This is what it's all about
I don't need to tell you I've got the best job in the world, but if ever I waver (like, for example, when – a long time ago – I had to go on the radio to explain why my magazine was pointing readers over a cliff) I only need to look here or here. That's where in a few moments I gathered the pics you see in the collage above. Happy walkers, infectious smiles, memories being made – and things in so many respects getting better and better through the magic of regular application of the old left-right, left-right. That's the business I'm in – and there isn't a better one on the planet.
But how's your challenge going? If you're one of the people who've joined either of our Facebook groups – the 500 or the 1000 – but seldom post, or perhaps never have I'd like to extend a special invitation: we'd love to hear from you. Your walks are not too insignificant, your mileage too minor, your pics too dull. Your viewpoint is precious, your presence an encouragement to others and your participation itself a thing to celebrate. And besides, while it sometimes seems the 1000-mile group in particular is a mighty river that flows on by constantly and bewilderingly, it's more fun in a boat than on the bank!
Thanks for the inspiration: Caroline's best bits
You’ll be reading all about Caroline Donoghue in the new issue of Country Walking – a #walk1000miler who's had a mountain to climb in the course of her challenge this year. If you don't already know her from the Facebook group, here's a quick primer about a brave and brilliant woman – who like so many others is finding even walking a little helps a lot.
Our ever-roaming features editor is always here, there and everywhere: but where is Jenny this month? Can you work it out from the pic she just sent us? The answer's further down the newsletter!
sound the alarm!
15% off all t-shirts, hoodies and mugs from now til sunday!
Just use the code SBH15 at checkout. (Scroll down the newsletter for the debut of #walk500miles gear!)
Newsletter exclusive: win scrummy merino wool Bridgedale socks and feel like a millionaire
10 pairs of CoolFusion TrailBlazes to give away
If I were a millionaire I know what I’d do: have a brand new pair of socks to wear every walk I went on. But I’d really FEEL like a millionaire if they were Bridgedale’s epically luxe CoolFusion™ TrailBlaze (£16.49 the pair and worth it).
Now you can enjoy the feeling of extreme sock indulgence by winning one of 10 pairs we’re giving away this newsletter time. Like all our competitions we make sure it's only open to YOU guys, so you need to upload a quick snap of your June issue OR Progress Tracker OR badge to qualify for entry.
Designed to make summer walking extra comfortable by keeping feet cool and dry in warm weather, CoolFusion™ Technology maximises the benefits of natural Merino Wool and technical fibres, knitted together to deliver a highly-ventilated sock that offers next-to-skin softness and is light and comfortable. The soft Merino Wool also offers excellent thermal and moisture control properties.
PS – Last newsletter's OS competition winners are:
Kim Russell (wins the new OS 15 Compass and Lifeventure Map Case)
Lorraine Pearson (wins an OS Custom Map)
Caroline Devonport (wins an OS Custom Map)
Lisa Brealey (wins an OS Custom Map)
Well done and we’ll be in touch!
Pink 'n' blue Ruffs are born!
Celebrate your #walk500miles challenge – or your 500 milestone – with a cool new stretchy, versatile neck tube in pink or blue. Just £9.95 including free P&P. Click the pic to visit our Ruff store.
Thanks for the inspiration! Proclaimer of the month: Lisa Bishop (55)
One of the many heartening tales from the challenge we wanted to share with as many of you as possible. Ladies and gents, we loved Lisa’s story!
'I am in love with walking and love my new shape'
On the second of January I got this crazy idea – to have a go at this walking lark and stop being a sofa buddy. All the banter about walking 1000 miles scared the crap out of me and because I hardly did any walking, was seriously unfit and overweight I thought there was absolutely no way I could do that, but I liked the sound of the figure 1000 so I decided to go for 1000km instead. So I put in my trainers and off I went with my rescue doggy Mia.
The first day I walked one kilometre and thought 'What have I done?'. But every morning Mia's little face would be there, tail wagging and looking excited. Who could resist? Gradually I increased the steps each day. I learnt trainers are rubbish for walking in – for me anyway – so invested in some walking boots. Hubby brought me some walking poles.
Everything ached, feet, knees, back – but I loved it. The fresh air, the peace the sense of achievement in not sitting on the sofa. I developed plantar faciitis in my right heel and it plagues me repeatedly. My right knee is not brilliant – but neither are stopping me. Plus I have lost over two stone and gone down three dress sizes and my legs have never looked so trim. I even wear skirts now – a complete no no prior to this challenge. I feel fitter and healthier than ever.
Today I woke up and my blasted pesky foot was killing me. But on checking my mileage I needed just over a mile to reach my Proclaimer moment [500 miles]. So I strapped up the heel and hobbled that mile with the biggest grin on my face. I did it – I am just under 200km from my original challenge and now believe I can do 1000 miles before the year is out. I am in love with walking and love my new shape, hubby has even started joining me now and he's lost a stone too.
I know it's not about the miles really. It doesn't matter how many miles you have done. It's just about putting one foot in front of the other because every one of those steps is one less sat on that dreaded sofa. So whatever your mileage, you are all awesome, and right now I feel really awesome. Bring on the next 500, I'm so ready for it.
At the beginning of this year I was feeling all of my 55 years now I feel half of that. We are putting money in our jar for every kilometre walked for our four chosen charities. We're gonna need a bigger jar!
• Seen a great post like Lisa's? Know someone with an inspiring story? We'd love it if you'd tag us in or drop us a line: tag 'Guy Procter' on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Brand new #walk500miles t-shirt is go!
You can get the design on a mug, hoodie or sweatshirt too
And this weekend only you can get 15% off using the code SBH15! Click here to see them in the shop.
Thanks for the inspiration!
'I knew I had to change my lifestyle'
Having six stents put into his arteries last October, Simon Bullough, 47, knew one thing: 'I had change my lifestyle'. He wasn't sure how, so chose something he knew he could do – walk! Now he's nudging 600 miles.
You look great Simon! How did you get to where you are now?
I started to walk to work (a 4.5 mile round trip) on January 1st and have only had the odd day when I've taken the car since. At first, I found it a slog, not physically, but I had the habit of getting in my car and driving five minutes! Why?? After walking to work for a few weeks, I started walking at weekends, gradually extending my mileage. My initial challenge was fear and I kept asking myself questions like, ‘What if...?’ and ‘How will they find me?’. Initially, I was doing about five miles, just in case, but now I'm clocking up 20+ miles on a regular basis and am going all over the place. I've lived in Dunstable all my life and I've discovered areas I never knew existed just a few miles from my house.
Walking’s not just about keeping fit, it's about appreciating what we have and making sure future generations can see what we've seen. I've always loved the outdoors, but never really been a walker. I AM NOW!
How do the walking and non-walking parts of your life connect?
I work in IT, which is pretty stressful, so my walking to and from work gives me the time to relax and thing about other things, not just work. Longer walks at weekends give me time to enjoy the outdoors, explore and completely detach myself from anything else that is going on in my life.
What do find enjoyable about the #walk1000miles community?
The group is amazing!! There's such a diverse range of people young, old, fit, not so fit, and they've all taken up the challenge, working towards the same goal – to walk 1000 miles in 2017. I find that incredibly encouraging to be a part of. I love reading other people's stories, their experiences, and how to escape from a herd of cows hot on your heels!! Some of the pictures are amazing!! It inspires me to go to some of the places to experience them for myself. Just seeing people outside, enjoying life!
Have you got a message for other people who might be considering starting the challenge?
Whatever your reason, whatever your motivation, keep putting one boot in front of the other. The challenge is not a competition, it doesn't matter if others have already completed it, it's your challenge to be done your way. One step at a time, every mile counts... but most importantly – ENJOY IT!
Top 10 posts of the month
Click the pics to see the posts.
10 Blimey, Louise Martyn's done it!
9 Paul Booth got stopped in Sainsbury's the other day...
8 Every milestone is mega: here's a heroic hundred by Marie Davies!
7 Yay! Jay's back! A popular poster returns after a low. Not your most amazing photo Jay but welcome nonetheless!
6 Snowdon done, £611 cash in the bank for charity!
5 Tracy did an amazing time in the Moon Walk!
4 Dammit, Cath McDonald kilt had to buy a new kilt!