60 minute walking

For many of us, walking is not as important as family and friends during this crisis, but for those who are able, exercise can be essential for remaining positive. Anyone who enjoys walking as a hobby will not be enjoying the present restrictions one bit, but while they are vital now, they will pass.

Five years ago during a spell in Newcastle I had to compromise all my adventure plans and explore what was on my doorstep due to family responsibilities and lack of resources. Following a long period of walking in the Scottish Borders and North Northumberland, it was difficult not to view these walks as a poor substitute.

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

During this period of local walking I learned that there are still some interesting things to see, as well as wild spaces, if you know where to look. Inspired by the movement to create city parks in Glasgow and London, and by writers promoting the idea of local do-able adventures, I have been exploring my own back yard here in Edinburgh due to the present restrictions.

Leith, Edinburgh

It is easy to believe that your local area holds no surprises. Luckily for me Edinburgh is still full of surprises which I was really looking forward to exploring this year. However like everyone else, I am shaping my interests around the possible for the moment.

St Margaret’s Loch, Holyrood Park

Wherever we live, we either discount local walking and sit at home with cabin fever or we get out there and discover, or rediscover, our own local area. I am not recommending that anyone break the guidelines, but that they check out the places nearby which they may have taken for granted.

Pentland Pootling

The Pentland Hills lay just beyond my radius when I was living on the border, so I was glad when a walking friend offered to introduce me to this lovely area, which is a straightforward bus journey from Edinburgh. I was just on the verge of venturing out to feature the area on this blog when the restrictions were introduced, so this is just a taster of an area I hope to focus on in future posts. I hope you are safe and well.

This post was created from my phone so I hope the layout is without issues.

Some Outdoor Films

These are some of the outdoor films I have enjoyed most since creating this blog:

  • Force Majeure (2014) Dir. by Ruben Östlund
  • Touching the Void (2003) Dir. by Kevin MacDonald
  • Into the Wild (2007) Dir. by Sean Penn
  • 127 Hours (2010) Dir. by Danny Boyle
  • Mountain (2017) Dir. by Jennifer Peedom
  • Wild (2014) Dir. by Jean-Marc Vallée
  • Walking Out (2017) Dir. by Alex & Andrew Smith

Let me know if you have any suggestions for outdoor people missing the hills

Suggestions: Valley Uprising (2014) Dir. by Peter Mortimer, Josh Lowell & Nick Rosen

Some Outdoor Books

Here are 8 of the outdoor books I have enjoyed most since creating this blog. All are available as downloads.

  • Ramble On – Sinclair McKay
  • The Hidden Ways – Alistair Moffat
  • Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
  • Wild – Cheryl Strayed
  • Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
  • Walking Home – Simon Armitage
  • Cycling the Earth – Sean Conway
  • Balancing on Blue – Keith Foskett

Apologies for any formatting or settings issues as I am doing this from my phone which is a new venture. Feel free to suggest any books for other outdoor people with cabin fever.

Suggestions: The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

2019: A Year in Scotland

Although my first complete year in Scotland has been a relatively quiet year since losing my father in July, I think I have made the right decision to move here after living on the border for 10 years. I have had some great day walks, trips and life experiences, which only living in Scotland could have afforded me. I wish you all a very happy and successful year for 2020 and hope you will return to my sites in the New Year.

Rose 🌹

Hikerspace I

This post is intended to be an occasional feature showcasing some of the websites which I have enjoyed recently. I would welcome your suggestions about good sites.

Trail Angels
Trail Angels on Hadrian’s Wall

Chris Townsend Outdoors Blog by a very experienced backpacker with an impressive outdoor CV. Unparalleled knowledge of gear and environmental issues.

Grough Magazine An independently owned site featuring news and features about the outdoors and outdoor activities.

Hiking in Finland  A European backpacking blog in English written by the multi skilled Hendrick Morkel

Homemade Wanderlust  Blog and Vlog following trailhiker Dixie’s interesting and involving attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail and become a hiking triple crowner.

John Muir Trust Founded in 1983 with the aim of conserving and protecting wild places for the benefit of present and future generations

Northumberland National Park This site is growing into a well researched and  interesting website about the area. They are quite responsive to comments and criticisms from users.

The Outdoors Station Podcast A professionally produced podcast covering many aspects of the outdoors from the Cartwrights at Backpacking Light UK

Scotland Outdoors Podcast A wide ranging, well informed and entertaining podcast about outdoor life in Scotland.

Tramplite Ultralight long distance hiker who designs and makes his own line of hiking equipment when he isn’t hiking trails around the world

Walk Highlands All aspects of walking in Scotland are covered in this engaging blog which has a good mix of trail data, downloads and long form posts. It is supported by accommodation providers who want to appeal to the outdoor market.

Rucksack Rose

Solstice Celebrations

The arrival of the Summer Solstice always reminds me not to take for granted my favourite season. This is a reminder of why I love late spring as it unfolds into summer and is intended as a response to Ben Dolphin’s regular vlogs in praise of winter.

Like many followers, I measure the year by the appearance of certain sights and sounds such as Primroses, wild Garlic, Bluebells, Cuckoos, Larks, dawn choruses, Hawthorn blossom, Swallows, Buttercups and so on. I sometimes wonder whether this is tied to my birthday, which often coincides with the arrival of the bluebells.

From the Primroses to the Brambles the summer creeps in and builds to a magnificent climax if we are there to witness it. I have lost the last vestiges of school taught religion as an explanation for it all now. However I remain unfailingly impressed by the show which is put on if we care to get out into the outdoors.

Wishing you a happy Solstice and outdoor year.

Love your lungs

As National No Smoking Day is coming up on 14th March, I thought I would include a post about giving up. On or about this time of year a few years ago, I finally gave up smoking using nicotine patches and healthy nibbles, after a couple of failed attempts. I am not trying to preach about the dangers of smoking, because any smoker would be hard pressed to ignore the warnings emblazoned on cigarette boxes.

If you decide to give up, focussing on a physical activity you enjoy helps to remind you how much better you feel by not smoking. I started with easy walks and built up over the course of a year or so to more challenging routes. Getting fit again was not an overnight achievement and I had to work at it gradually.

image
Foliage at Garry Bridge, Killiecrankie

If friends find it hard to accept your decision to stop, maybe it’s best to broaden your circle to include more non smokers. Since I gave up smoking I have met new friends through my hiking who have made me feel like a reasonably normal person without a cigarette in my hand. I may not be an elite athlete, but this doesn’t matter as much to me as having improved my health.

I am happy to support anyone who tries to give up, having seen the damage it can do to a member of my family. Statistically many of us are likely to have friends or family affected by lung disease, so please donate to the British Lung Foundation if you have a few pounds to spare.

Cheviots
Cheviots on the Pennine Way

Twitter Detox

As a digital immigrant, I didn’t really know much about online safety when I started Rucksack Rose using a pseudonym in 2012. My aims were to celebrate the life of my late mother and to remind myself, after her long illness, that beauty and kindness still existed in the world. I wanted to connect with other outdoor people, particularly people who are normally excluded from outdoor debates. Naively I thought that is what the internet was for. Because of this, I didn’t know how to react or who to turn to when my sites were targeted by cyberstalkers, malware and organised trolling. For the last 5 years I have made repeated attempts to refer people to my personal site for information and news, but the main thing I have learned is that trolls can’t, or won’t, read.

After my studies in 2016, issues from the same people flared up again when I mentioned that my application had been accepted for the TGO challenge, and their sheer unpleasantness resulted in my withdrawal from the event. This was soon followed by another outburst from a couple of people from the same group (without even knowing the circumstances) when I mentioned that I had made a call to Mountain Rescue for advice during a walk in memory of a relative.

RR Bullying 1
Blow the whistle on trolling and harassment

This group seem to have nothing better to do with themselves than to wreak emotional devastation on Twitter. After haranguing me for over two years, they eventually pressured me into disclosing private information which was really off topic on this blog.

All these experiences have changed my approach to blogging and social media, which is ironic on a blog intended to share beauty and kindness. As a result I have put Twitter on hold for the moment as I’m not sure it is the right platform for remembering people, beauty, kindness, survivors or fledgling businesses. When I try to balance out the positive contribution it is making to Rucksack Rose against the emotional damage being caused by trolls, and the lax safety responses from the company involved, the option to come off Twitter is becoming an increasingly tempting one.

Otherwise all is good, and everything else will hopefully carry on with improved productivity in a less toxic environment. Thanks again to the people who have stopped by. It means a great deal to me.

Wild Flowers
Wild Flowers near Malham