28 August 2020 by Dr Anjana Khatwa
My years as a single mother have taught me that the simple things in life such as walking for pleasure must be savoured and treasured. That when the opportunity comes up for such freedoms, one must take it and embrace it.
My partner and I were lucky enough to have all three of our children cared for by others for a few days and so we escaped to the Cotswolds to reconnect with ourselves and with nature. As a Ramblers Ambassador for Summer 2020, I have encouraged my whole family to get out and walk as much as possible especially after months of being in Lockdown. Although I love them dearly, I was excited to just walk with my partner and connect again without constant interruptions of “Mummy!” and incessant whinging about when the next snack might materialise.
Using the Ramblers app, we easily found a beautiful and challenging route that took us through three different Cotswold villages. We packed our lunch and off we went with excitement to explore new places…..until the layby we were meant to park in to start the walk was closed in all directions. Our hopes dashed and spirits dampened, we found a safe place to stop our car and used the Ramblers app again to see what other routes we could explore. The app tracked our location and within a few minutes, a selection of routes quickly came up for us to choose from. We chose the Coln Valley Walk 2, a 6.7 mile circular route that started in the beautiful village of Shipton.
The route was marked at different points with Waymarkers and there were detailed descriptions of features to look out for to ensure we were going in the right direction. The app itself also uses GPS to track your way along the route so when you find yourself going slightly off course (as we did many times!), it is reasonably easy to get back on track.
With this confidence, it is easy to then connect again as two people and enjoy the surroundings. We walked along an abandoned railway line and saw crayfish jostling in a meandering river. We talked about our family, our hopes for the future (we had just got engaged!) and enjoyed a sandwich on a footbridge dangling our legs over the edge. We had an opportunity to simply enjoy the silence of being with each other. Of having the luxury of listening to the leaves rustling in the wind or feeling the rain on our faces without having to worry about our children moaning about getting wet. The only anxiety came from not packing a high capacity powerbank to ensure that our phones were charged enough to track our progress on the app.
The Ramblers app allowed us to go off the beaten track; to explore a walk that would give us some space and time to reconnect. To enjoy the silence of nature, of our own company and for a short time at least, valued time away from the little people who we so dearly love.
Joining the Ramblers gives you access to Ramblers Routes, a growing collection of nearly 4,000 routes, developed by walkers for walkers of all levels of experience, across Great Britain The Ramblers, Great Britain’s largest walking community, is waiting to welcome you for just £3.05 a month. Find out more: www.ramblers.org.uk/get-involved/join-the-ramblers