Walking in Lockdown

It’s been over a week now since the government ordered us in to this ‘Lockdown’ situation – although, I’ve not sure whether they’re officially using that term. Their message is simple: stay inside, only go out when it’s necessary and do this to minimise the inevitable strain on the NHS, when it comes to treating people with this COVID-19/Coronavirus that has plagued the entire planet.

They also recognise the importance of keeping active and maintaining a regular form of exercise. There’s been a common lack of understanding and lack of clarity from the government on some of these restrictions.

(This is NOT an April Fool’s post.)

Many workplaces have closed on a temporary basis, leaving many people (myself included) in receipt of 80% of their regular income, while self-employed folk face a tougher battle in the hope of receiving charity on behalf of the government.

This also leaves people without a daily routine. Some initially chose to view it as an extended holiday, which is understandable but would do nothing to deflate the risk of the virus quickly spreading. National Parks have closed in response to this and the National Trust have closed all of the outside spaces around their properties.

Exercise and try to avoid people.

Police now have the powers to turn people around, send them home and distribute to anyone deemed to be travelling unnecessarily. Travelling from home for the purpose of exercising is NOT permitted. Whether that’s a walk, run or mountain bike ride. If one person could do it, so could we all.

I found this hard to except at first. From my own circumstances, I live on the edge of Weston-super-Mare (a town) and with the minimal amount of green space within walking distance of my front door. There is a strong chance that I will (and do) encounter others when out on a local walk. We still don’t know who may or may not be carrying or susceptible to the virus and there is the argument that, if I were to travel to a nearby AONB, I may welcome come across far fewer people than along my local pavements and paths.

With all of this sudden dry weather, the ground is reliably firm to walk upon for the first time in months.

But again. If I could drive thirty minutes to the Mendip Hills and do a walk from there, so could potentially dozens of others.

I recognise the importance of staying put for most of our time. In some ways, I feel that those who can work from home are fortunate because they can uphold a form of routine (perhaps even with kids off school) and they’re probably receiving full pay.

My first week in lockdown was sluggish, I’ll admit. It took me some time to accept that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish any of the planned walks I’d been eyeing up for that week, each of which would involve travel. Every day now, I’m planning to do even a short walk from my front door.

Some will incorporate a trip to the supermarket or similar. They won’t often be more than three-miles in length. But it’s a habit I intend to stick with; the simple out of getting outside, walking, feeling active and embracing the weather is good for my mind, body and soul.

My most ambitious walk from my own doorstep would weigh in at around ten-miles long. I aim to attempt this one soon. It’s probably worth mentioning that there appears to be no guidance of how far one should travel during ‘exercise’ or a maximum given duration of each event.

It is said that our government will have reviewed things within two weeks’ time, while National Parks are already reporting that they have seen far fewer footfall than the previous weekend. I do feel that we are likely to see our restrictions increased – perhaps to a measure of miles or kilometres from our homes, as people have been set with in European nations like France.

I’m sure that many, many other people have seen their plans and hopes for the year slashed but this uprising pandemic. Camping trips, walking events, being able to go out and spending time with people… It is hard to accept that we can’t really do any of this right now. But there will also come that day when we’re all back in work and probably thinking, ‘I wish I was still at home’.

This can be seen as an opportunity to be more mindful and present. We can no longer go out and have everything, everywhere and all of the time. Our present situation is ongoing for an indefinite amount of time. To look far to the future seems unnecessary right now. Plans cannot be guaranteed. Neither can we revive the past or relive it.

Stay local. Walk from home.

All that we have is here and now. In another situation, we might’ve had a lot less.

Thanks for reading.

Author: Olly Parry-Jones

I live in Weston-super-Mare, close to the Mendip Hills in Somerset and I enjoy time spent outdoors, whether that's walking, camping or backpacking. My day job involved making furniture from recycled wood (I'm a furniture maker and carpenter by trade). I have two blogs: Olly Writes (woodworking, DIY, baking) Walks With Olly (walking, camping and kit) You can also find me on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. My second YouTube channel is titled 'Walks with Olly'.

2 thoughts on “Walking in Lockdown”

  1. It’s tough, isn’t it. I had my van packed ready for my first walking trip of the year, and was going to leave on Tuesday 17th March. But on the evening of Monday, 16th, the PM advised no non-essential travel, and I had to cancel the trip and unpack the van. Hope the peak of this disaster passes soon and restrictions are eased, although I think ‘social distancing’ will become a way of life for all of us for the next year or two. Best wishes and stay healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ruth,
      It’s always good and reassuring to hear from someone who recognises the struggle. We had more ‘freedom’ than we may’ve realised, working those five-day weeks.

      I’ve seen a lot of hate spread towards online recently. I suspect it’s people lashing out, where they’re feeling frustrated in having to adapt in their lives.

      I’m sorry to hear that your trip was cancelled and at such short notice. I did a walk with someone hours before the anouncement and we had put plans in place for another walk that week… It’s tough living alone as well and not being able to see people.

      I’m sure there will be long term effects from this whold experience. Hopefully people will maintain hygiene standards, litter less be more spatially aware of others.

      Thanks, I hope you also stay healthy and well.

      Liked by 1 person

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