I love walking in the countryside, and I usually try to fit in at least one ramble of a reasonable distance each week. This can be more difficult in summer than winter, partly because I spend more time at work, partly because there are a lot of cows about, and they can be very feisty if they have calves.
This year, I decided to both stretch myself in terms of distance, and to seek safety in numbers, by going on a couple of walks organised by Shepherds Walks.
The first was a 14 mile guided walk up The Cheviot, via Cold Law, with a small group. Luckily we were all at a similar level of fitness, so nobody either rushed ahead or got left behind, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable day.
The second was the Coquet Vale Challenge, a 14 mile course up on the carriageway at Rothbury, then down into the Coquet valley, followed by an ascent of Simonside. We all walked as individuals, but there we always other participants around. It was incredibly well organised, with signs along the route, and volunteers to give directions, and hand out water, fruit, and jelly babies.
It was a great feeling to complete both of these challenges (and to be able to move the next day), especially as both involved a good deal of ascent, and it has certainly given me more confidence in my ability to tackle longer distances.
Of course, there were no cows to be seen on either route!