Hello. A bit more on walking today. Some of you are interested in trying longer walks, perhaps not as long as mine, but a bit further than you normally go. Obviously where you live makes a difference, I cannot give advice for those who live outside the UK as I don't know what your roads and paths are like, or the type of maps you have, so this is mainly for the UK readers.
To start off it might be a good idea to make yourself a measured walk like I have with my three miles, setting off from your front door. If you are on a busy road you might be better to drive to somewhere close by which is quieter and use that as your starting point.
There are a few sites which will calculate distance, I use Bikehike.co.uk If you find yourself on the home page click course creator, but this link should take you to it. In the box on the bottom right corner put your starting point in the Find UK Place/Postcode box. From home I use my postcode, if I'm away I use place name.
You want to be working from the OS map on the right but it is a bit small, so to enlarge it click on Toggle Map Sizes.
If you carry a paper map like I do, and mark the route you have walked with a felt tip pen, you can check the distance with this. Bikehike probably has a lot more features, you can show elevation data if you do a lot of hill walking, but I only use it for checking distances.
I suggest you might want to buy a paper OS map of where you live, and study that. It will give you all the footpaths, tracks, bridleways and roads. It has landmarks like pylons, churches, buildings, bridges, hotels, and tourist information. Start with a one mile route, then increase the distance.
What you could do when you become more confident in finding your way around, is to get a bus from your house, check the distance that it travels, get off, and walk back. We have a bus which goes to a village five miles away, I sometimes get off there and walk back. Take a map and look for stiles in hedges and walls, between houses, tracks along fields, country roads, and use these to find your way home. I did a post about map reading here.
The question always arises about safety of walking alone in unfamiliar places. To be honest I have more chance of being run over by a bus or attacked in a town centre than I do in the countryside. Sensible precautions should always be taken, like always being aware of your immediate surroundings. Looking behind to check no one is following. Look to each side in case there is an oddball in the bushes.
Look at people's faces, if there is anything a bit dodgy looking about them, keep moving, turn a corner, skidaddle. Walk with an air of authority and confidence. If you look scared someone might pick up on it and see you as an easy target. People do speak to me along the way, if I feel a bit uneasy about the person I will say, must keep going, and carry on walking. That very rarely happens, everyone I meet is generally nice and chatty.
I am probably more confident than a lot of women because of the job I have done. Working with men teaches you a lot of things, like sticking up for yourself. I have a right to walk wherever I like, except private land of course. I will not allow my freedom to roam be curbed by fear. In the years I have been walking alone I have not been attacked, accosted, or approached by undesirables.
Now I must get some lunch, I am hungry, then I'm going to town for a few things I need. I hope you are enjoying your weekend. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.