I’m always grateful that my son is a good walker. Yes, he might moan a bit from time to time, but generally he will walk miles without complaint. But walking is something we normally do away from home, we tend not to explore our local area on foot. Recently there’s been a new addition to the streets in the local area which has caused a lot of rumpus. Some people saying it’s the best thing ever, some complaining about the money being spent on it. So I decided it was time we made an informed decision for ourselves, so Monkey and I have been walking the blue line.
So what is walking the blue line all about? Well in our local area, and I’m presuming others, NHS funded 5K health walks are springing up. The idea is to give people a 5K circular route to follow which is suitable for young and old to follow. Whether you’re running, walking or cycling, and it’s all marked out with a blue line.
We’ve had three routes spring up so far in our area and over the last couple of days my 7 year old son and I have walked two of them. You can join the routes at any point to suit you, and we noticed a blue line that had appeared during the week, so we just headed to that path and began out 5K from there. Knowing we’d be doing a loop meant it really didn’t matter that we weren’t starting at the official start line.
I had no idea where walking the blue line would take us, on either of the two routes we’ve covered. That was half the fun, the not knowing what was around the corner. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have no sense of direction at all, so as long as we kept to the blue line we’d get home again.
On the first walk, we started off in fairly familiar territory, with parks, and amenities that we knew but soon the blue line was heading off along the main road, where would it take us next? We might have stopped for an ice cream along the way, surely all intrepid adventurers need a treat.
We headed into another housing estate, one that I’m not so familiar with. We walked down new alleyways and passed play grounds that we’ve never seen or used before.
We stopped to pick and eat blackberries and I realised that this was something we’d never done together before. The downside of having a greengrocer in the family who can magic fruit into our fridge at a moments notice. Now we know where we can find some locally, I think Monkey and I may well go back with a container next time. So much more fun.
We walked along a cycle path that I have driven pass literally hundreds of times and always wondered where it went to. We completed our first 5K and both agreed that we should try another one the next day. I even got given a flower by my walking companion at the end of our first walk.
With the second route, I only had a very rough idea of where it might go past, so we really were walking the blue line totally blind, around an estate that I barely know really. But it’s a newer estate, meaning that there’s a much better natural environment provision and it really was the most wonderful walk.
I knew of one pond, that we’ve visited a few times over the years so we took some duck friendly food with us.
But we discovered a couple of other ponds and some lovely wooded walks, standing stone circles and countless play areas.
It’s not an area I ever would have walked round confidently, and having a set route where I knew I couldn’t get us lost, was a definite bonus.
We’ve seen so many butterflies, dragonflies and birds over the two walks. We’ve met other blue liners out having fun, and we came home really appreciating the area we live in so much more. We’ve got another blue line to walk and we might be trying that one out today!
My son and I have both been left wondering why people have been negative about these walks and the blue lines that have sprung up. We are both good walkers, but it’s given us the confidence to walk in different places, we’ve enjoyed seeing the nature and learning more about our local area. I can certainly see the health benefits of encouraging people to get out and walk, jog, run or cycle. The routes are all buggy and pushchair friendly too. We give walking the blue line a big thumbs up, wouldn’t you?
Have you got any walking routes around your local area?