The inclusion of Bus Stop Walks is merely to illustrate how a combination of skills and hobbies, plus a passionate interest in one’s community, can be of mutual benefit to all. The local Primary Care Trust authority were anxious to help rehabilitate those people of mature years who were eager to improve their health, after a working life that had precluded outdoor activities, or those re-entering the community after hospitalisation of one kind or another.
The PCT invited suggestions from the general public on ideas to achieve this. My Bus Stop Walks were accepted by the authority; the idea being that of all outdoor exercises, walking was by far the most beneficial and least damaging, requiring the least equipment – stout footwear, foul weather clothing and a haversack (small!). With the advent of the free bus pass in our area, I felt it appealed to that age group most fitting the above category.
A sum of money was allocated, I provided the walks, wrote them up and drew the maps. Unusually for this type of publication they were something of a bestseller, being distributed to libraries, doctors’ surgeries, dentists’ ditto, etc. The fact that they were so colourful and free was also a contributory factor. The feedback was very gratifying, even from seasoned walkers, and I am still being asked for copies which, unfortunately, I can no longer supply. I smugly envisage most of the copies, bent and well-worn, nestling at the bottoms of countless haversacks! The reality is probably more mundane – any paper product does not survive long in outdoor activities.
But the objective was achieved; people took them, used them and almost certainly benefited. So my walking hobby plus a certain skill with words in presenting them equalled an increase in at least some people’s general health and well-being. What more could one ask? Writing does not mean a world of isolation, nor should it; the very nature of its constraints should force one outdoors at some point in the day or week… hopefully the former!
Please click below to download each bus stop walk: