Cathy Dreyer’s 365 walking project

Ramblings 25 has been a bit meh, it’s walks sent in by listeners, but yesterday’s, The same walk 365 times, struck a chord or two:

Cathy Dreyer wrote to the programme to suggest we join her on a short, local route which she has chosen to walk 365 times.

Cathy began her project after reading the first few pages of Robert Macfarlane’s book, ‘The Old Ways’. She was filled with envy at his freedom to walk in exciting, far flung places. But rather than moan about her domestic responsibilities, Cathy thought she’d respond by doing a very short walk, 365 times over.

Cathy says she is using the walk to examine “what’s really there” in both the natural world and in her domestic life as a parent which is repetitive and intimate, going over and over the same worn but wonderful ground. Motherhood and work means it’s taking longer than a year to complete the project, something Cathy is chronicling in a blog.

The about page on the blog. Short Circuit, reveals the walk in detail: past Tessa’s, past Sally’s, through the kissing gate, down the brook, left and up the field, left to the road and back home. It takes about half an hour. Rather different from our walks! But Cathy has an aging dog and limited time, making that the limit of her daily walk. She’s turned it into a project and an opportunity to apply her writing skills – as of this morning she’s up to 209 posts, classified into categories.

I’m getting a little weary of walking projects and challenges, there’s a big bandwagon out there, and the daily post is a pretty old meme, but this is a nice counterpoint to the dog walking poet and his explorations of the everyday. For Cathy the the walk is a form of beating the bound/aries.

Short Circuit is now in my feedreader.

Update, 25 Oct: the final #rambling of the series, featuring two volunteer rangers on the South Downs Way, also offered some thoughts around the everyday in its final five minutes –  take yourself out of the everyday to experience something new, then make it part of your everyday practice. A walk never gets boring, although it can be more challenging, as you are different every time, your dog is different, the conditions and weather are different. The walk carries you along, connects you with who you are.

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