I witnessed the dawn of November 2019 and vividly remember telling myself that I could write my review of the previous month’s walking within a matter of days… A fortnight has passed since! We’re halfway through another month that I’m keeping track off and it’s beyond time for me to catch up.
This was October, then:
06/10 – 4.25 miles – Wick St. Lawrence, North Somerset
13/10 – 9 miles – Congresbury to Goblin Combe (walk leading)
20/10 – 14.5 miles – Exmoor from Dunster
27/10 – 8.5 miles – Quantock Hills
Total for October 2019… 36.25 miles
…You read that correctly – fewer than forty miles in one of the final months of the year!! This is partly due to my revised working schedule, where I now work a good number of Saturdays and my weekends consequently suffer on a bi-weekly basis.
It all began with what was sure to be my final evening walk of the year, in a month where the dreaded “Daylight Savings” regime is thrust upon us, whether we like it or not. I have personally penned ideas about shorter pavement-pounding walks in the darkness, now that I live on the edge of a town… But right now, that interest isn’t with me.
I was supposed to be leading a group walk in a mountainous region of South Wales the very next weekend… Only for unfortunate weather to wash that idea away. Not wanting to let others down or console myself to a day spent indoors, I rescheduled the Welsh walk for November (it has now passed – successfully) and, in its place, submitted a shorter well-known route much closer to Bristol. Fewer people turned out than I might’ve expected but it was equally well received.
That was my only group-based outing of October, in a month that wasn’t a particularly social one. Our programme of events continues to be a bit light in content, as it has been for much of the past three years. But, we continue.
My final two weekends of the month were spent further south in Somerset. It started with my first walk on Exmoor since a late-summer coastal expedition with Anna (the first properly-cold weekend of the season, as I recall) and then I was only as far west as the Quantock Hills, one week later.
I’ve talked previously about my ideas to wild camp some part of this season; perhaps continuing that through the winter, if not skipping straight to spring… But, with a sudden drop in temperatures recently and snow flakes falling across many areas… I’m probably holding back for now.
In each of the previous two years, I had left October with a respectable tally of around seventy-miles – almost twice what I’ve achieved this time. My weekends were more regular then and I could thrive on living very close to a varied landscape and countryside. These days, I find myself craving a bit more of a break from walking; perhaps saving those consecutive days out for the summer months…
I have, at least, decided that I won’t be taking on the #walk1000miles challenge in 2020. I probably said this last year and if not at the end of 2018! I no longer believe that I’ll reach the milestone for 2019. It’s too easy to look back and make comparisons – sometimes unhealthy ones. That’s not why I’m stepping away from it; I’d rather track my walks and progress without the silent ‘need’ to hit targets. I need a bit of a break from walking, without giving it up completely. Not that I currently have anything else with which to fill that void.