On Point to Point Walking and the Road Less Travelled



I recently embarked on a point to point walk following the Cleveland Way, a 177km (110 mile) long distance path. It runs between Helmsley, on the southern edge of the North York Moors National Park, to Filey on the east coast. It begins with classic moorland scenery, through forests and along escarpments and then follows a dramatic coastline running along the top of some of the highest sea cliffs in the country.

Point to point walking is a journey and walking daily on a predetermined route and towards an overall planned destination, I find both comforting and exciting. The health benefits of walking are well known but what is it about point to point walking that I find so appealing and enjoyable?

I relish the anticipation of the next day and a new destination. Each section of the walk reveals something new to observe and experience. Some would argue point to point walking is repetitive — why do the same thing day after day? But for me, no day is the same — there is always something new to see, smell, hear, touch, taste and feel. The balance of routine and experiencing the unexpected brings a fusion of security and adventure; I know what it feels like to walk, it is routine, but blended with a scary moment when the path turns into a scramble or goes through a field of bullocks, or l lose my way or see a view which takes my breath away, plus the bonus of a different place to rest my head each night — each day is a thrill.

On this particular point to point walk however, things went ‘wrong’. What do I mean by wrong? Wrong means I couldn’t continue — I fell ill.

When things happen to take you off-course, it’s important to remember self- awareness, to tap into the inner psyche and ask ‘whats going on’. This is never easy when your health is impaired by pain, discomfort, feelings of being unwell.

Adapting, reassessing, asking myself what do I need, what is best for me, reconnecting with my breath and going inside to discover the next the course of action, the new path — all of this helped to determine that to go home was what I needed to do.

Completing the Cleveland Way was not to be — I needed to follow a different path to that planned.

Point to point walking, following a pre-determined route is one thing, but what about when things ‘go wrong’, what then?

I am reminded of the book The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck. I was given this book many years ago by my sister-friend — is it a spiritual classic, combining scientific and religious views to help personal growth by confronting and solving problems through discipline, love and grace. It is a book which encouraged me to look within and begin my own point to point inner journey of discovery. I have never looked back and unlike the Cleveland Way walk, my inner point to point journey will never end.

Using his experience from counselling many clients throughout his career, M. Scott Peck lays out a recipe for a fulfilled life that’s based on self-discipline, love, spirituality, and a mysterious force he calls grace. Mastering these is essential to maintain personal growth, he suggests, which in turn is key to a happy existence.

Here are 3 lessons from the first three categories he discusses:

  1. Stay open to change your perspective of reality at any moment.
  2. The action of loving is much more important than the feeling, which is fleeting.
  3. We’re all religious he suggests, because religion is nothing more than a distinct perception of the world.


What has all of this to do with writing and writing from emotional depth?

Learning to write creatively, learning to write from my heart, following the road less travelled and being myself and speaking my truth is enabling me to write from my centre, to find my own unique voice and style in prose.

I relish a plan and a pre-determined path, but I know when things go wrong (and they will), it is the ability to connect with my inner self and to not lose myself or my sense of my destiny that is the most important thing … more important than completing a point to point, pre-planned route.


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On Yoga



Yoga for me is a spiritual journey, but more of that in a future post.

Yoga is far more than exercise. It gives me an immense feeling of wellbeing and this is why I have a daily yoga practice, attend two classes a week and a monthly workshop. What is it about yoga that has gripped me and held my attention ever since the first class I attended in 2009? To help illuminate the reasons why I am so dedicated, here is a little bit of history.

I have consistently, since childhood practised sport; I played all the sports available to me at school and was in the school netball and badminton teams. As a young adult I played many other sports; hockey, volleyball, squash, tennis and table tennis. In my thirties I swam regularly, cycled (on and off road), did aerobics, circuit training and dabbled in running. I even took up scuba diving, clocking up over 40 dives in my log book. Then in my late thirties, I joined a running club.

I became obsessed with running. I improved, I entered races and became competitive. I discovered I was very good at endurance running. The longer the distance, the higher the endorphins took me. The feelings were euphoric. I was hooked and the running community became a significant part of my life, but I lost any sense of balance. Running was the only sport I was serious about and committed to. I still cycled occasionally and walked but running was my focus. I became obsessed about beating my times and targeted completing ten marathons. I fell short by one.

All of this running was to be to my detriment.

I have a vivid memory of my mother wagging her finger at me saying I would regret all the running in later life. She was right. In 2009 I began to have severe pain around my right hip, buttock and groin. Investigations revealed I had arthritis in the hip joint. My consultant said ‘if you don’t stop running, you will need a hip replacement within 3-5 years’.

Ten years later, have I needed to have a hip replacement? No. Have I stopped running? I still jog, does that count?! Have I stopped being obsessive about running? Yes. Am I still a member of a running club? No. Have I found a balance in the physical activities I take part in? Yes. What was the one thing that has benefitted me? Yoga. Do I believe practising yoga has kept my arthritis in check, prevented it from worsening and improved the overall mobility, strength and flexibility of my hip and my whole body? Yes. Do I believe if I had continued running and not discovered yoga I would have needed surgery or if not surgery, been in a lot of pain and discomfort? Yes.

So, what is it about yoga? Why am I a yogi?

Quite simply I believe I practise yoga for the benefit and health of my whole being — physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The World Health Organisation defines a healthy body as “complete physical and mental well-being.” Notice, there is no mention of fitness. All my life I have taken part in sport to keep fit, but by keeping fit I neglected the other parts of me and have suffered as a consequence. Practising yoga, I can look after and take care of all parts of me.

This is how:

Physical – Yoga postures strengthen and stretch my muscles, eases my joints and keeps them flexible. Yoga flow or vinyasa develops my stamina. The three S’s — suppleness, strength and stamina.

Mental – Yoga requires concentration, to move in and out of postures, synchronising and using the breath. I am learning how to still the mind with breath and meditation techniques.

Emotional – Emotions arise from thoughts. Yoga teaches me to begin to observe and control my thoughts thereby keeping in check my emotions.


How does this relate to my writing?

Like yoga, my writing has become part of who I am and what I enjoy doing. Like yoga, my writing is a daily practice and benefits aspects of my being. Both help me live a fulfilling life.


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