Frequently Asked Questions

Today on my blog I’m going to be answering a few questions that frequently get asked of me when I say that I go walking!  Hold on tight!!!!

How do you motivate yourself?  

I think my motivation stems from several things – curiosity or Fear of Missing Out, needing to walk the dog, routine and wanting to hit my personal targets.

I like to get out and see what I can find to photograph (one of my hobbies) and I like the idea of heading out every day to see what is about, if I don’t go out I always feel that maybe I will have missed a great shot or something I can use as inspiration in making images.

Roxy, my dog, always enjoys a good walk and I find that once we have been out both she and I are calmer, its as if the walk has cleansed us of our day, she doesn’t mind where we go and will accompany me on all types of walk, its good exercise for her and also for me.  When we have been out I find that she sleeps better and is much more calm and easy to be around!

I have a routine where I get home from work, get changed into my walking gear, put the lead on the dog and head out for a walk before coming home and having food and preparing for the next day.  When I have not been out on a walk, or even if we have been out on a shorter walk, or changed my routine around, it feels weird, like something is missing and that feeling stays with me fort eh rest of the day.

I set personal targets each day, whether it is to do 10,000 steps or walk for an hour, cover 5km walking, I like to reach, if not beat, these daily targets.

All of this helps to motivate me into getting out and about daily.

What do you carry with you?

I carry with me, on each walk, my house keys – so I can get back into the house after a walk, a torch – only a small one, but it helps if I want to light something up to photograph or if I get lost and it gets dark or even if the mist comes down off the hills and makes it hard to be seen, it has a handy clip on it which I will attach to the dogs harness or a zipper on my coat.  I always carry my mobile with me, not just to make contact with anyone if I needed to, but it has apps on it to help me find where I am (Map My Run, a sat nav and a map thing from Google), it is also my primary device for taking photos on.  I sometimes carry a camera with me, if I have seen something that I know will be there the following day, which my phone hasn’t captured properly, I will take my DSLR with me and I always carry dog poop bags – not only for clearing up after Roxy, but they are handy to put things (I have used them several times to wrap my mobile in when it has started to rain, just to protect it…), and sometimes I carry a small pad of paper and a pen or pencil to sketch things out or write down something that might be useful for artworks.

Do you always do the same routes or do you vary it?

I don’t always follow the same routes, I have a few tried and tested routes that are my fall back routes, ones that I love and know that I can find things to look at and see, ones that Roxy enjoys and that are suitable whatever the weather.  I do like to explore and have routes that have other paths leading off from them which I will go off and see where they take me from time to time.  I think, if I had more time on a day to day basis then I would probably go off exploring a lot more.  Sometimes, for variety, I will walk a different way around the route or vary it in some small way, like walking past the woods and along the cycle track a bit more before doubling back and then entering the woods, or walking up to where I exit the woods and doing the trail in reverse of what I would normally walk it, or follow a different path through the woods that I know comes out further along.  Sometimes its little tweaks in where Im walking that offer the biggest rewards, like finding hidden meadows or open areas in the woods, seats made out of fallen trees or a view that I had never seen before.  I have even come across ruins of houses that I didn’t even know were there before.

If you do take different routes how do you find out about them?

A lot of different routes I find are happened upon by accident or curiosity.  I may have seen a path and one day decide to follow it and see where it goes or I will look online at maps of the area and see if there are paths I could walk.  I have found paths and trails by getting lost and using intuition (and a mapping app!) to find my way again, and I also use research, whether its from OS maps or local group pages on line, looking and being interested in the area can reveal a lot of information!

What footwear would you recommend?

I would recommend a pair of comfortable boots or trainers.  In the summer you can probably get away with wearing trainers so long as the terrain you are on is not wet or boggy – there is nothing worse than wet feet!!!  I tend to walk in either a pair of Vibram Hi Tec walking boots that are high topped to protect my ankles or I walk in a pair of Oxygen boots, both are sturdy, comfortable, waterproof and offer protection for the foot and ankle, allow for ease of foot placement and grip the surface of the land to prevent slipping.

Why are you walking?

I am currently walking to raise money for Cancer Research in their Walk All Over Cancer, 10’000 Steps A Day (For September) Challenge.  I decided to take part in this challenge in order to support research into cancer treatments and also to challenge myself.  I like walking and tend to walk daily, 10,000 steps is the recommended amount we should be moving each day, and I was aware that I was not hitting this quota, so decided to combine my love of walking with hitting 10,000 steps a day while raising money for such a good cause.

Do you like rambling or are your walks more about training / exercise?

I really like my rambles and exploring the landscape around me, however I was aware that I was not fulfilling the recommended 10,000 steps a day as I work a mainly sedentary job so for me it has now turned into exercise as well as still being enjoyable.

How did you get started?

I started off running a while ago but had problems with my knee joint, I didn’t take Roxy out running with me as I would run in the local park after work then go home and walk her.  After my knee became bad I decided to switch to a lower impact exercise and took up walking, it made sense as it meant that I could still exercise and take the dog out every night but for longer periods of time.

Where has your favourite walk been and why?

I have walked so many beautiful places that it is hard to decide which has been my favourite walk! West Wales and the Gower in August have been some of  the best from the perspective that they were totally new areas for me to walk in.  There is a lovely walk from Abereiddy to Porthgain in West Wales, and several routes to get there and back which have some stunning scenery and there is a lovely walk in Oxwich which goes from the cliffs, down through a wooded path to the beach.  From Oxwich beach, if the tide is right out you can walk to Three Cliffs Bay then return to Oxwich over the clifftop.  Locally, I love my walk through Branches Fork Meadow, its a treat for all the senses, so much to see, hear, smell and touch!  There are lots of textures which I love, the bark on the trees, moss, leaves, all sorts!

Where would you like to go walking?

I’d love to go walking in the Forest of Dean or in the Brecon mountains!  I have done walks there before on outward bounds trips when I was in school and remember loving them but cant remember why!  I don’t remember the walks at all either so it would be nice to familiarise, and remind myself of them!

Do you play music while you walk and if so what do you listen too?

I don’t listen to music on my walks as I like to immerse myself fully in nature and listen to the sounds around me as I find it relaxes me and helps me to unwind after work.  I also like to be aware of any other noises around me, for personal safety it is best to always be aware of your surroundings, you can hear if anyone is approaching and prepare yourself with how to deal with it, whether its a jogger or cyclist coming up behind you or something worse, you can be prepared to act. (My blog post Personal Safety talks about this topic.)

And now to share yesterdays stats with you all…Did I hit my target?

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I didn’t 😦  I was travelling home from the show on sunday so didnt hit my target for this day.  The website for the Walk All Over Cancer fundraiser says “Don’t fret if you have an off day. You could always make the steps up on a nice weekend walk with the family – or just put in a bit of extra effort and make up the numbers across the next week.” which I will definitely be doing!

I am aiming to walk 10,000 steps a day for the whole of september in order to raise money for Cancer Research, if you would like to sponsor me or donate, you can visit my Just Giving page where a few clicks will see your donation added to the cause.

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