Covid 19! What shall we do if we can’t go walkabout?

So we’re doing as we’re told and staying at home. We can go for a walk, but we’re even told that we’re not allowed to drive somewhere first so that we can find somewhere new to walk!

Well that’s scuppered my Leicestershire Round Pub Walks for a few weeks at least so what can we do instead?

Well here’s what I’m doing followed by some ideas for you guys who want to get out and about, but don’t want to risk spreading a nasty virus around the place.

My response to Covid-19

I think of myself of one of those people who’s always looking for the good side of a bad situation. Now you can’t get much worse than the Corona Virus, but for most of us there are still some silver linings to be found if we look for them.

I’m one of the more fortunate people in some ways as I’m still allowed to go to work (never thought I’d be pleased about that but … ). As a key-worker, delivering chilled food to national distribution centres, I’m still gainfully employed for at least 3-4 days a week; but what about my days off? Normally, I’d be sharing my spare time between two closely related hobbies: walking and cycling the coutryside, and writing about it in these pages.

Covid-19 has made it very difficult to enjoy the more active of these pleasures so, I find myself with much more time to focus on the other – so here I am!

I’m using the time that I would have been out walking to plot more routes, and to develop these pages so that you can enjoy the many walks I’m planning without having to go through that rigmarole of planning routes yourself.

While being ‘locked down’ I’ve managed to finish my outline plan to complete the Leicestershire round in a series of pub walks. Yes, I’ve got in mind a complete set of 17 pub walks and they are all roughly plotted out on Ordnance Survey maps and I’ve identified the 17 pubs that I’m intending to sample as soon as this lock-down situation improves.

Over the next week or two, I will be adding much more detail to my creations so that – all being well – I can get out much more frequently as soon as the sanctions are lifted.

And, of course, all these routes and their planned dates will be published on these pages soon so that you can participate yourselves, or even join me when I eventually get out and about.

But that won’t consume me for all that time so, once again, I need your help: what would you like to see in these pages? Please comment below to let me know what you’re really looking for here – I’ll do my best to provide it if I can.

Lockdown – what can you be doing?

Plotting your own route on OS Maps

In simple terms – not much! Lock-down means lock-down and so you really shouldn’t be going out for anything except essential journeys. This, however, includes “one form of exercise per day” such as a walk (near your home). There are others of course, but walking is the one I’m focusing on.

Sadly, walking is not really a form of exercise (unless you’re really going for it) but it’s important not to underestimate the mental health benefits of being out and about in the countryside – particularly when we’re in this unprecedented situation.

So my suggestion is that you start to investigate walking opportunities near your home.

A good start point is to to buy a copy of your local Ordnance Survey map if you don’t already have access to one. You can buy these online at Amazon, or on the Ordnance Survey website. Alternatively, you might want to have a look at Ordnance Survey online: a basic map is available free of charge, but for an annual subscription of just £24 (or £3 a month) you can have access to high resolution maps of the whole country on laptop, tablet or smart-phone.

Having got access to the map through one of the above, start exploring your local area. You’ll probably be very surprised to find out how many footpaths, bridleways and quiet lanes there are just around the corner.

Start by looking at the key so that you can get a better understanding of how to use the map and very soon, you’ll be able to plot and follow a new circular route very near home that, previously, you didn’t even know existed. If you’re new to maps, don’t stray too far from home and try to plot something that includes some points you’re very familiar with or you could end up with a much longer walk than you expected. Comment below if you need any help with this.

Search for local routes

There are plenty of people, like myself, who enjoy plotting out a route, walking the plotted route, and then writing up a description to guide others who just want to walk without the hassle of planning.

Search on google (or your favourite search engine) for “circular walks near me”. For most of us, you are likely to find plenty of pre-planned and guided walking routes so that you can choose one of appropriate length and difficulty.

Need more ideas? Comment below and I’ll get back to you asap.

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