There's a nice fellow who lives across the road from us. He is also into country walking. He's two or three years older than me and his name is Alan. He's a widower.
Yesterday I rode into the city centre with Alan on a number 82 bus. We compared recent walking experiences and reflected on our favourite pastime.
The conversation confirmed what I already surmised about him. His experience of walking and indeed his attitude to rambling is in several ways radically different from mine.
For example, whereas I prefer solitary walking with no one to please but myself, Alan never walks alone. He plods along with a walking group or a couple of friends. I think he finds the very idea of solo walking rather odd.
Here's another difference. Alan always has a haversack on his back when walking in the country. Amongst other things it always contains a whistle, a torch, a flask of hot tea, sandwiches, Kendal mintcake, fruit and possibly a raincoat - just in case. He also uses walking poles. In contrast I prefer to travel light - with no bag - just my camera and a map sheet. This changes if I am going on a particularly long walk or if it is an unusually hot or cold day. Then I might take a bottle of water, an apple and a banana, maybe a woolly hat in wintertime.
On the bus I said to Alan, "You are a sensible walker but I am foolhardy!" He seemed shocked to learn of my devil-may-care casualness and didn't appear to get it when I pointed out that our local walking territory was not The Himalayas or The Sahara Desert.
He was further shocked when I told him that I have never owned a mobile phone. To him it is an essential aid when rambling in The Peak District with his companions. He can use it like a beacon to alert emergency services or he can use it as a tracking device - mapping his walks. I said I didn't need that kind of thing and that I had walked hundreds of miles without such a gadget.
Dismounting at the same bus stop in the city centre, I suspect that Alan strolled away shaking his head about the carefree lunatic he had just travelled with. We are not the same but I wonder if for one fragment of a moment did he wonder about my carefree attitude to walking? If we were rock climbers I would be into free climbing while he would have a helmet, safety ropes, carabinas, a support team and no chance whatsoever of falling.
That is not to say that I am right and Alan is wrong but doing it his way would not sit well with me. No it would not sit well at all. What kind of life is it if you are forever battening down the hatches just in case danger calls?
I walk similar to you. I like to go alone...cycling too. I'm a little adventuresome so I take the odd chance. I do like walking.ReplyDelete
Walking in the countryside is hardly fraught with danger is it?...Unless of course you encounter a moose!Delete
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Of course it can happen. I don't deny that. But when God dished out common sense I was at the back of the queue.Delete
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I hardly ever tell anyone where I am going...and I was not criticising Alan - just saying that people approach walking differently. For me all that danger/safety concern detracts from the pure enjoyment of walking. In the grand scheme of things going for a walk in the countryside is hardly the most risky of activities. I am not hang gliding.Delete
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Just think what you are giving up, not carrying a phone. If you fall and break a leg (god forbid) and have no walking stick to splint it up to hobble home, you can use your phone to call emergency services and have the pleasure of thinking of them cursing you every mile on their Bobcats or ATV's, bouncing their patient transport vehicle along behind. Perhaps you guess (correctly) I know about this.ReplyDelete
I agree. It could happen Joanne but I am a crazy fool. Thank you for your kind concern.Delete
My husband is risk averse, mostly I think because he works with a lot of electricity and very complex machines that can kill you, plus it is his nature. I'm much more impulsive which isn't such a good thing at times.ReplyDelete
I like walking by myself but I also like walking with someone to talk to. However, as a woman, I wouldn't feel comfortable walking some of the places that you do, alone. I also carry a phone with me now because I've had a few bad falls, dislocated ribs and a concussion. I'm not as young as I once was.
Fortunately there is room for all different kinds of walkers in the world.
I like your last point Lily.Delete
I enjoy walking alone but I will admit I always take my phone with me. It is handy if I run into a problem and I have a walking app on it that records not only my walking mileage but also shows me an outline on a map of where I have walked. No, it is not necessary but I enjoy keeping track of things like that. I think we all have our own styles and habits of doing things like this and none are wrong - just different.ReplyDelete
Your last point is similar to Lily Cedar's last point and I like it. Perhaps one day I will possess my own mobile/ cell phone but I am in no rush to support that industry.Delete
I get what you are saying...BUT …. it would only be a small concession to carry some little thing - be it a mobile phone or one of those epurb(??) thingies in case of an emergency. Just because you have avoided any dramas so far doesn't mean there will not be an occasion in the future. ..and not only for yourself but for some poor unfortunate you may come across. Or, your luck may stay with you and you may never have an emergency situation and that huge extra weight of the phone/eperb thingy will have been all for nothing ( except the peace of mind of your family !!)ReplyDelete
Epurb? What the hell are you going on about Helen?...Oh - I see...you mean a PLB ( Personal Locator Beacon). Now I have found out about them. Food for thought and thank you for your kind concern.Delete
Well, humans managed to get from Africa to Europe without a mobile phone, walking poles or any other aid. I wouldnt worry too much. Vive la differance!ReplyDelete
Vive la difference? I never realised that Blackburn was in France. No wonder Blackburn Rovers fans smell of garlic.Delete
Like Bonny says, we all have our own styles and habits of doing things and none are wrong - just different.ReplyDelete
I, too, like to travel lightly, but on longer walks or hikes I always have a bottle of water and a snack with me - not because I couldn't survive a few hours without sustenance, but because I very much enjoy stopping at a particularly nice spot for a bite to eat and a sip of water.
On our mountain hikes, O.K. and I each carry a (very light) back pack; the weather in the mountains can change so quickly that we also carry light raincoats with us. My mobile phone goes with me, mainly because it is also my camera, and I love taking pictures during my walks. So far, I have never needed it for an emergency, but it could easily happen; even though I am cautious and know my limits when it comes to climbing up and down somewhere, sometimes it is handy to look at the map app on the phone to know where exactly I am and where I best go next. (You guessed it - I almost never have a "proper" map with me.)
"Know my limits" is the key phrase here. When walking we must take care. Every footstep counts. I can see how some phone map apps could both enhance and inform the walking experience but I am okay without that large financial investment.Delete
It depends how far away from people one is when out on walks. If out in the 'sticks', well away from civilisation, to my mind (and to others...and to authorities) it would be very wise to take water and some sustenance, in case of emergencies...in case of an unforeseen accident. Actually, here, it is advised people who go off hiking take some provisions with them...safety precautions.ReplyDelete
If one is walking within easy reach of human habitation, I guess it is not so necessary. However, here in this country of vast areas and rugged terrains, during our springs and summers it would be foolhardy to go walking in regions out of easy reach of others...homes etc.
Walking in the Australian outback is I am sure a very different kettle of fish from walking in the English Peak District. You only have to see the film "Walkabout" to confirm that! By the way, I loved that quirky, slightly surreal film...and of course Jenny Agutter's swimming session!Delete
I wasn't referring to walking in the outback, Yorkie. To go walking in the outback would be am extremely foolish undertaking, with or without water and provisions. Even those travelling by car in the Aussie outback are told to take lots of water with them...and if their vehicle does break down to stay with the vehicle until help arrives...not go walking to try to find help. A body of a woman who didn't stick to those important, sensible rules was found during this past week...having broken down in the middle of nowhere...in horrendous heat conditions.Delete
Hikers/walkers get lost everywhere when they go off the beaten tracks..in regional and city areas. Only a few days ago someone got lost walking one of the many walking trails on and around this particular area where I live (fortunately he was found safe and sound). Hee wasn't the first to get lost; he won't be the last.
Great old movie "Walkabout".
I think at least you should add a whistle in your pocket. What if you fell and broke a leg? Just saying.ReplyDelete
As I say, I am a foolhardy guy when it comes to walking. At least I am not scuba diving or parachuting - just plodding along on public rights of way whistling a merry tune. I could always crawl or shout though admittedly I have been in many places where no one would hear me. Ah well. I am just plain crazy.Delete
I admire Alan's approach. Very sensible. I don't often go walking on my own - I need a pair of functioning ears along with me to warn of approaching danger but I do take my mobile 'phone as I use it as my camera.ReplyDelete
Peregrine may be mostly ornamental but he does have some practical uses too.Delete
Walkers like me and Alan like to think of ourselves as expeditionary adventurers following in the footsteps of Chris Bonnington. No mobile signal when he did Everest the hard way - just like in the High Peak cloughs.ReplyDelete
I guessed you were another Alan. Do you wear woollen tanktops and smoke a pipe? Have you ever eaten a Chinese meal? It is a wild world out there in The High Peak. There be dragons.Delete
Oh, then I'm not like Alan. I've never been able to find the Chinese take-away on top of Kinder Scout, nor any dragons, but I have seen abominable bipeds.Delete
Biped? Is that a kind of moped? I think my brother had one. Coughed out clouds of carbon monoxide.Delete
I think I was a dog in another life because I am always walking. I often put Emerson Lake and Palmer or Kansas on my mobile phone via Spotify and walk the Sheepshead Way. The music is a companion.ReplyDelete
Does that mean you are over in Ireland Northsider? Thanks for dropping by.Delete
Yep. I enjoy your political thoughts and your posts about walking.ReplyDelete
I have to tone down my real views about B.Johnson, Rees-Mogg, Gove and the rest for fear of being exiled.Delete
You definitely are the "less is more" kind of walker.ReplyDelete
Less stuff. More walking.
True to yourself.
Thanks for putting it that way Mary. Appreciated.Delete
We all have our own preferences and needs. Walk the way you want. I, too, walk solo but I do carry a phone. Not only is it there as an emergency device but it's got whatever book I'm listening to as I walk. And it's my camera. I also carry a very light walking stick. Not sure why but I do.ReplyDelete
The walking stick could come in handy if one of those Floridian alligators is waiting for you.Delete
A gator could crunch that stick like a potato chip. Or, as you might call it- a crisp.Delete
You live on a tightrope of danger xReplyDelete
Yes. I might slip on a cowpat.Delete
I've always enjoyed walking, and for many years belonged to a walking group. It was a good way to see so many places I would probably never have found, or visited on my own. Good to have company, and know that someone knew where we were going! We took water of course, and mine was a large bottle because I always took one of the dogs with me. We all stopped for a mid morning banana break.ReplyDelete
On the insistence of most of my friends, I do have a mobile phone, and admit that it's a sensible precaution as I advance in years. However, I usually forget to carry it with me, even when I walk the dog locally. In fact I'm not quite sure where the phone is, probably in the car, I think I left it in there last weekend.....
I must say that I think it is not so easy for women to go solo walking. It takes an unusual woman to feel comfortable about walking across the landscape on her own. Sounds like you are becoming a little absent minded CG so why not wear your mobile phone round your neck on a chain?Delete
I always take Rick with me when I go out for a walk, I feel safe with him. Paul says I should take my phone with me but I usually forget.ReplyDelete
Wasn't the word "obey" included in your marriage ceremony?Delete
Walking is about absorbing the world around you, the minute detail around. I was for a long time a solitary female walker with dog but never carried a phone, though had a pretty bad fall one day, spraining both ankles but hobbled back to the car.ReplyDelete
I enjoy the security of carrying a phone but aside from that I suspect I approach things similarly to you. I am not one if those people who carries a spare jumper, band aids, panadol and a pen.ReplyDelete
Different philosophies, eh?
I tend more toward your attitude than Alan's, but I wonder if age has something to do with it. Maybe Alan doesn't feel as fit as you do and thus sees himself as more vulnerable?ReplyDelete
I doubt it Steve. Alan has always been, well, Alanish.Delete