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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Guided Walks: The Very Last One–Baldersdale and Lunedale

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On the 11th of October 2003, I was an assistant/trainee steward on a guided walk starting at St John’s Chapel. 37 people turned up and I remember absolutely nothing at all about what, if anything, happened. This, though, was my first “duty” for Durham Voluntary Countryside Service, an organisation now defunct. Survivors have been asked to apply to be volunteers for Volunteer Durham. I decided not to bother.
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Every now and then, I feel the need to slip out of the routine I’ve got myself into and wait to see what happens. Something always takes the place of whatever, or whoever, on some occasions, I’ve abandoned. The rule is that if something or someone is responsible for any negative feelings (fairly or unfairly), then it, or they, have to go. It’s a simple rule and it works. Life is too short and, in the case of the reconfiguration of countryside volunteering in County Durham, the management speak and promises that “nothing will really change all that much” sounded exactly like the multiple NHS re-organisations I’d experienced and became the death-knell of my involvement. It was probably just an excuse.
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So, on 5th July 2017, I lead my last guided walk. 12 people and a small dog turned up in the drizzle at Mickleton Station, including the two stewards, Maria and Ruth. Everybody was really very nice, as they always are, and I enjoyed the walk and the group, despite the clammy weather which hid the best views in murk.
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I’ve mainly enjoyed the guided walks, and the other DVCRS rangering stuff, monitoring some footpaths around Crook and around Hunstanworth, and doing the odd bit of stile-building or brush-clearing and the occasional “event”. Its been all good, clean fun but it was becoming a deeper and deeper rut and I’ve managed to crawl out of it. I have, in fact, quit whilst it was still good, so I’ll be able to have happy memories.
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And now for something completely different - actually, whatever it is, will probably be quite the same as before but in the meantime, I think I’ll expand my backpacking/wild camping activities a bit and, maybe revisit some of those classic Lake District rounds, or sumfink….
And LTD can come with me wherever I go (dogs not allowed for walk leaders, even though LTD is actually semi-human despite his habit of eating wild mice raw)
Most of the pics of the walk are from the reccy, cos the weather was duff on the day…
Some stats: Guided walks stewarded on since 2003 – 113 with 2673 people and several dogs attending. Guided walks lead – 108 with 2135 people attending (and some dogs). I had a few gaps in doing rangering stuff due to having a dicky ticker in 2006, a bit of a sulk at one point and a hurty leg last winter.
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7 comments:

Meanqueen said...

That's quite an impressive record, your dedication to walking is amazing. Time to move on to pastures new. Lots more adventures for you and the dawg.

chrissiedixie said...

Time to move on. Sometimes these things just have to be done.

Bangkok.Ian said...

321 walks plus the reccies to go with them - certainly time for a spot of 'you and LTD' time.

Dawn Linney said...

A pity but these things happens. You have given sterling service over the years. Time to explore new horizons.

Alan Sloman said...

A good innings, Mike.
When you told them you were finishing did they ask why or try to change your mind?

Mike Knipe said...

Thanks for the kind words, each - I wasn't actually responsible for the numbers turning up on the walks I stewarded, or for designing or reccying the walks - I just turned up and took the money and made sure nobody fell off a stile or got lost.. I was a bit more responsible for the walks I lead, though. I seem to have gained some kind of notoriety for more "challenging" days out!
Alan - They said "thanks". Quite a few walkers asked if I'd change my mind and said some very nice and supportive things. Volunteer Durham basically just said "OK, Bye then..." in a short email. Sorta confirmed my decisio0n so it did..

Alan Sloman said...

Dead right.
😕