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A fungi pilgrimage

There are, of course, many reasons to go for a walk. #Walktober is helping me discover a new one every day. I feel very lucky to have been experiencing this as part of my job and I hope that the prompts that we have been posting every day on social media have been encouraging you to get outdoors. That is our aim after all, the clue is in the name. At the start of the month, I drew up a wee calendar to plan the different walk prompts, but on Monday night as I listened to Tea with a Druid something new popped into my head. The talk was about pilgrimage. It's a topic that I have mentioned before. I am a friend of the British Pilgrimage Trust an organisation established to bring back the idea of intentional journeying. Although I doubt that I will ever be organised or fit enough to go on an actual long distance journey on foot, I am very much in favour of the principle of walking with purpose. Last Saturday afternoon, my purpose was to go on a fungi hunt in the woods, specifically to find an amethyst deciever. I'd become obsessed with them having seen a photograph on social media, and wanted to see one for myself. I was so excited when finally we came across a deceiver (middle pic on the right) and then a bit further on the amethyst version. It's the middle pic on the left and it's a very bad picture; it turns out the ones I found were not as photogenic as the ones I had seen on instagram, and if that isn't a life lesson then I don't know what is. I really did feel elated when I was successful in my mission though. I was brought back to earth later this week when I heard a forest bathing guide talk about how sometimes we need to stop striving to connect with nature and just be in nature. My instagram incident was a salutary reminder of this.

I came across another great example of a pilgrimage this week from the South Lanarkshire Countryside Rangers and Clutha Archaeology who are a group that promote and research the history and heritage of Greater Glasgow and the Clyde Valley. They went on an adventure to Heron Hill island at Low Parks local nature reserve, and what's more, they made a video about the trip that you can enjoy, and there's more to look forward to as they continue their explorations.

In other news, I was at the OutLET Play Resource Showcase at the end of last week. It was a wonderful opportunity to take part in the forest school experience as an adult, walking on slack lines, swinging in the trees, crafting and last but not least, making s'mores over a fire. The stories that were told by parents, the team and the children themselves were powerful, although perhaps not as powerful as seeing the kids in action: whittling, playing and toasting marshmallows. I came home relaxed and inspired. If you're looking for a forest school experience then check out what they're up to on their website or social media.

As always, I know that not everyone can get outside, and this week I came across a wonderful resource for encouraging nature connection from where you are. It's an app called Awe. Research suggests that the feeling of awe can help make you healthier and happier; you can read more about why and how here. Nature is a great place to experience awe, from giant redwoods to badgers, there is something to make everyone gasp, and even virtual awe (for example by watching it online) is beneficial. I've not explored everything that Awe (the app) has to offer yet, but there are two courses of guided meditations, one about befriending nature and one on mindful stargazing that are easy to listen to. I'm excited to begin. The nature nudge feature encourages you to set an intention to get into nature; it will tell you the driest or warmest time to go for a walk where you are, and has some beautiful seasonal prompts too. I'm sure that I am going to find some new and intruiging purposes to walk.

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