the section from the Dog hotel of old; to the irrelevant lump which is Brown Hill, it’s boring and seems to go on forever. The highlight was watching two young lads leg it up the side of an extremely steep – I want to say ‘sheep trod’ but no sheep in its right mind would attempt that thing, in less than 17 seconds – the two lads from their party who had stayed on the ‘road’ were not subtle when it came to reporting the time taken. It was very impressive, I had looked at this slope in awe on my way past many hours earlier!

By now the sun was truly beating down on me as I turned off the main road and headed slowly up the track which would lead me to my turn-off for ‘The Pike’. There was no way in hell that I would attempt the southern ascent, which is fairly steep and obviously more exposed to the merciless sun. The path I took almost loops around the entire mound but then turns 180 opposite the path to Winter Hill. It’s more easily ascended, thankfully and far less exposed – there’s itself in the way if you get what I mean! Soon enough I had ascended my last ‘peak’ of the day. To be fair to the Pike it is the steepest one, just it also happens to be the summit with the least altitude, the views everywhere today were essentially crap so really with the Pike overlooking the activity just below it – dozens of people enjoying their day out in the sun whilst taking in scenery other than their own back gardens, had to be the summit with the best views of the day!

After very carefully descending the stone staircase and then the more eroded path I spent a moment talking to a couple of wags about their dog – a lovely Caucasian Shepherd (female) who looked only slightly smaller than your average pit pony! I did want to take a photo but figured that might be a bit:

  • Invasive – the woman has a right to walk her dog wherever she wants without people ‘papping’ her!
  • Dodgy – this could have been construed as me pretending to take a photo of her dog in order to get one of her
  • Daft as the woman who owned the dog was a bit on the attractive side and this would probably have got me in trouble with Chris.

So I moved on with best intentions intact. Which leads me nicely to the next section: the Rivington Pike Terraced Gardens. Oh my where do I start? Since 2016 when the Repairing Rivington project secured £3.4M  from the Heritage Lottery Fund  to essentially tidy the place up, things have been changing. Their website : https://www.rivingtonterracedgardens.org.uk/get-involved/the-restoration-project/ words it differently but we are both pointing at the same sun if you catch my drift! I appreciate the drive and efforts and intentions of the project. But, by God has it ever made things bloody confusing around here now as old paths (and now lakes >>> ) are unearthed. It’s quite possible to spend a lot more time here than what you might have originally intended and that would be mainly down to the fact that you are now essentially lost in a maze of paths, and castellated things! It’s lovely here, don’t get me wrong, but part of the attraction pre 2016 was the knowledge of ‘how it had been’, we’d become accustomed to it looking a certain way and now it’s looking a different way, not all together different, just more paths – you kind of see where I’m heading here (pardon the pun). Stop it with the incessant path unearthing…or I could just get over it and if I don’t like it, don’t bloody go here, hey they are leaving Great Hill alone!

Ultimately I ambled on over to the start of my walk on the long driveway having spent roughly five hours walking around in the sun – good job I’d put some factor 30 on hey?

Summary

I was over the moon to have got around this trek and delighted when I looked at my Fitbits (yes, I had then both on) to discover I had done 30K steps as I would really have been content with just the bagging of the Pike and Two Lads, so to have taken in the other two peaks was a real bonus. Counting hill, well more specifically the stones where I took my lunch stop was a little slice of heaven that I was lucky to find given that this was not part of my route when I set off this morning.  There is something rather special about the less frequented summits – even though there was evidence enough that many more people have traversed that hillside, that path didn’t lay itself! i wasn’t surprised to see so many people out and about, moreover, I’d expected Rivington to be teeming and by the time I finished it was. I am not against the Rivington renovation projects per se and it won’t put me off returning every once in a while, but for now my friend Great Hill beckons and I’ve really missed her!

To discover more about the Rivington Restoration project and other articles about Rivington and days out there, take a gander at their web site: https://www.rivingtonterracedgardens.org.uk/

Distance covered: roughly 12 miles (19km)

Ups and downs: Around 1800′  (540+metres)

Song stuck in my head: Harry Styles – Adore You

 

Here’s the route on plotaroute.com – with my fuckup included!

And so it came to pass…

I have now finally left the #walk1000miles Facebook group for reasons of mental wellbeing. We all get a little overwhelmed by needy people, well that group was kind of like their ‘hang out place’!

Here are some examples of typical questions:

“How far should I walk?”
“Where should I go?”
“How do I know when I’ve walked too far?”
“Do only ‘boots on’ walks count?”
“What does ‘boots on’ mean?”
“Can I include running?”

You get the point, God they piss me right off, so needy and in desperate need of confirmation and validation for every single last thought they have! It’s all about sharing, sharing every single last bastard brain fart they experience!

I am so well rid of that hourly annoyance!

Shortest post for a long time!

So much has happened…

It’s difficult to know where to start!

We finally moved house. And that was fun! If I can offer one bit of advice to anyone, if you can, try and avoid completing and exchanging on two houses in one day, a bag of laughs it is not, especially when your deposit for your new house magically disappears for a couple of hours before reaching your purchasing solicitor, damn that was fun. All the same we did do the sensible thing of booking a night in the Premier Inn,  a little bit indulgent but way better than trying to build the bed whilst the removal company were y’know, moving us in!

There will be lots more articles / posts featuring the moving in process and how our lives are changing (for the better) to the new home.

Sadly, we’ve both lost our dads this year. Richard, Christine’s dad, died in September and the day before his funeral, my died finally joined mum in the next world. I’m saddened, I think I’ve succeeded this time in not squashing my feelings into a repressed ball of degenerative anger (like I did with mum). Obviously, I’m going to miss the pair of them for the rest of my time here, but these things are part of life and to deny them…it’s just not healthy.

On a physical level, my body has been an absolute git this year! First there was the  iliotibial band syndrome, affecting my right knee, which royally screwed up my walking. Now this has been either replaced or joined by Palmoplantar Psoriasis…which makes your feet look awful and hurts to even stay still. At least the treatment for the foot thing is an actual cream smeared all over my feet twice a day. The treatment for the knee thing involved exercises that I could just never do as this started whilst I was still living in a box-filled flat with no room to swing a cat, not that either of us is strong enough to swing ‘Pepper’ anywhere!  On Thursday I (embarrassingly) fell downstairs and whilst this burned my right elbow, bruised my left forearm and gave me a bruise I cannot even see on my left buttock…it seems to have done something magical to my right knee! The evidence of this is that I went for a six-miles walk yesterday morning and although my feet were overheating to the max by the end of the walk, my knee was great, no pain at all.

Okay, so that was an extremely condensed version of my last three or four months. I do plan on keeping a bit more up to date as I can see myself getting more accustomed to our home office where I have a linux PC setup – with two monitors, just for net stuff !

Bye for now.

The Circle closes

Warning:

This post contains frank and robust language, if you are easily offended (you big snowflake) then you’d be best flouncing off now!

 

I’m fairly sure that I’ve pinched that header from Stephen King’s epic pandemic-themed “The Stand”, kind of poignant given the state of things.

So, what’s been going on?

  1. The world turned to shit – sorry, did you miss that bit?

2. The flat sale fell through, either as a direct result of point “1”, or because one of the below was a complete incompetent:

  • a. The potential buyer, who was a bit soft in the head and for a thirty-something year-old really should learn to speak up for himself.
  • b. Our Solicitors’ “Conveyancer & Team Leader” was at best, a dick!
  • The buyer’s solicitor got fired…or at least that’s what we were told. Personally I think the buyer’s control- freak of a father put that one out there as a delaying tactic to try and get the price down! Never admit you’ve got a purchase lined up folks – some twats will use the possibility of you losing your purchase as a bargaining tool!

3. Both Chris and I have been working from home…and enjoying it, well it’s hard to feel bad about a three-second commute!

There’s no two ways about it, working at / from home is a completely different experience, you get to have the TV or radio on – we’ve chosen to alternate as too much TV can be really quite boring and each mainstream internet radio station has a playlist of about thirty songs, and there’s just only so much Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa to which you can be subjected!

Now, it’s hard to deny that we are right on the border of comfortable working, the flat is too small for two people to live let alone set up an Argos table and two chairs and two monitors and two laptops every day…but we manage. And I drink a lot of coffee!

Of course I’ve still had to get out and about, whereas some people took every instruction and guideline from our wonky government as gospel…no matter how much we tried to get it mixed up, they said we could do an hour’s exercise, then someone who sounded like they knew what they were talking about said – there was no time limit…I was never going to stick to any time limit anyway and on V.E. Day (to which I still strongly object) I walked close to twelve miles…not in an hour!

I am lucky to live near “The Moss”, a large tract of agricultural land punctuated by the odd road, which only Southport cyclists seem to find worth venturing upon! Thus this leaves most of the area free for me to walk with limited fear of catching Covid 19 off someone hyperventilating, even I have to agree that I couldn’t say the same about a potential walk to either of my two local haunts, the West Pennines and Pendle. In essence, this is a compromise, however, it doesn’t feel one when you’re pounding the pavement on route to Longmeaneygate – yes, that’s really the name of a street, admiring the Cow Parsley and Ragwort, and by God has there been a lot of those aforementioned flowering weeds in bloom this year! In addition I’ve started to ‘Covert! – ‘oh really?’ I hear you wonder, no, nothing sinister, I plucked up the courage to walk through a small wooded area, purely out of curiosity really and its name is Pitts House Covert…I found this vaguely amusing. This little micro-forest has quickly become a favourite and when Chris joins me, even she likes it there, the Photo’s to follow.

So although I’ve not exactly being stomping all over the county (country?) I have been getting in the odd mindful walk to counteract the effects of otherwise being stuck in the flat for almost 24 hours per day, some days.

On a related note, hasn’t it been sodding hot this spring / summer. I’m not against that, but as we live in a first floor flat, lugging 15 litres of water down to hydrate the flowers etc does get to be something of a chore which is why I’ve practically basked in the odd fleeting shower – again photos to come, of the flowers – not me basking!

The lockdown in itself has been good for me. There, I’ve said it. There was no denying that January’s and February’s (God I fucking hate this laptop’s tiny keyboard!) stress over the flat sale and subsequent fail took its toll on me in terms of stress, the lockdown purely and simply took that away. No, I would not have wanted tens of thousands of my fellow countrymen and millions of people across the world to die just so I could destress, that would be ridiculous and inhumane. I’m just saying that for me, it’s worked out, by and large, to be quite therapeutic. I’ve even enjoyed shopping, albeit at the height of the “key workers are angels” phase it was obnoxious being treated as fodder by store workers – hey treat me as you would want me to treat you is all that I would want.

We’ve put the flat back on the market, and up to now: 16/6/2020 we have had three viewers. I was suckered in by the first one who was oh so positive about the place that I thought he was going to put in a bid there are then – I’ve learned, this means ‘I’m too embarrassed to tell you how much I don’t want this place!’ I don’t expect we’ll get any real interest until lockdown is well and truly over and even then it might not be until after Christmas, so we’ll just have to deal with living life as it is and not get stressed. I don’t like stress – it smells metallic, yes it does!

Ultimately with regards to the year thus far, I do find myself harking back to the Amble in February walking along Catherine Edge with the brilliant “Everything I wanted” by Billie Eilish going through my head and just contrasting how different everything was then compared to now.

And as I am ready to click publish, we have just accepted an offer on the Flat – one circle closes…

 

 

 

 

2020 going forward

I had an entire section on here entitled “The Move”. This was a names-amended narrative on our house-move, with a bit of humour thrown in. I’ve taken this down, I might think I’m funny, others may just be a tad offended, and yet others have access to lawyers at discount prices…

So, I have to concentrate on what I can alter / amend / create in my life. That’s this blog folks…and its sister. You didn’t know it had a sister? Well, I guess I can keep secrets after all. (Or not!)

Endorse Thyself.

It isn’t ready yet so I’ll save you a wasted journey.

What?

A Psycho in the making…

Wow you’re very direct today! Okay so this is an itch which got scratched, then started to bleed, then morphed into another itch, which (at the moment) looks very much like the previous itch. So now you’re sat at your desk, or on the bus, (if you’re driving then put the damn phone down, pillock!) scratching away at the itch I’ve just NLP’d onto you and at the same time wondering just wtf this guy is banging on about! Linked-in, to be honest I still perceive it as another arrow in the stalker’s quiver!

 

On LI you can, if you so desire, endorse people. That’s kinda nice isn’t it? You can say that you went to uni with this person who was such a hard worker and was meticulous and so on…Or you can say that when Sandra Smith worked at your company customer service was at an all-time high and you rue the day you let her get away for a meagre 10% pay rise. Like I say, that’s nice.

Say no to manipulators trying to get a free endorsement!

However, not quite so nice is meeting people at a sales event or conference, harvesting their name and email address and then tracking them down on LI purely for the sake of asking them to endorse you…or just as bad, promising you that they’ll endorse you if you do the same back. That’s kinda manipulative, and that’s coming from someone who can push the envelope on the Machiavellianism scale!

“So this is my tape I’m sending you…” sorry, got all Eminem then! So, this is my response (actually this is referrenced on my LI profile), essentially a website (WordPress-based) which will be geared towards you being you, not being driven by what others will think or say about you, or promise to say about you.  Of course you have to take the orientation of the author into account, (I mean walking, not some kind of Shetland Ponies in high-heels obsession). I’m aiming to make this into a challenge-walk, sign-up portal, with actual information about what I’m attempting to organise and why. Examples are: Gathering a bunch of people together in order to complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks – for charity, or doing the Anglezarke Amble (the big route) and further afield, walks like the Helm Wind walk or even the Lake District 10 which I imagine is going to be incredibly hard!

 


What else?

HIC.. that’ll do nicceeleee
Okay, so this one might just kill me

In other news. I really should start to get into a more healthy shape. As such I am going carb-min and cutting out a large chunk of the simple carbs that I would normally cram-in from pies and take-a-ways and even the odd (daily) muffin, I may still have one of those per week – surely that won’t kill me? The stress over the flat sale might not necessarily have turned me into an alcoholic…but I think they’d let me into their parties! Crikey what fun parties they’d be! But it’s fair to say that I have knocked back a fiar bit of booze this year and it’s only…Marchuary (hic). I am aiming to just have one bottle of wine per weekend. History has highlighted to me that I don’t sleep well on Sunday nights, throw wine into the mix and that sleep is an idea, a great but distant dream, spot the ironic twist there! Obviously then the wiser path would be to open a bottle on Friday night- ‘cos y’know watching Gogglebox completely sober is just pointless, then save the other half a bottle until Saturday evening, when let’s be honest you need some help to get through the dreadful t.v. schedule!

Already this year I’ve been to the gym five times, I even went knowing that it would be open! I do need to work much harder on turning that number into those numbers but now is not the time to be beating myself up about that! We’ll see how that pans out but I would be very happy to make three visits per week the norm.

¿Y más?

The best way to learn a language

I’ve decided to pick-up where I left off with Duolingo. It had me down as being fluent in both Spanish and Italian at one time, now for some reason I’m just an intermediate in Spanish, ¿Por que? ¡Lo siento, pero no se! It’s not widely known on the web, ‘cos I’m British and traditionally we don’t excel at learning new languages, that I am something of a polyglot . I’m one of those people who can hear languages and start to pick them up. It’s not a very rare thing, my brother-in-law has the same thing. I’d like to be able to hold an in-depth conversation with a Spanish or Italian (or Romanian) and discuss more than the weather, so I’ll be spending some quality time with the earphones on then immersing myself in either Spanish, Italian and the odd bout of Polish – just because!

Writing

Whilst I’m not trying to make this post sound like ‘see what I can do’ bragging blog – that does sound kinda catchy, dunnit, I have always harboured a desire to write a book …or five! the first one that I ever started, had a good theme but I kind of wandered so far away from the original idea that I just burried in until later…and took the title “Something Inside” with me. It was the next one “The Calling” which, after close to thirty years, has been the one to which I always return, I think I’ve added-to and edited-from this enough times to have rewritten the thing from start to finish at least twice. However, I do plan on giving this a final push towards publishing at some point in the next 12-months! My good friend Becky has already read this (cos y’know you ask someone to read it and they just don’t ahem Cerys, ahem Joanna, ahem Hannah!) and didn’t come in to work pointing a finger at me and suggesting I try another medium (say for example, interpretive dance) so maybe…But, a recent encounter (or two) with a certain feisty person has left in me the desire to rewrite another one from the past: The Dark Places (working title, cos y’know, it’s pants!). And no, I am not going to do anything nasty to name withheld…well apart from make her one of two adopted twins who starts to have gory visions of a crazed serial killer…I’ve said too much!

So, a little bit to be getting on with then…ciao, adios, noroc, por ahora!


Guess who’s back?

Well I’ve not been gone that long, some might say that only I missed my presence in the blogsphere (is that even a word?), but I’ve now got a brand new Instagram account, I may add a Facebook page and a twitter account…do I really need to do all that?

Hmm, the best part of blogging should be building up the content by experience – yeah you should be able to deduce I’ve been watching “Where’s Mollie’s Global Travellers” on YouTube. I think she’s right though: we can sell our souls to the social network gods for coverage, to be linked-in (lol), followed on Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest (is that still going?), Instagram…there are just so many carrots to chase that we lose sight of what we are doing – blogging. For the record, the delightful Mollie’s principal concern is that we spend so much time trying to tell people what we are doing, worrying about wifi strength etc instead of simply doing it and enjoying it.

With that in mind, I haven’t really participated in two of my favourite things to do.  I’m talking about gardening – well I have projects in the pipeline but the weather’s been kind of crappy; and walking…which has been largely affected by laziness on my side! That’s got to change!

Those of you whom have followed me from my previous site(s): fatgoatwalks.co.uk will be aware of my love of doing one particular full-day, long(ish) distant walk: the Anglezarke Amble. But for you newbies to my world; essentially this is a challenging slog organised by the West Lancashire branch of the Long Distance Walkers Association. It’s route takes in twenty four and a half miles and some of the West Pennines most adhesive mud, oh and the mighty summits of Rivington Pike, Winter Hill, Darwen Hill and Great Hill.  Hey it’s harder than I make it sound! Oddly enough, it’s held in East Lancashire which only matters to people ‘a bit on the scale’ – such as me! I tried this again this year and packed it in after less than a mile owing to a lack of fitness, the rain was relentless and my waterproof over-trousers kept falling down, which was kind of irksome!

As with the ‘Amble’, I’ve gone off track! I want to do this again next year, on the 9th of February (I forgot to mention it’s done in Winter!) but the one thing that really puts me off is the time issue. Not only does each registrant have to complete the marathon walk in under ten hours, they have to be at the infamous ‘Paddy’s Pole’ a marker some six miles into the route, in two and a half hours or else they are transered to the shorter (16 miles) walk…which after the section leading up to Paddy’s Pole might not necessarily be a bad thing as it gets kind of soaking! But that’s not the point,  I am a serial worrier and I stress about whether I’m going to reach the pole before 10:30…because I’d rather do the long walk. So, next year I am going to go about this the sensible way…

I’m not paying the admission fee, not registering for the walk, and as such I’m just going for a walk on the same day in the same location as a couple of hundred others. Granted, I’ll lose the right to the refreshment checkpoints – oh well I’ll just take a flask and something to eat. This will give me peace of mind, and hopefully I won’t get lost and need the LDWA to call mountain rescue for me if I haven’t made it back by 18:00. Sorted.

Now, as for that garden…

To be continued!