First of all, can anyone else remember a show called “Watching” from the 1990’s? It was this rather low-budget ITV show which aired on a Sunday night. It wasn’t anything special, but each episode had a different “___ing” title, and I used to really make a big deal over wondering what the next episode would be called. Writing “Walking” as this post title just reminded of that. That’s all.
Secondly, I appreciate that this is a running blog, and therefore walking should not be classed as an associated activity. But the way I see it, today was just another active day to be chalked up as a training session for my overall quest.
Sarah and I went to the Yorkshire Dales today. It should have been yesterday, but we slept in, and then that actually turned out to be fortuitous due to the rain. We alternately went to the gym instead, and I clocked up another 7.5km on the treadmill (“Week 6 Day 2” with Woman). Today however, the forecast looked considerably better, and indeed we had a wonderfully sunny day.
We started off in Skipton and ended up in Malham – both being places which were held fondly in Sarah’s childhood memory bank, and worthy of a refresh for her sake. I myself was never taken to the Dales as a child, but had been everywhere else instead. So, for me, it was a nice change to see some different countryside.
Malham village is located next to some rather big hills. There is bound to be a geological name for it, but sufficed to say there is a big sheer rock face with limestone steps winding up the side of it, and at the top there is some rather interesting lines in the rock caused by freeze-thawing. And that is literally as well as I can describe it.
We walked roughly 5 miles, up the horrendously steep limestone steps, and then up and down the undulating countryside in a big old circle, past a waterfall, and back to the car, all in about 3 hours, including a little picnic break on the top of the big rock. All very nice, and judging by the aches my body is telling me about now, it was a really good workout, and a nice change to the gym. The massive patch of sweat on my back, hidden away under my rucksack until I sat in the car, would also testify to that too. Yuck.
The real reason I wanted to write this blog post, besides logging my activity, was to voice my sheer hatred of walkers. Or ramblers. Whatever you want to call them.
You see, I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a fan of walking. Today cemented that opinion further. On a nice sunny day in England, there are few things better to do than go for a stroll in the countryside. Sarah and I planned ahead appropriately for today. We both wore decent walking shoes, and had a rucksack each with some food in for lunch. I had my SLR camera in the bottom of my rucksack, and Sarah packed her “pack-a-mac” style waterproof coat just in case. Finally, I tied a hoody around my waist just in case one of us got chilly (which Sarah always does, and did). So, other than having a bag on our backs, we didn’t look all that different than we normally do. Why should we?
Everyone else however was dressed up like they were scaling Everest. Everyone had a shirt, topped up with a fleece, topped up with a waterproof jacket. Then they had another type of jacket tied around their waists. Then they wore those cargo trousers with eighteen pockets, each big enough to carry a portable stove. Then they had the big walking boots with the giant laces tied into quadruple knots. Then they each had a massive, brightly coloured rucksack on their backs, and the man/leader in each couple had a waterproof pouch hanging around his neck with an Ordinance Survey map folded to the correct section. And finally, they all walk around like devolving quadrupeds with the assistance of a pair of blingy graphite walking sticks.
Before today, I was worried that I, and perhaps the rest of the running world, were going a bit over the top with our shirts, shorts and trainer obsessions. But my god, walkers are utterly ridiculous. I mean, come on, who needs a god-dammed map on a signposted, clearly gravelled footpath on a 5 mile circuit? One woman was climbing the aforementioned limestone steps – granted quite steep – but making double the effort just to use her sticks as well as her feet on every step. She wasn’t very old. She didn’t have balance issues. She had just purchased some stupid sticks and now felt obliged to make them seem worthwhile. Good god.
These new fangled carbon walking sticks are just some pointless invention, up there with the tongue cleaning pad on toothbrushes. Man wasn’t almost wiped out due to lack of tongue hygiene before the tongue pad came along. And people who weren’t biblical Shepherds survived just fine trudging across the land without a stick in each hand to stop them perhaps suddenly just leaning forwards a la Michael Jackson and not coming back up.
Walkers also walk ridiculously slow too. I accept that I may have a fair pace on me at times, but we must have overtook about 8 different groups of people on our 5-mile walk, and we didn’t even set off a few minutes behind them either. It seemed like they had been out there for hours, sauntering along with their sticks, commenting on how today was a three-layer day and not necessarily worthy of a fourth waterproof coat. I have news for you, walkers – I just wore a Polo shirt and made it back to the car in half the time you took. Think about that one.
Anyhow, I think tomorrow might be a worthy rest day. I might even go for a road run on the weekend, just for old time’s sake.
Note to everyone: if you ever see me carrying a walking stick, snatch it from my hand and beat me to death with it. I’ll thank you just before I black out.