Despite what the Government has said about travel for exercise, I am of the firm belief that we should still exercise locally for the time being. The only drawback with this, is that I am getting fed-up with doing the same old routes.
I am fortunate to live in a small village in the South Downs National Park, but there are only a limited number of paths and routes that I can walk. I am sure I could walk most of my routes blindfolded now! So how can we make our daily exercise more interesting.
Well, in my case, I added an additional interest/pursuit to my daily/weekly walks. I have resurrected my old action camera, or Go-Pro, and started making short videos of my walks.
Because I tend to walk is along old railways lines, I started to research the history of the lines and where the sidings and stations were. I would then go out with the camera and try to find the old tracks. Before I knew it I was reinvigorated and did not mind walking over the same old ground time and again.
Now, I am not suggesting you rush online and order yourself a Go-Pro, but why not look for and research your local history and try to rediscover it.
One of the best resources I have found, as a result of Lockdown, has been the National Library of Scotland’s Side-by-Side Georeferenced Maps. This allows you have two maps on the screen at the same time with two pointers so whatever you identify on one map the other pointer highlights the same place on a different map.
I tend to use it with a hybrid Satellite map on the right screen and then select historic maps on the left-hand side. It is then possible to see what was there and where that would have been on a current day map.
Looking at the two images below – on the left hand one from 1937-61, I can clearly see where some old sidings were located. Now looking at the aerial image on the right, it is possible to see the faint traces of these sidings still visible. All that is left to do is to go for a walk and see if there is any trace to be found at ground level.
This may not serve any purpose other than to refocus the mind onto something else. But it will make the most repetitive walk far more interesting and broaden your local history knowledge. If you live in the inner city, why not trace the location of old buildings or streets that no longer exist. Walk around your town and try to visualise what it would have looked like 100 years ago or more.
Lockdown and local walks are still a time to have fun with maps. Remember stay Local and Stay Safe.
All map images are © National Library of Scotland