“Begin at the beginning,”

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” ― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

So it starts, as all good stories do, while relaxing in an old, battered yet comfortable wingback. CollieDog nestled into the woolly socks at my feet and a steaming mug of Yorkshire Tea in hand. Torrential rain bounced from the window and the fells beyond where cloaked in a cloying yet rising mist. All that was missing was the sound of a wood-burning stove roaring in the cottage.

It is of course July in the Lake District, the seasonal monsoons proving brief respite from what has been uncannily good weather. Heavy and humid rainstorms occurring every week to attempt to stamp a natural order unto the 18degree+ dry spell that refuses to leave. Summer, somehow, arrived in March and has only grown in strength. My veg garden is loving it, my ginger genes are not. Pasty skin has recruited a new legion of freckles, and my beard has been relegated to beer-catching status from its normally key position as insulation.

It was there, slouched in my armchair, absently eating biscuits, that realisation dawned – that despite this fair weather, and my blessed location in the best walking land in England, I have only braved the burning UV to tend to the garden and walk the dog… Spending most time lost in the realms of a trusty novel, a ScienceDirect journal, or of course my virtual second home – Azeroth.

Cutting to the point, I am more unfit than I like; but not drastically so, I haven’t yet merged with my armchair.

I already enjoy hiking, gardening and would struggle to find someone with a more wholesome, local and healthy diet*; which has went a long way (4 and a half stone lost since 2011) to a more healthy me. Hell I am even an official Walk4Life instructor/guide courtesy of my time as a volunteer ranger at National Trust Gibside. But shedding some weight, improving cardiovascular health and adding some strength and endurance to my flabby baseline (or should that be waistline), is something most first-worlders could do with.

So cue the time to implement some change. Inspired by permaculture thinking, and in a bid to integrate it in my lifestyle, I went with a small and steady change. Recognising that the problem(s) are the solution: i.e. I need to get out and explore more of Lakeland again, and I have the desire to lead a more healthy and active lifestyle.

I have chosen to walk one fell a week, trail-start to summit, to explore, learn some local/natural history while hopefully sharing it here. What follows on a weekly occurrence will hopefully be educational, inspirational and entertaining.

It’s going to be an interesting journey – just always know where your towel is.