Walking my way through ‘Lockdown’
During this last year of ‘lockdown’ life has changed for everyone, with people working or studying from home, many activities being reduced, key workers being pushed to their limits, and the worry of what could happen. We’ve all had to find our own ways to relax, and cope with the stresses of life in ‘lockdown’.
‘Lockdown’ has also opened our eyes to the mental health struggles that many people suffer from every day, such as depression and anxiety, and we can all relate to feelings of boredom, lack of focus, and loneliness.
During lockdown I have managed to find some useful ways to help ‘control’ my negative feelings and try to make the most of ‘lockdown’, including reading all sorts of books, cooking and baking, and gaming (online and traditional).
My favourite way to feel happier and more relaxed though, was/is to go long walks. I normally go my walks with my mum, or sometimes my dad at the weekend, and we chat about all sorts of things along the way.
We have been going for walks all through ‘lockdown’, and in all weathers. In Springtime we often walk in the countryside, and it is always good to see the Spring lambs in the fields. Summer walks are great, though it can get tiring if it is too warm, so I prefer when there is a slight breeze to keep us cool.
Most of my countryside walks are around Stromness, often up behind my house or ‘round the Loons’.
One of the downsides of walking in the countryside is when farmers are spreading slurry on the fields, and we have gone home a few times smelling a bit! The good thing about Autumn walks is walking
through the fallen leaves – although we don’t have a lot of trees in Orkney there are some places with a few, like Hillside Rd in Stromness. In Autumn and Winter, the nights get dark sooner, so most of our walks are in the dark, and I have always loved looking up at the stars. Winter walks can be cold and windy, so I don’t always enjoy them so much, though it is still good to get some fresh air.
Sometimes the weather in Orkney can suddenly change – one Spring day we set off on a walk, and it was quite mild and sunny, but halfway round, near the Waterworks, suddenly we got snowed on! It was a shock but also quite cool! Snowy winter walks can be fun – there is something satisfying about walking on snow, fresh snow, crunchy snow, slushy snow, all snow!
Although we often walk in the countryside, we also go walks by the shore, along beaches, or to places like Happy Valley – I love going to the beach to walk on the sand and paddle in the water, especially in summer, and in Happy Valley it is fun to walk along the river or through the trees. Sometimes we just go a walk down the street and back, which I enjoy, but it can get a bit repetitive if you do it too often. At Christmas it was nice to walk along the street at night and see the houses all lit up.
The walks are even more fun when I discover a new route or go somewhere that I have not been for a while. During ‘lockdown’ we found a few new routes, including one from ‘the Loons’ down past the Waterworks and to Outertown – we didn’t know exactly where we would come out, so that made it more exciting. More recently, in the snow, we went this walk again but in the opposite direction.
As well as getting fresh air, brisk walking is also good exercise, and although we walked more on some days than others, I got out most days, and covered at least a few miles on each walk. A brisk walk can wake you up, or a slower walk can also help to relax you, and walking in the fresh air often gives a better night’s sleep too.
I often see others out enjoying the fresh air too, walking, running, or cycling – I did go cycling at the start of lockdown, and really enjoy that too, but I need a bigger bike as I have outgrown mine. When we are out, we often bump into folk and have a catch-up chat about what we have been doing – we can still feel connected even though we cannot be together.
After ‘lockdown’ is over, I’m looking forward to visiting my family on the Scottish mainland, and going some walks with them, through the urban areas and different countryside.