In the late 1970s we moved to Lancashire and, for the first time, we discovered walking in the country. In fact we didn’t live far from that famous (and pretty tough) long-distance path the Pennine Way, and over a couple of years we managed to cover the first 100 miles of it – all in Sunday afternoons. This was the start of our love of walking, and we covered a lot of glorious miles, but very gradually I got less and less keen as my weight increased, and walking became more and more like hard work. By 2013 I weighed over 23 stone, had arthritis in both knees, and struggled to cover 20 yards even with a walking stick.
But for the last two years, as my weight has dropped off, my knees have improved, I have been able to walk more and more, and walking in the country has again become an important part of our lives. We manage six-miles strolls without any problem, and thoroughly enjoy them.
I am realistic about my knees, and I think that a full-blown assault on the Pennine Way is no longer possible, but I do still think about the path now and then. So when I had to work near Newcastle last week, and spotted on the map that the Pennine Way was not very far away, it was a great opportunity to indulge myself! We drove to not far from the path, negotiated the steep slopes and rough ground to reach the Pennine Way itself, then ‘did’ the Pennine Way (or at least one percent of it!). To seasoned walkers this would be nothing, but to me, who had given up all hope of ever walking 100 yards again, this was a fantastic experience, and Ann thought it was well worth taking a photo to record the day.