During the Covid pandemic I discovered the network of public footpaths through woods and across fields that criss-cross the lanes in rural Warwickshire, where I live. I was soon walking several miles every day, and after a few months that had risen to four or five. I thoroughly enjoyed the walks, the views, the fresh air and the varied friends (human, feline, canine, porcine and equine) that I made. I even lost weight – 12kg in six months – bringing me down to my medically prescribed level.
A friend suggested I should try a virtual walk, whereby you plot the miles walked daily on a map of another part of the world, getting vicarious pleasure from walking through the Rockies or Stockholm or wherever. With Google Maps, of course, you can even see where you virtually are. So I decided on a walk from Toronto to Quebec. (This gave me a chance to visit Peterborough, Ontario. Why so important? Follow the link on the ‘about Marchbanks’ page.) I completed that last summer, shortly before I officially became an Old Person.
For the rest of the year I kept going, but with no real focus. Following a hernia operation in December I wanted a new target, and on New Year’s Day a farmer chum mentioned friends that were on a charity virtual walk from John o’ Groats to Land’s End. Perfect! On January 2nd, I began. Although not for charity – unless you feel it should be, in which case the Ancestral Cellars Replenishment Fund is my favourite cause.
So here I am. Each day I walk a few miles, email the distance to Zucky and the lads in my coding support team in the US, then they plot my progress on Google Maps and post it on this site. Back at the Towers, Gaston (my sommelier) sends a bottle for me to find in my virtual knapsack. (I admit I have no idea how this works.) This is shown on the map too, at my current location, and my views on it posted as a blog entry. Any random thoughts that cross my mind about what I see when out walking, or life in general also stand a good chance of being posted.
Sometimes you will see references to other people on the map. Some of them are friends and family. Others are members of pink fish media, a music and audio website to which I sometimes contribute. All of them have agreed to a virtual meeting if I pass through their area or suggested a detour to somewhere that I shouldn’t miss.
tl;dr – I’m on a virtual walk from John o’ Groats to Land’s End. Although it appears that Lego Marchbanks is on a trip down the Rhone valley. That was one idea for my next virtual walk – he’s way ahead of me as always.