Walking for pleasure or fitness.

When you grab at a couple of, well three actually, books. The subjects related to vintage aspects on either gardening or walking/hiking hit the table. Why read history for practicality? Brings to mind gentler times and a certain perceived innocence of nature’s offerings in the reading. It’s the way they present linguistically I suppose. Glance at the gardening and you read that ‘Swede is a wholesome and profitable vegetable’. ‘Kohl Rabi withstands drought remarkably well’. And ‘Endive is ‘specially’ welcome in Winter’. Exciting gardening for the day then! But. You hear rain tip tapping heavily off the window pane with a few breathy gusts of flat clap/thump ‘wind burst’ thrown in every now and then? You decide upon closing the gardening book and reading about the Anthony Greenbank hiking/walking option. 

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Vintage thoughtful advice is always a valid investigation. It’s akin to when I read medical research. How interventions, medications and explorations have changed to new found procedures and remedies. But vintage, in it’s base level essence, contains sound common sense advice. It hits home in it’s logical basis and does exactly what it says on the tin. In medical terms, anatomy and physiology are consistent. It’s the new found approaches to pathology and subsequent healing or realistic well being achievements through newly found aims that has a constant research need. New supportive ideas? Helps keep you well prepared for tackling the adventures awaiting and also keeps you safe. The basics of geographical presentation? A quaking peat bog land area, a lonely mountain side or a thick, large, miles upon miles of dark woodland/forestry expanse are places not to get lost in. That is why a decent compass and the ‘rite in the rain’ book and pencil to record intended journey are vital. As well as knowing how you are supposed to use them. Still lots to learn and discover.

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Walking/hiking out in the Welsh local vicinities, involving both planned and book written common ‘circular’ routes alongside freedom to choose new unexplored routes, are an aim for the next year. Having gently investigated for knowledge acquisition and the need for proper equipment I love the idea of ‘old school’. However. Cotton clothing is much criticised and hinders by absorbing everything wet, including sweat, and drys too slowly. Old sturdy corduroy trousers are out of the equation then. I suppose practicality far outweighs the innocence of past vintage aesthetics. I learn other considerations regarding material choices too. Wool? You not only wear the ideal choice that is merino socks, jumpers, etc. But can buy the actual raw wool (as Trekking Wool) and put it into your choice of walking socks for blister avoidance. High in lanolin apparently. Also to consider with modern garments. Choice in makes, designs and materials in considered clothing is phenomenal. With phenomenal prices attached too. Even second hand. 

Am I likely to perform a 20 mile focussed hike? I have bought an old German made 1950s pedometer. It has a pace length changeable small lever which you can set depending on your stride. It all seems to work, but needs to be worn on a known ‘exact measured’ two mile walk to see if it is accurate for what I have set for my own individual stride length. Worn on the belt around and about over the last few days? It has reached 5 and a half miles. Too many visits to put the kettle on obviously.

In the 1970s and 1980s myself and my wife went on dozens of ‘circular’ walks each year. Took our time. Five to ten miles sauntering and ultimately really enjoyed those days. Gradually others joined us too. Weekends of simple social camaraderie and the only purpose was to amble, chat and get some fresh air. Ambling for pleasure is a great philosophy. Not to consider walking as a serious focussed exercise routine. Taking time to stop and look at nature’s gifts. Not only stopping to understand the names of what is witnessed but seeking further enquiry into individual presentations. The Trangia hikers’ burner to light and put the kettle over and maybe warm up a simple meal too. Also. I have been looking at Sacred Circles for a period of sitting inside the circle and then allow considered, and much needed recently, focus and reflection. An amble and a small circle quest inclusion would be an absolute joy. 

Ambling, reflecting and learning as you go along? Spiritual in nature. Could I sit and relax in clothing materials of new scientific application to make the adventure a comfortable all round experience? Or do I sit in old practical clothes, ideal for mooching about with a bit of purposeful endeavour? Some of my corduroy or duck canvas trousers, sturdy Italian Sincro field boots, a light sleeveless fleece, with a lightweight pair of grab at waterproof ‘over’ jacket and trousers in the backpack, backpack including internet found suggested outdoor essentials, mantra beads to count the blessings in Sacred Circle land, Tilley hat or 100% wool beanie and a hemp shirt that, if wet, dries in the blink of an eye. That all sounds very simple and oh so perfect.

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