I was scrolling through Instagram the other day when I came across this famous saying. I had seen it many times in the past, but on this occasion it triggered a more poignant meaning in my mind.
As the government starts to relax the lockdown restrictions across England, and shortly in Scotland and Wales, I am sure there are many, who like me have found themselves in a physical and mental dilemma.
I have manged to get out for a good walk at least once a week. I have always kept it local, never taken the car and have always enjoyed it. However, there was always the yearning to get back to where I really wanted to be. I longed to get back on the South Downs Way and the other long-distance footpaths near where I live.
I was, like many others, looking forward to the relaxation in restrictions that would allow us to venture further afield to those places we longed for. The chance for greater freedom to explore new paths and areas. Then this happened!
All of a sudden everybody decided to go to the popular places creating unhealthy crowds and risking that dreaded second spike! Now, I cannot blame everyone who flocked to the beaches and popular National Park locations, they were as frustrated as me. However, this behaviour has had an adverse effect on me and, I am sure many others.
I have been shielding myself and my wife for the past 10 weeks and only going out in the early hours of the morning to avoid human contact. My plans to go further afield have now been placed on hold because of my fears over Covid-19. My fears are driven by my safety concerns and, to be honest, the stupidity of others.
I know that there will always be risks, life will never be the same again. The problem, I think is that not everyone understands that. As a result, I, and many others, will have to find a way around our fears and anxieties.
For the foreseeable future, it will be best to:
- Avoid the very popular areas and most certainly the beaches, not that I am a beach person!
- Avoid the busy times of day by going outside early in the morning or later in the evening (take advantage of the longer evenings).
- Start to look for the less trodden paths.
- Always carry a face mask should you find yourself in an unavoidable crowd, especially on narrow paths where the 2m rule is difficult to follow.
- Always carry hand sanitiser in your rucksack/day bag for the times you must touch a stile, gate or similar obstacle.
As Sir Edmund Hilary said, “it is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves” and this is as true today as it was in 1952 when he conquered Everest. We must conquer our fears and learn new ways to stay safe. The world will always be full of idiots, the pandemic has not changed that!
However, if you want some inspiration on where to go to follow that less trodden path? Then why not look at the – OS GetOutside Blog – ‘Make time for the path less trodden‘. This is full of great places to go to avoid the crowds.
Or check out the OS GetOutside Portal ‘Get Outside Safely‘ a great resource supported by many of the leading outdoor organisations.
Hopefully, together we can make the world safer for us all to go out in. Get outside and enjoy yourself but stay safe and be cautious of what is happening around you.