May 2020 Update

Let's go for a walk someone said!

What started as a casual remark, has led to AK walking from the New Forest to Coniston and now from John 0’Groats to Lands End! HOW can they possibly do that while in lockdown I hear you cry ………….. virtually of course! Where there’s a will there’s a way – especially where AK members are concerned.

So how did it all start? As mentioned in last months update, our fellow Rotarians who live in the New Forest were yearning to be back in the Lake District so a virtual walk was suggested, and so it began. The route was planned from the New Forest to include Salisbury, Swindon, Cirencester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, Kidderminster, Telford, Warrington Lancaster and finally the Lakes.  The distance covered each day is the sum of everyone’s mileage. (In this context walking is a generic term and includes other activities such as golf and cycling etc).

This proved to be a lot of fun with everyone contributing, bringing back memories of places they had previously visited with suggestions that we meet friends (virtually) in Shrewsbury, have a coffee or beer at a recommended pub, visit the pier at Southport or reminisce about shopping in various towns en route.

Having completed the walk and arriving in Coniston quite quickly it was decided that we would set off again, perhaps with a longer challenge. So where to next was the rallying call??

And so walk 2 began - from John O’Groats to Lands End!

Our first port of call was the Castle of Mey, and then south towards Inverness, the Caledonian Canal, the complete West Highland Way (which is a long distance footpath in its own right) not forgetting virtual stops at local distilleries and stops to admire the views from the tops of various hills, with local history being related about the different locations.

Then heading east, we walked along the towpath of the Forth and Clyde Canal from Glasgow towards Falkirk and Edinburgh. From there, south to the Scottish Borders, along the Pennine Way, the Yorkshire Moors and the Northern Derbyshire Peak District, with so many helpful comments from members regarding points of interest or more importantly good eateries!

Our next port of call was Staffordshire where we learned about the potteries and then on to the Shropshire hills, with a walk over the Long Mynd, before heading towards Leominster, Ross-on-Wye and the Forest of Dean.  After crossing the Severn Estuary we joined the coastal walk to Blue Anchor and that’s where we found ourselves at the end of May!

Our virtual walk is seen as having several benefits, helping to keep everyone in touch, ensuring some daily exercise, mentally stimulating and giving a different perspective on the world around us. Some members, who are in self-isolation, are participating by walking around their gardens and joining in with the banter. Watch out Capt. Tom!

However, our virtual walk would not be so interesting and informative without the skills of our Whatsapp walking administrator Colin Thomson, who daily updates our route with pictures and information of the places we have passed through or visited. Thank you so much Colin.

June will see us head for Exmoor and Dartmoor and finally south through Cornwall – more of our trekking next month!

So, as lockdown eases we continue to meet monthly via zoom and to plan ahead as much as possble in the hope that we will be able to meet again physically soon. We have made the decision to postpone our Presidents Handover until a time when we can enjoy the camaraderie is justly deserves.  Needless to say, once we get the go ahead AK will be organising commmunity and international events once again with its usual enthusiasm and vigour! In the meantime keep safe and sane!