I led my first walk on Sunday (waits for the applause to die down). OK, it was nothing major, just 5 miles with one little hill and a fair bit of tarmac with a bunch of friends and friends of friends – but it’s a start.
I have come to the realisation that the world of social housing can do without me and I can do without it, however, I still need an income. I’m 43 now, or as I prefer to think of it, 39D so I’m in danger of getting to the point where I am too old to change careers and if I am going to do something then it needs to be now. So, I did a bit of asking around, chatted to a few people on twitter and the internet and have decided that I quite fancy giving walk leading a go. However, this is not as simple as just dragging groups of people up the nearest hill, oh no, not by a long way. There are courses to go on, accreditation to complete, and books to read. There are all kinds of hurdles to jump over.
So far I have joined the British Mountaineering Council and registered for the Walking Group Leader program through the Mountain Training Association. And ... er ... thats it. The logbook I have to fill in is still sat on my “to do” pile and I haven’t booked a course yet as it takes money and I will have to arrange time off work. I will get around to it; I just need some time, energy and motivation.
The other thing that I did do though was think that if I wanted to be a walk leader then I darned well better start leading some walks. So, I created a group on Facebook and invited a load of friends to join and arranged two walks a month apart and the first one has just taken place. There was a good turn out of ten people, most of whom I knew and were not too scary. The weather was fairly benign with a bit of a breeze but coupled with some sunshine so no major issues there. I knew the route pretty well so what could go wrong?
Actually, nothing did on the day. Jo and I could have died in a car crash the day before when I lost control of the car on the motorway after hitting a patch of snow and ice and then glanced off the back of a truck and spun across M60 but we didn’t. We were still a bit shaken the morning of the walk and, of course, were without a car but we managed to get a lift with one of the invited guests. To tell the truth I was nervous as anything. Well, I suppose anybody would be. I kind of felt responsible for every aspect of the walk. Would the weather be OK? Would it be too muddy? What if I took a wrong turn somewhere? Would people enjoy it? What if the pub was shut when we got back? Naturally, it was just nerves, like I said everything seemed to go really well. In fact, it went better than I had hoped it would. People appeared to get on fine, some new friendships were made, the token teenager that was dragged along by her mum didn’t sulk too much and no one died. We ended up sat in the pub beer garden having our lunch as there was “no room at the inn” during a hail shower – it was a very fitting conclusion to what had been quite an odd weekend.
I’m really glad I did it and I am quite looking forward to the next one which will be slightly odd as its a child friendly walk so its a correspondingly different crowd of people coming. It certainly took my mind off the car anyway.
If any of you lot reading this out there in the blogosphere are in the Manchester, UK area and fancy a walk sometime then have a look at my facebook group, The ExtremePub Crawlers, or contact me through here and come along. The walks are going to be every month or so and I will try to mix them up a bit. Some will be fairly easy, some will be a bit tougher, but they will usually involve good company and an interesting pub, but I won’t always be able to guarantee the weather, sorry.