Yes we may be in lockdown, and missing our normal lifestyles, but there are things of interest that you can still do. This walking activity is great for people of all ages, trust me it’s tried and tested! Think you know your A-Z? Well this idea will test your imagination, observation skills, and patience all whilst out enjoying your daily walk.
Across the globe we are all coping with the current Covid-19 crisis and having to think of new ways to occupy ourselves and keep active. In the UK, the government guidelines are that you can do an hour’s exercise outside each day with people from your household. There are similar protocols in other countries around the world. Therefore, I came up with an idea to connect myself with my friends and family remotely whilst out exercising.
With not being able to drive anywhere or do long distance walks, I needed something to keep me motivated and make me get outside. During the start of lockdown, myself and a friend promised each other we would go for a walk and post some photos – we did this to hold each other accountable. It was during this first walk that I came up with the idea that we could go through the alphabet, finding things and taking photos relating to the corresponding letter for that day.
My friend accepted the challenge, and on mentioning it in passing to our parents, they also decided to join in – and before I knew it, other people had seen the posts on my social media and started doing it with their children. It opened my eyes to our local area and made me explore parts of my town and the surrounding countryside that I had never seen before. It reminded me that I didn’t need to travel to find beauty. I found that in taking note and connecting with your surroundings, you appreciate nature much more and notice things that you have never seen before.
My friend did seem to have a fetish for finding litter beginning with the corresponding letter we were on – she even found a shotgun cartridge one day! While on ‘C’ day, as luck would have it, a dog decided to follow me, but not just any dog … a collie dog! Although this distracted me from taking photos for that letter, it was nice to have some company during part of the walk – and after all I still got my ‘C’ photo!
Some letters were much harder than others. Although you would be surprised how you can come up with all sorts of things to find once you start thinking. For example, for the letter J we found Japanese Anemone. It also gave me the excuse to have some fun timing a jump whilst someone else took the photo! At times we had to use some imagination. My parents came up with the great idea of a feather as a ‘quill’.
Z was certainly the hardest letter. However, we had heard about an unusual black and white bee that had been seen in the UK and which we decided to name the ‘zebra bee’. And, more by chance than good planning, Catherine managed to find one by a churchyard. Of course that would only count if she managed to get a photo! Fortunately for her, ten minutes on hands and knees in the grass eventually led to the required photo – Z completed! (I’ll be writing about what the zebra bee actually is shortly – but shh, what’s a name between friends!)
Discussions of what we could try to find the next day became the norm, and it was great to connect with my friends and family and their surrounding areas as well. What took me by surprise was that other people were enjoying seeing my pictures of the surrounding nature. I had people checking in to my posts on social media each day to see how I was getting on. It gave me a chance to connect with other people that I otherwise might not have had.
One day, as I was leaving for my walk, a neighbour at the end of my street was out in their garden. They shouted out to me, ‘which letter are on you today?’ I had never spoken to them before and in my surprise I couldn’t think what the answer was. That typical thing of hearing a simple question in a context where you’re not expecting it! Before I could get my brain back in gear, they had replied with ‘it’s X isn’t it?’ Wow! It amazed me that my neighbour was following my exploits. I realised then that my activity was helping others, who perhaps couldn’t get out, to stay connected with nature.
I never did find that Aardvark or Yeti though – maybe next time! But if you manage to find one, please do let me know! So get out there and enjoy your local surroundings. If you need any help with ideas for each letter, then do get in touch. I would love to hear and see what you have found for a letter, so please do comment below.
For another activity check out https://whatsnottohike.co.uk/walking-the-rainbow/. If you would like to be kept up to date with future posts and ideas then please subscribe for updates.