Week In Review – Week 2 -8/1/17-14/1/17

This week I have taken a grand total of 33249 steps, less than last weeks step total.  I am still struggling with the darkness of the evenings and getting out and about while being safe.  I also managed to hurt my shoulder which hasn’t helped much – especially with walking Roxy, as I have been worried about doing it any more damage, so have been taking it easy.  I have also been struggling with my energy levels and tiredness, I had blood tests just before Christmas and am awaiting a meeting with my Doctor to discuss my thyroid function.  I have been medicated in the past as I have an under-active thyroid and think I may need to take medication again.  I can’t wait for the meeting with my doctor to find out as at the moment the lack of energy and tiredness that I’m experiencing is getting really frustrating.  Fingers crossed that it will all be solved soon and I will be back to my active self!

We have had some cold weather here and on Friday we finally got the snow that had been threatened!  It started snowing on Thursday after a lot of sleety rain so I wasn’t entirely convinced that anything would stick at all.  What we did have was a fairly light covering which had, mostly, disappeared by the afternoon.  It was worse in work than at home as it was icy under foot and the gritters had not been out there.  I’m quite glad that it didn’t come to much as it can stop you doing so much.

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I am not making too many plans regarding my activity levels this week apart from try to do more steps than last week as I think this is a better, and more achievable goal than aiming for 10000 steps each day and failing.  Lets see what happens!

What are your plans this week?

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Fun Facts Friday

This series gives fun facts about things which have been mentioned in the past months blog posts or interesting facts about walks that I have been on or have planned or facts linked by themes.

This months post looks at the theme of Winter through some fun questions and answers!

  • What is Hoar Frost?  And what is it named after?

Hoar Frost is a type of frost that forms when there is water in the air (humidity) and the temperature drops below freezing to individually turn the droplets into ice.  The name Hoar derives from Hair or Herr (in german – meaning hair) and has changed over time to become “hoar” which is fairly apt as a name as the structure of this frost looks like frozen hairs.

  • How is “winter” decided?

The first day of winter differs depending on whether you look at the astrological or meteorological definition.  Most calendars look at the meteorological definition in order to know the first day of winter.  The meteorological way of deciding the seasons is to split the year (1st Jan – 31st December) into 4 sections with each section being equal.  Therefore the winter that we know through the calendar start on 1st December and ends on 28th February.  The astrological version looks at the earths tilt and the equinox’s and solstice’s, which then gives winter as starting (this past year) on 21st December 2016 and ending on 19th March 2017 (see here for more info)

  • Whats the coldest winter ever recorded in the UK?

The winter of 1962/63 was one of the coldest on record with temperatures in some areas being recorded as -19.4f. (see here for more information)

  • Why do we get more mist and fog in the winter?

Mist and fog are created when warm and cold air mix causing condensation to form (water vapor) in the air.  Because of where we are situated as a land mass (UK) the mist and fog form easily in the winter months due to hot and cold air streams meeting over us. (see here for more information)

Look Out For

Another new addition to the blog!  This will be a monthly series and will outline things that you may find on your walks.  I decided o add this series into my blog as away to make walks more interesting, whether you are walking alone or with friends and family.  There is so much to see, not just on a season to season basis but month to month and week to week too.  There are lots of different things to see, as you will find in this series, whether it be things caused by weather, animals, plant life or anything else that may be of interest.  So, this month I am focusing on things you can “Look Out For” in January.

January may be cold and dark and feel like it stretches on for the longest time but it is also the month where you get to see some amazing things and notice others that hint at the warmer months to come.

First is the frost, not just any frost though, there is a type of frost called Hoar Frost (http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/wxfacts/Hoar-Frost.htm ) which leaves a spiky frost in its wake.  The weather has been perfect for this kind of frost to form, the air is damp with water droplets and we have been experiencing freezing, clear nights which help the frost to form.  It is a really beautiful sight and there are some lovely images that can be captured in photographs.

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Image from https://www.britannica.com/science/hoarfrost

January can also mean rain and mud and soft earth, this is perfect for spotting trails left by animals.  Footprints can be left by all manner of animals, from domesticated pets like dogs and cats, to wild animals such as foxes and badgers and birds.  See if you can spot any prints left by animals, what do you think they were made by? There are some useful identification charts available from HERE.

Walking through woodland or where trees and brambles grow can give really good indications of preparations being made for spring, buds will be forming ever so slowly to start, but if you look you will see signs of life starting to appear all around you!  Keep an eye out for greenery poking through the earth as well!

What have you noticed on your walks this January so far?

Week 8 Overview

This past week I have been struggling with my health in general, after having the flu jab a week ago I have been run down with a cold that has seemed to get no better or worse but has zapped my energy levels and left me feeling really tired, achy and stuffed up which has had an impact on my walks and steps.  This past week (19 Oct – 25th Oct) I have taken 65422 steps (7500 of those was made up from 100 mins of housework) which is slightly more than the previous week.  I hit 10,000 steps 2 times but been under every day since.  I am not too worried about this though as I am giving my body a chance to recover and fight the germs I seem to have picked up along the way.  I don’t feel that it is beneficial to push yourself to achieve goals when you are ill as sometimes it can make you worse.  I have listened to my body and it has told me that resting up is the best course of action right now.

Anyway, on to yesterdays stats…how did I do?

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I did better than I expected although I did manage to get out for a walk twice in the day as I felt a bit better than the previous days!

Walking In Weather

This is something I have been wanting to write about for ages and have touched upon it a few times in other blog posts – Walking In Weather.

Now, there is the obvious “wear appropriate clothing for the weather that you are heading out in” spiel but this post is going to cover more than just wearing a coat when it rains.  There are a lot of other things to consider when walking in weather.

I love nothing more than going for a walk in the rain, everything seems cleaner and fresher, the air is cooler and much of the time you feel like the only person in existence as many people shy away from heading out in a downpour!  But, there are hazards on the way, the paths may be more slippery and your foothold not as steady so you will need to take your time.  Floodwater may have gathered on the trail you wish to follow which may mean navigating around or through the water, at times you may need to take a different route or abandon that particular trail totally which means that you should know the area well enough to find alternate routes.  The ground may have become marshy or boggy so you will need to take care with each step, if possible getting hold of a stick (whether from the floor, discarded by nearby trees, or buying a proper walking stick)to use to test the depth of the water in the ground before standing on it is a good idea and indication of whether the ground is able to be stood on.  It is worth also, carrying a torch, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but bright enough to light the way and small enough to fit in your pocket.  In rainy weather it is surprising how dark certain areas can become, and you never know if the mist and fog will roll in making you almost invisible in the landscape and hard to spot.

Walking in windy weather can be really invigorating, like the fingers of air are whipping away the dust and debris from your daily life, leaving you feeling refreshed and awake.  I love the windy weather for this reason – it leaves me feeling recharged and ready to take on the world but, it also comes with hazards that you need to prepare for.  Winds can be dangerous, especially the higher up you climb, where the winds may be stronger, stay away from edges of cliffs or ridges and if the wind picks up and you happen to be in one of these places, where you may get blown off the edge, sit down and get as low to the ground as possible, if possible, sit and wait for the winds to slow or stop, if you can’t stop and need to keep moving or the winds show no sign of letting up, proceed with care along your chosen route but stay as low as you can, the wind has got less of a chance to hit you when you are closer to the ground.  If possible head for ground where the path is lower than the land so that the land can offer some protection.  And if you are planning to head out into the wind be careful of objects that may have been caught by the wind and be acting as trajectories flying through the air, you don’t want to be hit by something and injured.  If possible wear something with a hood and pull it up over your head to offer protection.  And whatever you do, an wherever you are protect your eyes, sand and grit can be carried by the wind and cause damage to your eyes.  I very often have sunglasses or my normal glasses with me when walking which offer a level of protection otherwise I use my hands to shield my eyes.  If you can, walk with the wind to your back so it is not hitting you front on, I know this is not always possible though, but can help protect you from many things carried by the wind.

Snow and Ice are really hazardous to walkers and, while looking pretty, can leave paths and trails slippery and frozen.  The snow can also blanket a lot of dangers that may lie on the pathways, like uneven ground, stones, logs, other trip hazards or even ice which you may slip on.  As with rain, take your time, go even slower than you would in other conditions as you cannot know what lays under the snow.  Wrap up in warm clothing, layers are always best, wear gloves and thick socks, take a hat and wear a scarf.  It is surprising how quickly the cold can penetrate your clothing and cause your body temperature to drop which can make you ill, so keeping warm is essential. Wear sunglasses and use sunscreen in the day, the sunlight bouncing off the white surface of the snow can cause snow glare making it hard to see and can bounce UVA and UVB rays around causing sunburn.

Damp conditions can be as hazardous as rainy conditions.  It may not have rained for a while so many paths will be dry but you will find damp conditions in woodland and forests where the sunlight may not have penetrated beneath the leafy canopy and dried off the ground, or you may have areas of natural bog or marsh that retain water, surfaces covered with moss and lichen are also likely to retain water and be damp so take care when manoeuvring through these kinds of area, slips can be common here.  Use common sense and go at a slower, more cautious pace.

When it is hot and humid the air and ground can feel damp so take similar precautions as when walking in damp conditions.  It is also worth carrying water with you as you will loose body water through sweat as your skin tries to cool you down.  Take with you a bottle of insect repellent as its in these conditions that you are likely to get bitten (I was bitten twice by horseflies and its definitely not in my top 10 most pleasant experiences!)  Also wear sunscreen to protect your skin and carry a thin cardi or top with you incase the weather starts to change and cool down.  I would also pack a spare top to change into if the one you are wearing gets too damp from perspiration.  In this weather you can get chaffing issues, whether from clothing, skin or shoes which can lead to very sore skin or blisters so I tend to pack plasters and an anti-chaffing cream.

Sunny weather is lovely to walk in but can be tough going regardless of the season.  You can suffer from heatstroke if not careful so I tend to plan my route so I am walking in the shade at least some of the time.  As with hot and humid weather I would pack water and a thin cardi or top to put on, more so in this case to protect your skin from burning.  Apply sunscreen regularly and don’t forget the back of the neck and tops of ears as well as hairline.  If possible wear a hat and protect your eyes with sunglasses.  Stop regularly to re-hydrate and recharge your energy.  If you are walking with your dog please be aware of the surface temperature of the ground you are walking on, dogs paws are really sensitive and they can burn their pads and blister easily.  Keep them away from tarmac in the day or other surfaces that heat up quickly or retain their heat.  Check the ground temperature with the back of your hand, if you can not stand the temperature for 2mins then your dog can’t either.

If you are out and about and fog descends which can happen really quickly on moors or up on high ground, or mist rolls in keep in mind that these conditions can cause you to become disorientated as you can not see landmarks or other identifiable land information.  If you can, download a compass app to your phone or buy a pocket one and carry it with you, this will help to navigate you around the area.  Walk slowly and take care, the mist and fog may obscure the path ahead of you and mask any hazzards that may lay in your way, stay in and away from edges of pathways if you are on high ground.  Carry a torch with you to help guide you and also to make yourself visible.  If you are packed properly, you will have a lightweight top or coat with you, put it on as the fog or mist can cause the air to be come chilly and for you to get cold.  If possible find a safe spot to sit and wait for the fog or mist to clear, sometimes it can come in quickly and disappear without a trace with as much speed.

Whatever weather ypu are walking in be prepared and be safe.

And now for yesterdays stats…did I hit my target of 10,000 steps?

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🙂  I did!!!

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.