Walks with Jock during Corona – where my poles took me

Walking with my dog is an opportunity for outdoor exercise and also to enjoy nature and the beautiful Chilterns.

Keeping up my fitness and Nordic walking technique are vital for the post Corona era and as we hopefully near an easing of restrictions it will soon be possible to once again share my knowledge of the area and assist others in enjoying Nordic Walking in the Chilterns https://www.visitchilterns.co.uk/


Last weekend we walked from home, down through Henley, Pack and Prime Lane, Greys Green golf course, Rotherfield Greys and back via Badgemore. The sun was glorious and we saw very few people

a couple of dog walkers and joggers easy to keep our distance.

Dawn Chorus with my Nordic Walking poles

This morning was International Dawn Chorus Day which meant an early start at 5.30am

It was a beautiful morning with a pink sky – from the garden I could watch the deer grazing contentedly

while I listened to the countryside awakening. The birdsong continued for more than 2 hours so we were able to make recordings from our ancient Chiltern wood, the Thames riverbank and Culden Faw woods above Hambleden

For the birdsong and videos copy and paste the link


Nordic walking round Henley

What a wonderful spring we have had with blue skies and warm sunshine – everything has been looking amazing. The lockdown with Corona virus has meant less air and road traffic and sights rarely seen like a deserted riverside at 8am. The birdsong is incredible and the night skies so bright.

Scents that I rarely notice like hawthorn blossom, cow parsley and horse chestnut flowers make you want to stop and sniff them. Foraging too has been a real bonus as we try to avoid supermarkets.

Ways to use nettle shoots apart from soup – nettle souffle was quite a hit, Dandelion leaves instead of rocket, wild garlic adorning salads, risottos and anything else. http://www.foragingcoursecompany.co.uk

No boats on the river means many more swans and other birds. Last year at swan upping there were very few swans so this is good news.

Pictures in the Quaker garden – a haven of tranquility

Henley is supporting key workers and vulnerable people during this pandemic. there are many gestures that raise a smile and the town has been divided up so that each neighbourhood has a support network

to support those self isolating or vulnerable in other ways. Surrounding villages are doing similar things

and many local suppliers are rising to the challenge. We are lucky to live in a beautiful and community spirited place – well done Henley https://www.henleytowncouncil.gov.uk/


Alternative uses for Nordic Walking poles during Corona shutdown

Obviously the best use for your poles is using them for Nordic Walking for your daily exercise quota. By using your poles you are getting more exercise than without and this time is an ideal opportunity to hone that technique to get the very best from it.

Our group so far have come up with dog agility, opening a gate with no hands to avoid contamination,Playing with the baby, using the poles to carry the foraging bag, beating the brambles and doing a sword dance using poles instead of swords.





Uses for Nordic Walking poles during the Corona Virus shutdown

Our group is coming up with innovative ideas all the time. Obviously to get the most benefit from your

daily exercise allocation it is ideal to use the poles for what they are designed for  but in more relaxing moments they can come in handy for many things.

If you have a dog you can use them as part of the agility course and many thanks to Eileen, Helen and Hector for sending photos of this



and to Bridget for these – make a shelter, garden noughts and crosses,

hanging out the washing

and from Linda – how to keep the baby amused

and from Glynis – how to open a gate without touching it


and my efforts so far – sword dancing, foraging and beating back the brambles



Open day at the Friends meeting House Henley

Once a year the Friends meeting House https://midthamesquakers.org.uk/henley-meeting/ – home to the Quakers in Henley on Thames opens its gardens for the snowdrops.

This is a real oasis of calm in Central Henley. We started our walk from Badgemore golf club https://www.badgemorepark.com/

and wended our way down past Friar park – home to Olivia Harrison, widow of Beatle George Harrison to reach the Fairmile, entrance to Henley from Oxford.

We were warmly welcomed at the gardens which were looking wonderful. Cake and tea completed the treat before walking back via the historic Lambridge woods.

The Karwendel Marsch

For some reason I was persuaded by my good friend Klaus to participate in this event in the beautiful Karwendel mountains – he assured me that should I change my mind it would be easy to sell my place which was true but I am sure that he knew that would not happen once I had committed.

The added incentive was walking in aid of the TVAA for which to date we have raised over £600 with this walk  https://www.tvairambulance.org.uk/

I trained in the wonderful Chiltern Hills which proved to be a suitable training ground. With some trepidation I flew off to Innsbruck and was met by Gillian at the airport – I am always grateful for this as, not being a particularly seasoned traveller, it is a reassuring to see that familiar face on arrival and be shepherded through the bus and train options. from then on I was thoroughly spoiled with wonderful food and staying with Gillian and Klaus whose flat must have one of the best views in the world.

The weather was glorious and Klaus had arranged some nice training walks which the 3 of us could do and reward ourselves with cake!

The day of the challenge dawned – a 4.30am rise and a taxi to the start – still dark and thousands of people making their way there. All very cheerful and getting ready for the off. The runners start first on their 52km journey as the sun was beginning to rise, followed by us and our fellow walkers.

Most were using trekking poles or no poles and so I spent much of my time spotting fellow Nordic Walkers. The poles proved to be a great help.

I was amazed when we came to the first refreshment stop – 10kms in and it felt as though we had just started! The sun rose and it started to become lovely and warm but not yet too hot. I was not chatting nearly as much as usual as most were speaking German and my language skills are not very good.

The views were spectacular – along valleys and over mountain ridges, venturing above the snow line it really was very beautiful and the air so fresh.

Farmers provide all sorts of refreshments along the way – herbal teas, water, cheese and meats, home made biscuits and plenty of fruit – it was such a pleasure not to be carrying everything with you.

The only parts that were less enjoyable were the long descent – 5kms of a mixture of scree running and rock hopping and then the very long bus journey back to the start.

I am so pleased to have participated and look forward to going back to Seefeld next summer. A Foot in the Chilterns Nordic Walkers are once again staying at

Hotel Charlotte https://www.hotel-charlotte.com/

A Foot in the Chilterns in Scotland part 1

A group of 14 of us went walking in Edinburgh. Most of us stayed on the university campus https://www.edinburghfirst.co.uk/accommodation/salisbury-green-hotel-and-bistro/

which did mean trying to get the hang of buses. The bus service is amazingly good in terms of the locations and frequency but managing tickets was not so easy especially when bus drivers do not always sell you the right one. We were sold Lothian west to go to North Berwick which is clearly east and if the bus driver had good eyesight it did not work very well. After visiting North Berwick and being shown around by my sister we walked at least 8 miles along the coast to Gullane ready to be transported back on the next bus – this driver had good eyesight and refused to take us without further payment. When we sat down he turned off the engine and refused to move so we had to file off and wait for another bus who thankfully was more accommodating. He was a brave man to take on a bunch of middle aged nordic walkers armed with poles.

Day one was unexpectedly glorious sunshine – first walk for those who had arrived was from Blackford Observatory


We cheated a bit by driving up to the car park and walking from there. Edinburgh, due to its volcanic origins offers visitors the chance to view North, South East and West from the various hills in the city and surrounding area.

Later in the afternoon we walked over Arthur’s Seat to Duddingstone village, visiting the kirk http://duddingstonkirk.co.uk/history_and_buildings.html and Dr Neil’s garden http://www.drneilsgarden.co.uk/ on the banks of Duddingstone loch https://www.scottish-places.info/features/featurefirst7881.html before dinner at the famous Sheeps Heid pub https://www.thesheepheidedinburgh.co.uk/

Choice then was walk back along the old Innocent railway or drive back – those that walked had a lovely evening walk https://www.stuffedinburgh.com/innocent-railway-tunnel-2/

Day 2 – fuelled by a very tasty and indulgent scottish breakfast we set off for the Pentland Hills http://www.pentlandhills.org/ to work some of it off. Some people drove to Harlaw and walked there and the rest of us took the steep option from Swanston https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swanston,_Edinburgh

We parked by the Brasserie and set off up Caerketton Hill from where there were breathtaking views, on to Allermuir and then picked our way down some very steep terrain to return to Swanston for a well earned lunch with the others who had done a walk around Swanston after Harlow.

From there a short drive to the Secret Herb Garden and back for drinks and supper.