If we can walk, we walk

‘Walk with the dreamers

The believers, the courageous

The cheerful, the doers

The people with their heads in the clouds

And their feet on the ground’

I was all over the place and everything seemed to happen in slow motion. I never saw this happening. A car turned from the opposite direction without checking. I remember thinking: ‘This is it’- One minute on the bike, the next my head’s against the passenger door. Ironic it had only been 2 days since the notorious IRONMAN Wales. The doctor said the endurance races helped prevent long term injuries but advised strict bed-rest and physiotherapy. As the old English proverb says: ‘A cat has nine lives’ and I reckon I still have another eight lives to go!

Being a parent put this unfortunate accident into perspective, because there is a Little Lobster that’s far more important than anything. I listened to the doctor and my stamina returned soon after. Not surprisingly I was told to take things easy; easier said than done. Not being able to race was fine; I could take a little break and fatten up like a turkey for Christmas but not being outdoors was a different story. A weekend camping and being lost in nature is our greatest source of mother and daughter excitement. We had to come up with an alternative-

Lesson learnt: The secret to happiness is having bad memory and trying new things to see what works.

On a Sunday morning Athina and I joined a group of pensioners in the Peak District for a 10km walk. The outdoors is a rich environment for young children and Athina was

totally immersed. She jumped across dozen of puddles, stroked all dogs along the way and kept an impressive steady pace at the front while trying to balance a stick on her head. The experience highlights how much the outdoors fuel children’s’ fitness, confidence and imagination.

With day hikers infamous for being under prepared, we had a wholesome breakfast and put some good meal ideas in place embracing the food planning experience. We fancied jacket potatoes with beans and melted cheese but opted for the sensible option and packed sandwiches, fruit and lots of water instead (... maybe some colourful chocolate smarties too!) Along the way we discovered another bonus to trekking: As the belly fills up the backpack weight reduces.

The 'Oldies but Goldies' pointed at some gorgeous yellow and orange flowers (Nasturtiums) and invited us to eat them. 'We're not goats' I thought- Observing our hesitation a lady picked one up and munched on it slowly exclaiming: 'Oh that's delicious. You really must try it'. A little embarrassed I cut the smallest yellow flower and what a pleasant discovery; beautiful on the outside and tastefully peppery on the inside. I rubbed my belly exaggerating the big circular movement and said to Athina in a silly voice: 'Yum, yum in my tum!' Athina giggled but went for the blueberry bush instead. Clever girl; let Mum be the goat-

By the end of the walk the amusing pensioners, with their captivating stories and fascinating facts had me excited about walking too. Fit as a fiddle, they slept well, had a good memory, no heart conditions, loved life and looked a lot younger than their actual age. Their top secret? Regular walks in nature apparently. ‘So which is a big walk worth doing across the UK?’ I asked. ‘Oh, the Pennine Way is the oldest, roughest and toughest of them all dear’ one of them answered; the rest nodded in approval. They went on to describe the epic landscapes, intriguing geology and renowned flora. Unaware of it at the time this lovely bunch inspired our next challenge: to walk the ‘Pennine Way’. Over 2,000 years ago the father of modern medicine, a Greek named Hippocrates said: ‘Walking is a man’s best medicine’ and on a day like this I think this man was onto something!

Lesson learnt: Always listen to your doctor. If the doctor says go for a little walk; then go for a walk :)

This is how Athina and I plan our Winter-Wonder-Walk adventure: Over a 12 month period, starting in January 2017 we set ourselves the challenge to walk from the Peak District to Scotland. The almost 270 miles walk will be done at an unhurried happy pace marked by Athina. We will take time to enjoy the many fine viewing points and truly embrace the life-affirming natural beauty through dozens of weekend strolls. By the end of it I hope Athina remembers this as one more overwhelmingly good journey, that gives her a sense of accomplishment like no other.

Lesson learnt: Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.

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