When outdoors, it never ceases to amaze me how my senses seemed heightened and enhanced – the coutryside seems to come alive with small mammals rustling in the undergrowth, my skin seems to be able sense slight changes in air temperature and wind, and I am suddenly aware of the rich variety of smells. Read more
As a Social Hiking addict, the biggest problem for me is battery life. Modern smart phones are getting cleverer and cleverer, but it seems that battery technology is not developing at the same pace. On a long day walk it is a struggle to keep my phone going without a power top up.
Today I tried something new… in a tucked away part of Brecon Beacons, I stripped off and slipped into a river's refreshing embrace.
Yesterday I was presented with a lovely gift – a mug with "I would rather be camping than working – a bad day camping is better than a good day working".
This is particularly apt since, for the last month, I have spent the vast majority of my waking hours (including some where I should have been sleeping) stuck in my office working. Perhaps I should not be complaining that I have so much work, but I am really starting to suffer from the lack of exposure to the outdoors.
During the past few weeks I have barely made it out for a handful of dog walks, let alone any longer hikes or exciting trips, and I am currently a staggering 50 miles behind target on my aim to walk 1000 miles this year. I am not alone in finding the outdoors so recharging, but right now I am flashing "battery low"!
Fortunately, by a quirk of fate, the slight easing of work coincides with a long weekend to Brecon planned ages ago. Since pre University days I have infrequently met up with a group of friends for the Brecon Jazz Festival – this mainly involves sitting in the sun (at least I remember it always being sunny) and drinking my friend's dad's homebrew (which is amazing). This year I will be combining the friends and homebrew with hiking during the day and camping (not exactly wild camping… more garden camping… but that still counts!)
Hopefully I will return with batteries at least partially recharged so I can get cracking on all the outstanding blog posts, Social Hiking updates, and making a dent in that 50 mile deficit.
Friday will not come soon enough!
I try and head out every lunchtime for a dog walk – nothing sensational, just a couple of miles around the local fields or an occasional stroll in the nearby Salcey Forest.
Sometimes though, I convince myself I am too busy to spare the half hour or so needed for a walk. But this is false economy – I find a short time in the fresh air, surrounded by nature and away from work, reinvigorates me ready for the rest of the afternoon. Without it, my productivity and concentration slip.
Of course I am lucky to work surrounded by countryside, but there are enough parks, river /canal sides and trees in our towns and cities for this principle to apply to everyone.
So tomorrow, instead of eating lunch at your desk or the nearest starbucks, head out for an explore. Your body, mind and soul will thank you!
A mostly pleasant circular loop in the highest part of Bedfordshire (not really saying much!) from Lavendon, following the Three Shires Way to Santa Pod Racetrack, then back to Lavendon via Harrold.
Most of the route was through some great countryside along fields and through deserted woods. I didn't encounter a single other walker, bar a couple of dog walkers near the more built up areas. Only downside to the route was the long stretch on tarmac towards the end.
View the route at: http://new.socialhiking.org.uk/maps/os/daylightgambler/2011-03-12
Length: 15.8 miles
Height Gained: 784 ft
Number of tea stops: 2
Number of pub stops: 0
Number of times almost killed by a horse: 5
Number of blisters from new shoes: 0
Sorry for this rather dull post – it is just a test to see what time stamp the posts have to integrate with the Social Hiking app I am developing.
Social Hiking, which is powered by Viewranger’s BuddyBeacon, lets you link things like photos, tweets and blog posts onto a route map as you are hiking (or cycling, riding, sailing etc.)
To see an example, have a look at http://www.socialhiking.org.uk/map/offasdyke4ms/offas-dyke-4-ms