An adventure in walking throughout 2020
Hello. I’m Richard, CEO and founder of always possible; a dad; an OK vegetarian cook; a rubbish gardener; and a man who has neglected the transformative pleasure of walking. These Possibility Walks blog posts will document a year of changing that – ambling, rambling, strolling and endurance hiking.
Walks will be varied and of all shapes and sizes. On the way, I’ll be chatting to guests and friends about the things we find and what we think about business, education, culture and place-making in the 21st century. I’m looking to improve my health and to learn new things, laugh a lot and meet new people.
I’d love for you to join me.
Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.
Teddies on the noose and a 60 foot mud slide.
Being an obese man with wide feet makes buying walking shoes more of a challenge. And figure skating. The ice rink might have to wait, but 2020 is the start of some serious walking for me so I have invested in some Merrell MOAB 2 GTX hiking shoes, courtesy of the January sales. With each tightening of the laces, I pray to the gods of nylon arch shanks that these ‘brown pecan’ wonders smother my nervous feet with love for the foreseeable.
Some of the always possible team + friends will be walking 100km in under 30 hours for charity, from Eastbourne to Arundel, in August. It will be rough terrain, cliff-tops, city streets, woodland, mud paths and along the beach – with no sleep and a plague of blisters. More info on this will be trickled out in the next few weeks.
// Lancing, West Sussex.
Friday, January 3rd 2020.
The first walks of this decade are small, but perfectly formed, each with a cohort of young children attached. Lancing (soon to be renamed Lancing-on-Sea) claims to be the UK’s biggest village, because of the inclusion of the sprawling Sompting and Lancing College estates that run miles north of the more built-up centre.
The special guests on this jaunt for Sarah and I and our two children, are my brother-in-law (a trainee Baptist minister), two of his children and his cavapoo puppy. This is familiar terrain to them and the most curious landmark is the ‘Retirement Home for Bears’, an eccentric cottage and stables that boasts a garden full of toys, figurines, stuffed teddies and quirky signs. When you get closer, you see that the bigger ones are hanging on purpose-built swings and lines – many seemingly by their neck. In the crisp winter air and rustling wind, this is an isolated and creepy place. No doubt built with playful humour and good will – but the pendulous Winnie The Pooh, battered by the weather as it sways and creaks on on its noose, is a terrifying thing.
Among other things, we chat about the role of community churches in the 21st century, of faith-based charities and funding decisions, inclusivity and who churches are for. I learn more about some of the different ideas that determine the governance within a community congregation, and that even small groups really are a, ahem, broad church.
The walk takes us along the base of Lancing College hill, with the imposing school chapel and campus just above us. And then up a steep climb elevation of 160 feet to the top of Lancing Ring, a chalkland nature reserve where you might find adders in the Summer and an abundance of blackberries in Autumn. Not much here today.
// Arundel, West Sussex.
Saturday, January 4th 2020.
The next day, we’re joined by two friends who both work in different parts of the health and care sectors. Loaded up with three 5-year olds and a 10-year old, we start by feeding the large gang of ducks, coots, swans and terns at Swanbourne Lake, just north of Arundel town centre. We walk around half of the lake before powering up the steep hillside track to Hiorne Tower. This is a supposedly haunted 18th century folly, under the shadow of Arundel Castle. A strange piece of architectural art, now surrounded by the many sheep who also stopped for lunch.
We had a few options for getting back to the lake, and we decided to take the daftest – and most exhilarating – route. Rather than follow the path to the main road and around the castle, we opted to navigate down a 60 foot sheer bank of mud, roots and vines. This looked a lot more straightforward than it turned out to be. The smallest children went from panic to SAS-style resilience in a few small moves and only really the adults gave up dignity whilst slipping and sliding down. My shoes proved their worth. They are up for an adventure.
The aim is to walk, talk and explore in different parts of the UK throughout 2020. There will be short jaunts and long treks.
If you’d like to join a Possibility Walk in 2020, get in touch at email@example.com