Walking Solo with Carolyn McKerracher


Posted by in March's Magazine

Tom Weir did it his Way back in the 70s and 80s, complete with whiskers, breeches and a bobble hat. Muriel Gray followed closely behind, with street cred, platinum crew cut and an alternative to the Tube. More recently, Meghan Markle did it up the steps of St George’s Chapel, in full-length frock and duchess satin heels. 

Walking Solo. Each of them, out there, walking on their own. OK, maybe there was a camera crew, back-up team and several million viewers, all tuned in for both the walk and the latest fashion sensation, but Tom Weir was one helluva guy.

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Walking is good for your health. We all know that. In fact, we all knew that before Gavin Hastings surprised us in the 1990s, both with that missed kick and the revelation that a mile of walking burned the same calories as a mile of running, cycling, or swimming.  

Now science has confirmed that Walking-Is-Good-for-Your-Health. The NHS (Happy 70th Birthday) endorse it, charities sponsor it, and even the Scottish Government is in on the act, funding projects which encourage longer, healthier lives, many of them through walking. 

Walking is easy to promote and simple to participate in. Anyone with the ability to put one foot in front of the other (well, in front and to the side- this is not some U.S. of A test for drunkenness) can go walking. It’s free, it’s on our doorstep and you don’t need specialised equipment. 

Science also tells us that Walking-Is-Good-for-Your-Mental-Health. This too is true, though the same can be said for other types of exercise or hobby, like running, cycling, swimming or Zumba. And sex. And knitting. Though probably best not to try them both at the same time (letters to the Editor please). 

Quite frankly, if you suffer from depression, anxiety or other forms of mental ill-health, then you don’t need science to tell you that any physical activity, hobby or craft is good for your head. Those of us who know, know. We know that lying fully clothed under the duvet in a darkened room, is not good for the head. One day might be excusable, but if it’s Day 3 and counting, then it’s probably safe to say that there’s a bit of a problem. 

Walking is one way of fending off the duvet days. It gets you out. It gets you outdoors. It gets you out your head. All in a good way. 

I walk. I walk by the sea, through forests and up hills. Six miles. Twelve miles. The occasional Munro. Mostly, I walk along the coast and I walk on my own. Walking with others is great but walking solo refreshes the parts that walking with others simply cannot reach. 

But, I’ll make an exception. You may join me for a few weeks, Walking Solo. That is, if you don’t talk too much, or walk too fast and are quite happy to stand still at times and enjoy the view.  Bobble hats, breeches, crew cuts and duchess satin heels are all non-compulsory, though as an ensemble, they might just catch on.

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