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Walk this May

As you're probably aware, May is all about walking - walk this May, if you will. You'll probably also not be that surprised to discover that I really like walking. Not to put too fine a point on it, walking sorts my head out. (It is probably good for other bits of me too.) During lockdown I discovered the Go Jauntly walking and nature connection app and became quite obsessed. So obsessed in fact that we approached them to see if there were any opportunities to work with them. It has taken us a long long time to get to this point, but I am really pleased to announce that we have now, for Green Health Week, officially launched Get Outdoors Lanarkshire's partnership with Go Jauntly. As I quickly discovered when I downloaded the app it's an excellent tool for reminding you to connect to nature, encouraging you to get out for a walk and a way to find new places to walk in your local area. The one problem I found was that there weren't that many local walks, and so, working alongside our friends at Get Walking Lanarkshire and the many other groups we know, we've been getting out to new places, taking a walk and uploading them. Whilst indoor meetings weren't really a thing, it has also proved an excellent way of having a walking meeting and learning more about the areas groups work in. I've also been able to get my daily step count up. I've always liked tracking my steps, but I was particularly thrilled when Go Jauntly announced the new challenge section of the app; I am currently 1478.4km into their walk 2022km in 2022 challenge, and have been on 74 walks during May! Go Jauntly is now the proud owner of 12 new walks across Lanarkshire, with more on their way. Find out more on their blog.

It feels like walking has definitely become A Thing. There's hardly a week that goes by without a significant article on walking in The Guardian. Whether it's about the healthiest way to walk (I had to restrain myself from buying a book after that article), a challenge to walk every street in a town or city (no surprises, I really want to do this - I've only walked 65% of my local area so far) or most recently about a long distance walk (and yes: of course I have looked up the company that transported her luggage; no: I will not do anything about it; and finally, yes: I may be extremely suggestible) - there really are many different ways to walk. Whilst a company called Maximum Adventure is never going to be organising my holiday, I'm not afraid of a lengthy walk. My partner's birthday fell on the recent bank holiday Monday and he decided he'd like his birthday treat to be a pilgrimage around the significant places of his life. We walked to his parent's house, past his schools, through his university, to his first address and finally to the hospital where he was born. According to strava, in total this was a walk of 35km which left me weary but thankfully un-blistered. I absolutely loved everything about this, except for the fact that I am unable to do a similar pilgrimage of my own having spent my childhood in several places, hundreds of miles apart.

I am very grateful for being able to walk and for enjoying it too, but I know many people are not able to, or are bored of it, anxious about it or short of time. To the rescue comes The Walkbook: Recipes for walking and wellbeing. Part of a larger research project about walking and art during COVID-19, a survey identified some of the challenges and barriers to walking, and then artists were commissioned to contribute ideas for recipes that addressed one or more of these challenges. It's important to note that their definition of walking, which can't be said enough includes wheelchairs, mobility scooters etc, broadly speaking, walking and wheeling. The team also believe in the power of an imagined walk when walking itself is not an option. There really is something for everyone here. Get Outdoors Lanarkshire were excited to be involved in a very small way, reviewing some of the submissions, and we were particularly excited about Walking a Line: Encounters through drawing by Ruth Broadbent. You can do this anywhere, indoors or out, walking or indeed just changing position from where you are sitting, and despite the title, no actual drawing skills are necessary, just a pencil and paper. With four sheets of paper, you simply take rubbings of the ground at three points along the line you are walking. On the fourth, write a short description of the walk. Be warned, this is an activity you're likely to be seeing more of over the summer! Plus I see real potential for making booklets from the results. That's just one of the recipes in this book, there are 29 more. I can't wait to try them all. Happy walking.

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