Okay, the title is a bit of a pun in that there wasn’t any actual legging involved on a recent trip along part of Staffordshire and Worcestershire and Shropshire canals. But I did do a lot (really, a lot) of walking over the 3 days we spent moving the Mikron Theatre narrowboat Tyselsey, from Stourport Basins up to Gnosall. I’m on the council of management for the theatre company and mostly I offer woolly advice about marketing but sometimes I’m actually useful and help move the boat when the touring actors (who are also the crew) have to use the van to get to some venues.
I’ve been contacted by the guys at Brecon Carreg water as they’ve created a series of walks around the south of Wales (naturally) and they wanted to get the word out about them.
I’m not reviewing a product as such here and I haven’t been offered any incentive, I’m just posting two particular walks I was sent details of.
Why share these? Well, it was a friendly approach and they’ve gone to the trouble of compiling some walks. And I liked the fact they are near to conurbations, so reachable by lots of folk who maybe won’t / can’t do big hikes in more remote places. Or maybe who can but like to fit in some shorter (but still leg-stretching) explores of interesting areas.
This wasn’t a hike as such but I wanted to post about it here , because it was actually one of the most enriching walks I’ve done. I joined a group of about 100 others last night for a sponsored sleep out behind the Leeds Parish Church, raising funds for homeless and rough sleeper outreach charity, Simon on the Streets. I’m really grateful to all those who between them sponsored me for £250.
The evening started with us all gathering (as individuals, like me, or in business / friend groups) in Leeds City Square. We were met by the friendly and encouraging guys from Simon On The Streets and with them they had some ex rough sleepers who were kind enough to then give us a guided tour of some of the places they slept in when they were sleeping on the streets. Places where you could hopefully avoid the worst of the weather and the worst of other peoples’ harshness and aggression (with that mostly coming from ‘the public’ not just each other).
Anyway, Paul who shared his story with the group I was in, was really frank and spoke with admirable honesty about his circumstances and how he met up with the charity originally (and how that helped change his path).
Seeing Leeds through the eyes of someone who knows its ‘underside’ was both affecting and interesting.
It was a relatively short walk (about an hour) on what was a kind night for us office worker types – no rain and really warm – but with the connections I made with some great people and the things I learned, it was a bit of a bigger journey that’ll stay with me.
People like Helen and Matt (who I had a good chat with) from Simon On The Streets, Paul the ex rough sleeper who spoke about some difficult stuff and huge credit to him for doing that and @zandramoore,
@martinotoole and @JonathanHirst , a right nice bunch of decent people.
Although it’s now over, if you feel inclined, then money is still being collected for a few weeks yet I think – so you can use my just giving page to donate – and thanks if you do. The charity only has donations as a source of income, they’re not government funded.
On a different note (and related to this blog) it got me thinking about urban walks – something I know is a big thing in some cities. I’d like to explore a few cities in this way in the future. Its easy to miss the human in cross city journeys completed in a car.