Just Going For A Walk

I had been planning to blog about our earliest form of transport for a while, then walking took on yet another aspect last week with the royal funeral, the various processions leading up to it and of course The Queue. But first back to basics.

Have you heard people comment, or perhaps you have said it yourself…

I don’t do hills. I don’t do walking. I don’t like walking.

I was once watching a comedy in which the teenager daughter greets her mother’s return home. ‘I didn’t know where you were, I thought you’d gone for a walk.‘ Mother replies ‘Walk! I’ve never been for a walk in my life.’

Someone describing how the heat was not a problem in Singapore with the air conditioned malls… I asked ‘What if you want to go for a walk?’ He replied looking puzzled ‘Why would you want to go for a walk?’

Why would you not want to walk, the most natural activity for humans, exercise that costs nothing and a handy way to get where you want to go. During Covid lockdown it was one of the few activities allowed and non dog owners discovered new delights. I love walking, but I have no desire to trek to either pole or up to Everest base camp; solo or with companions, who I would be intensely irritated with by the third day… But ordinary walking, enjoying the fresh air, scenery, perhaps photography and probably ending up at a nice cafe or pub is fun for everyone… What do non walkers do when they go for a day out or on holiday? You may think National Trust Houses have large grounds because the original owners owned all the local land; no, it’s so we can have a nice walk before having lunch in the restaurant and looking round the house. No holiday is complete without a walk along a cliff path or a steep ascent up a hill to enjoy the view.

Modern technology, from super electronic wheelchairs to state of the art artificial limbs allow many who are disabled to get out and about with their friends and family who are fit and able to walk. Walking is freedom and not to be taken for granted; those under repressive regimes or living in dangerous areas cannot just go out for a walk. If you are used to walking everywhere it’s a reminder of the privilege when you ‘do something’ to your back or knee and suddenly can’t walk. The leaflets we were given when having chemotherapy suggest that ‘going for a short walk will help combat fatigue’ – this turned out to be a joke as most of each three week cycle it was a struggle to get to the front gate or up the stairs. It was an insight into the chronic fatigue that people with Long Covid and other debilitating medical conditions have to cope with.

So back to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth 11. Whatever your views on royalty or television ( blanket ) coverage of the events, there was a fascination with both the formal traditions and the spontaneous acts of those who came to queue to watch a procession or for The Queen’s lying in. There is something dignified and humbling about the men of the family and others close to the royals walking slowly behind the coffin. Princess Anne joined them, as she did for her father’s funeral, a token man for the day? Presumably it is tradition that only the men walk. If any of the chaps didn’t like walking they were in for a tiring time. I like a brisk walk, walking slowly at a measured pace is much harder, I have tried it round the house. Nor did I go up to London to join The Queue, almost a pilgrimage. They had a long distance to cover at a very slow pace, I wondered if there were escape points for those who changed their minds and just wanted to go home.

There are environmental benefits if everyone walked on short journeys and for writers it is one of the best ways to see real life, but those are topics for another blog.

Are you a walker or non walker? If you enjoy walking what is your favourite sort of walk?

21 thoughts on “Just Going For A Walk

  1. I’m with you on the pleasures of walking. I love walking in the woods, walking on the beach, walking through manicured gardens and lawns. Even walking in a city can have its charms. (San Diego, yes. New York City, no.)

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  2. My personal belief (unshared by my bipedally committed wife) is that the need to walk anywhere beyond the boundaries of our home disappeared with the need to hunt and gather to obtain food, clothing and shelter. ๐Ÿ™‚ However I have been known to make exceptions for great gardens and great architecture.

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  3. I love to walk. Not only do I like the physical aspects, but it’s where I often do some of my best thinking. I walk with two buddies each Friday, but on other days I prefer to walk alone.

    I’ve always been envious of people who like to run because I’ve never found that place. The only time I liked to run was if I was competing in a sport other than racing which required running. (e.g. tennis, basketball, racquetball, pickleball) That ship has sailed.

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  4. I have been walking daily with my dog for almost 11 years now. Before that, I walked to work in London (30 minutes each way) most of the time, unless it was pouring with rain. My daily dog-walks used to last 3-4 hours, and over a week we would cover up to 60 miles or more. But as he has got older, things have slowed down, and now it is less than 25 miles.
    I agree with you about walking too slowly. It is harder, and less satisfying. My wife tells me I walk too fast for her, but dawdling makes my back ache. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  5. I used to love walking on holidays, especially in woods and beside canals but now if I walk for more than ten minues my back aches and I get breathless. I am considering walking aids but don’t want to get a buggy as I think that would stop me walking altogether. We both walk very slowly which is supposed to mean we have heart problems. Can’t get to see a doctor so will keep going as long as possible.

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  6. I have loved walking my whole life. Running and hiking are just other versions of walking. Cell phones were a wonderful invention. If I get a call, I get up from the desk and pace while I talk. I have a good friend who has run many Marathons but hates walking. Loves driving. I cannot understand that. I know running can be tedious. But walking is one of life’s great pleasures.

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  7. This is a good and fresh blog about walking and travels, I love it. As for me, I am a Walker , I can even walk long distances if I am not in a hurry though. I believe walking is form of exercise it stretches the body and muscles and during the hot days it needs you to have a bottle of water in your hand๐Ÿถ

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