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Discussion Forum - LDWA ideas forum - Going it alone!

Author: Peter Ford
Posted: Tue 14th Aug 2018, 0:00
Joined: 2018
Local Group: Anytime Anywhere
Rather sadly, my walking is a bit hit and miss atm as in June I developed lymphoma. Some days I feel great and will do a. 10 mile walk and then I have days that it's to much of a struggle. However I still want to do my John O'Groats to Lands End walk,. Does anyone here have it yet still walks long distance? Any tips appreciated.
Author: Keith Chesterton
Posted: Thu 3rd May 2018, 18:34
Joined: 1972
Local Group: Surrey
The LDWA was founded for 2 sets of activities - challenge walks and walking long distance paths. Alan Blatchford said that in the very first LDWA Newsletter - now Strider. If you look at the articles in the early publications, you'll see both were covered, so it's never been just about challenge events. Many members do both as can be seen by looking at the registers. Personally, most of the paths I have walked have been on my own. Benefits are - you can change your mind, and you meet more people. I have had many interesting talks with walkers I have met on trails or at accommodation. If you are with somebody, you spend your time talking to them rather than with new people.
But as I've got older and less strong, I now either walk with someone or join a holiday.
And though I've done many challenge events, I've now ceased.
But stay in the LDWA - theres room for all sorts!
Author: Peter Ford
Posted: Fri 23rd Feb 2018, 23:15
Joined: 2018
Local Group: Anytime Anywhere
I'm new here, (got my password today :) )
I must admit I'm a solo walker as well, I retired last year at the age of 62 and I like nothing better than going for a walk. I am now in what I call training for next years "big event" namely John O'Groats to Lands End. I've tried interesting my wife in doing the walk with me, but to no avail, her idea of a good walk is 5 miles with lunch at the end of it hahaha. So if I don't post much or join in any group walks, well thats just me, I like my own company having had to put up with Joe Public in my professional life for far to long.
I am away for 3 days next week walking the north downs, the weather should be interesting I'm told
Author: John Griffin
Posted: Sun 11th Feb 2018, 10:43
Joined: 2010
Local Group: Staffordshire
I am also a 'Go-It-Aloner' who has never gone on a group walk, which to some degree do not interest me. I enjoy devising routes en-map and then walking them (sometimes to hilarious results). I generally walk about 8-15 miles with a couple events a year (walked solo!). I just enjoy the journey, the views, my thoughts etc, and while I do enjoy some companionship at times, socialising is not the objective. It's the same with my car - I own an MX5 and belong to the Owners Club (for maintenance hints as much as anything) but have never met another such, nor gone to local events. At 66, I accept it is my nature, and always has been. I walked part of the Carnedds at 16 in a parka and basketball shoes, and I haven't changed! So while I enjoy reading Strider and go on the occasional event, I am one of the great GIAs - probably the majority of LDWA members?
Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Fri 1st Dec 2017, 12:10
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
Dave, I think you've made some good points about the nature of LDWA membership and the apparent trend away from solo walking towards challenge and group events.

I too have spent most of my life (in my case more than half a century) as a mainly solo walker, and though I am now an enthusiastic supporter of what is a largely unknown (in the wider community, even among longer-distance walkers) extreme walking challenge - the hundred - and its necessary fifty-mile qualifiers, I don't, for the most part, take part or get involved in the larger round of shorter challenge events.

Challenge eventing - it's a sport, regardless of what this website says - has become the predominant mode of the LDWA. This is fairly clear from my experience of social walks, where it's unusual (but then I'm deaf) to hear talk of much beyond the world of 'events', principally the hundred. Sometimes it's LDP-related, but both the talk and the ethos seems to be of fitness, endurance, times, speeds, personal bests, tops-bagging, and, overwhelmingly on a group walk, keeping up regardless of wet feet. Only stiles and gates offer much of a respite for those at the back (and that's not me, not for a few years anyway).

I do enjoy social walks (and next year I'm leading two Challenge-length ones), but still, for me, long distance walking is about the experience: the ground (literally), the surroundings, the joins between bits of routes that I already know, and learning something new (currently about my gps gizmo). In social walks it's clear, in the main, that people don't read information boards, or indeed stop to do anything beyond immediate necessities. Social walks are like slightly shorter challenge walks without the cake and cold rice pudding - the ones where you're allowed to talk (not that I do, much, since people often have trouble hearing me).

Consider this Forum. 'Events' (news of which, then group walks, recently repositioned to the front of Strider) currently has 1,204 topics and 5,901 posts, whereas 'Long Distance Paths' has, respectively, 236 and 810. 'Events' always means challenges. Whether this emphasis has shifted over the years is a moot point. Last year or the one before I attempted to start a discussion in the Forum about the current composition of the membership, on a scale from sole (not necessarily solo) LDPers to Group (Challenge and Social) walkers, but it didn't garner any responses. My current guesstimate is that the proportion of predominant sole-LDP walkers is around 25%, perhaps as little as 20%.

Recent experience of a welcome (but un-typical) two-day-with-overnight-stay social walk along an LDP was that most people hadn't brought a change of footwear or evening clothing, suggesting that they were in what might be called 'normal' LDWA mode. That is, amongst this small and perhaps unrepresentative sample (but that would be towards the LDP end of the scale), most were challenge walkers rather than habitual backpackers. Having more than one set of gear (minimal for challenges, daypack for social, backpack for LDPs) might be a good indicator of where we are on that spectrum, but maybe that's just me. If it includes you, Dave, we appear to be in the minority, even if I'm slightly more of a challenge !

Author: Dave Lane
Posted: Thu 30th Nov 2017, 15:45
Joined: 2017
Local Group: Kent
I've always enjoyed walking for pleasure but I became (in my view!) a long-distance walker a little over a year ago when I received a GPS watch for my 64th birthday. I started to walk further and more frequently; I bought proper gear... and last February I joined the LDWA.

However, now that my membership is coming up for renewal, I'm wondering whether the LDWA is really for me. Of course I could simply disappear without a word, but I think it might be helpful to say why I don't feel the LDWA is for me. After all, I might not be alone...

In fact I've been prompted to write by the excellent article 'Going It Alone' by John Tipper in the December 2017 issue of Strider. I felt he was talking about me! He wrote: "The profile of go-it-aloners can best be described as 'relatively subdued'. If you look through recent issues of Strider you'll find dozens of articles on group walks and challenge events. However, you'll find few reports of walks carried out by individual members; the same is true for the LDWA forum. Any casual reader of Strider (and any casual clicker on the LDWA forum) might be forgiven for concluding initially that group walks and challenge events are all that the LDWA does."

I'm one of the go-it-aloners! In the last 12 months I've recorded over 2,500 miles of planned walks - yet the furthest I've done on a single walk is 30 miles. My walks are what I imagine many members would consider short, but I do them on four days each and every week of the year. I suppose I think of myself as a long distance rambler!

Even if I could manage to walk 100 miles in two days, I can't imagine wanting to. For me, walking is about keeping fit, exploring the countryside, finding paths I've not walked before, and seeing sights I've not seen before. I love experiencing the changing of the seasons and learning about flora, fauna and farming. I walk briskly (at about 4mph) but that's just my natural pace - it's not a race, but it's one reason why I'm not interested in group walks either. Call me unsociable, but I like being alone with my thoughts. And I like simply heading off down a footpath I'd not noticed before just to see where it leads.

I think that John Tipper was being tactful in his article. Before I read it I'd already formed the impression that the LDWA is almost exclusively concerned with 100s, other challenge events, long distance paths, and group walks. He also talks about the 60% of the membership who never surface - as in, they've joined the LDWA but don't take any part in group activities. I'm one of those, but rather than be 'brought into the fold', I'd have preferred it if the LDWA recognised that not only do we 'go-it-aloners' exist and are very happy doing what we do, but also reflect that recognition in the content of the magazine and forum. I'd be happy to offer some suggestions...

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