Walking and friendship- the best therapy!

AS someone who has struggled with depression and social anxiety in the past, one of the very best tools in my recovery arsenal has been walking.

Walking is now a crucial component of my everyday life. My body will be screaming to me “we have to get moving mate” if I haven’t been for my daily 45 minute to an hour’s walk a day.

And the truth is- it’s not a chore or an imposition of any shape or form. There’s nothing more enjoyable than getting out of that house or office and setting out on a brisk walk. That sense of freedom, of movement, of mobility…… There is literally nothing to beat it!

And when you get a chance to combine walking with friendship- well, things get even better.

At the end of this month, I’m hoping to undertake the Northumberland Coastal Path walk( 60 miles) with my  good mate Big D.  This path follows the coast from Creswell in the north of England up to the very border of Scotland itself in Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

One of the highlights will be a visit to Holy Island (Lindisfarne), which was given by King Oswald to St.Aidan to establish his monastery back in the 7th Century. Ever since then it has been a place of pilgrimage for thousands of people across the centuries.

Even though a road was constructed between the mainland and the island in 1954, one can still follow the set of vertical poles across the sand and the mud on that 2 hour walk to Lindisfarne and walk in the footsteps of our medieval predecessors.

It will be another modern-day pilgrimage of sorts for Big D and me.   2 middle-aged men who enjoy walking, reading, writing and chewing the cud about modern life!

3 years ago we did the Clawdd Offa(Offa’s Dyke) Trail together. Well to be perfectly honest here- Big D did all of it and I did about half of it in the time I had available. But I still like to remind him, “do you remember our Clawdd Offa” jaunt!

It was a therapeutic journey for me after a period of illness- it provided me with a new expansiveness, a new hope and a whole new vision for myself.

It indirectly led to the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition of mine, i.e to publish a book. The book, “Gwlad, Gwlad!-An Invitation To A Party” which looked at a political year in the life of Wales, was eventually published in 2018.

It was that walk with Big D along Clawdd Offa which set the wheels in motion. That journey across some of the awe-inspiring landscapes of Wales, the glorious weather we enjoyed, the laughs on the way and of course those stimulating conversations between two friends.

Having set myself a target of writing another book this year- I’ve yet to get started!

But, I’m hoping that walking the costal path of Northumberland will get those creative juices flowing again… I can’t wait!