Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places. Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger. Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

How to get the most out of your lockdown walks


How to get the most of your lockdown walks, mandy charlton, newcastle photographer, blogger, writer


It's Wednesday (I think), it's dull, damp and dark and I'm here to tell you how to get the most out of your lockdown walks.  "Now hang on Mandy, we don't want to go for a walk, we have no energy"  I hear you say and really, I get it, I am not even contemplating getting out of my pyjamas today but most days when the light is a little brighter (and even some days when it's not) I try to walk around 5 miles a day for my daily exercise.  Of course, there was also that time when I walked to the Pedestrian Tyne Tunnel and did 12 miles but that was extreme even for me.

Newcastle town wall, how to get the most out of your lockdown walks, mandy charlton, photographer


Look up Some History

I'm incredibly interested in local history (some would say obsessed) when I go somewhere I want to know all about the local views, interesting buildings I should see and I'll often google things like "prettiest streets in..."  Now, I think it's probably more of a challenge in your local area as you've probably walked around it hundreds of times by now, especially during lockdown 1 when the weather was better but you might just come across something you've never seen before.  Over these last few weeks I have, myself, been walking all around Newcastle city centre and have found all kinds of things I've never seen despite living in Heaton for the last 24 years of my life.

Newcastle is a city first established in medieval times and there are parts which still exist from then such as the town walls, if you want to read more about their fascinating history and then visit the remaining parts, Co-Curate is a wonderful site for the local history of the northeast of England.

Newcastle quayside in the sunshine, how to get the most out of your lockdown walks, mandy charlton, newcastle photographer



Find Interesting Landmarks

Google maps are your friend here,  They're filled with millions of photos, I'm a level 7 google guide and have had my photographic contributions viewed over 7.5 million times, google guides take photographs of the places they've been so you can access them from the maps and find out what places are like before you go there, also consider using the street view if you want to know what the local area is like.  I'll give you my favourite example which is the Cramlington Spoon, it's actually a sculpture called "Eat for England" and who wouldn't want to take a walk to a giant spoon in the middle of a field?  Sadly I can't walk to it from my house (well I could but it would take some time) but if you're in Cramlington, it's definitely somewhere different to take the kids for a walk, I'm sure if your children are about 5 or 6, the promise of a giant spoon will make them run immediately to put their trainers (or probably wellies) on.  There are photos of it on Google Maps just to tantalise them.

Use Published Walking Routes

The internet is a wonderful place and you can bet if you're thinking about taking a walk in your local area you'll be able to find already published walking routes, I like the Komoot site which has 10 great walks around Newcastle upon Tyne but other sites and Facebook groups are available.

View from st michael's mount, newcastle, how to get the most out of your lockdown walks, mandy charlton



Think like a Tourist

When we see our beautiful towns and cities through the eyes of a tourist we see things we never imagined we'd see, we go for walks in the most unlikely of places because we've researched in advance rather than just walking out of our house down our own trusted routes.  For example, yesterday I went in search of one of the best views of Newcastle and I found it at St Michael's Mount deep within the Byker Wall but never would I have ever decided to take a walk in the Byker Wall which can, at times (particularly after dark) be a very salubrious and downright scary kind of place.  If I didn't live in Heaton I probably wouldn't know about it's reputation and strided with joyful abandon but the walk was 100% worth it for the view.

I guess it's all a giant example of life is what you make it and how we can find beauty and optimism in the most unlikely of places/times.  I'm struggling with my mental health on a daily basis during this most recent lockdown, I feel like the first one was sunnier and a little bit easier to bear but this one seems to be without promise of an end. Walking is one of the few free things left which keeps me sane and taking my camera along adds an extra joy.

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