Forum Header

This Weeks Walks

Forum

covid-19

68 comments:

Andrew said...

Most walk posters have decided not to post walks for now. The others agreed to fall in line.

In theory a local walk (i.e. walk to it) or car-only (drive to it) walk in a quiet place (so not the Thames Path) on which people can be 2m apart should be safe.

However, if we follow Italy, Spain and France, the voluntary quarantine will soon become very mandatory.

Keeping in touch. I could install a forum, or you could use our existing Facebook Group (not page).

Good luck, Andrew

Sandy said...

Hi Andrew, thanks for posting this; as you can tell from my previous comment I would be in favour of a keeping in touch forum. I'm not on FB.
I'm a bit disheartened that you don't think the Thames path will be safe though!

Andrew said...

@Sandy Just depends on how busy it is, and if there any pinch points where people bunch up. Morden Hall's boardwalk was too busy today.

Anonymous said...

https://www.wta.org/go-outside/social-distancing-hiking-in-the-time-of-coronavirus

Some interesting views from the U.S.A.

Anonymous said...


Further research among our American cousins unearthed this. An extreme position, perhaps, but a group rather SWC-like in concept. Nothing like the Ramblers.

https://www.ithacajournal.com/story/news/local/2020/03/19/coronavirus-pandemic-spreads-ithaca-hiking-group-takes-trails/5066989002/

Sandy said...

I would just like to apologise to Andrew and agree that most of the outdoor areas around Kingston became hotspots at the weekend that were far too busy. I didn't realise that with nothing else to do, everyone would flock to the river and parks.
I tried to keep to the social distancing measures and am very sorry if my being in Bushy Park yesterday has contributed to a harsher shutdown. Noting the STAY AT HOME notice on the home page can I say I have never concealed my identity on SWC comments and I want to make it clear that noting I have posted had any intention of encouraging people to ignore offical advice.

Sandy said...

Trust me to make a typo in the key sentence. For the avoidance of misunderstanding, that should have been *nothing I have posted*

Andrew said...

@Sandy. You and me both. Had a lovely sunny day on the Solent coast near Gosport. Problem is, everyone else had the same idea. Snowdonia & the Brecon Beacons were very busy, as were London parks. Like Italy and Spain, we will soon pay a horrendous price when the hospitals are overrun by covid pneumonia

Anonymous said...

Thank you to Anonymous for the Ithaca link.
Respect to Hesse.

Anonymous said...

The Ithaca link was not intended to encourage reckless behaviour. The Ithaca crew seem to be fundamentalists.

Walker said...

Enjoying nature under the coronavirus lockdown. I recall someone quite a while ago posted a comment somewhere asking for tips. Sorry it took me so long to getting round to writing them;

https://nature-and-weather.walkingclub.org.uk/search/label/Nature-Blog

BrightSpark said...

Hello Walker, thanks for the link to the nature and weather blog, it's really informative. I particularly like the monthly links/tabs to what flowers, butterflies, insects, trees and birds one can expect to see at that time of year. I will look out for Coltsfoot next year as for some reason the image of that flower seems to have stuck in my head. Hope all is well, Brightspark.

Andrew said...

Please take extreme car at the moment. If you catch covid now, and you're in the unlucky 10% to get pneumonia, you'll have it near the peak when the hospitals are overwhelmed, and they may have to choose who gets a ventilator...

That being said, during this (by Chinese standards) lockdown-lite, you can take a once a day walk in a quiet area by foot. Avoid narrow paths like riverbanks where you can't avoid people.

You could in theory drive to some countryside if you choose somewhere 1) with few people (not box hill), 2) where you can move off the path to avoid another walker (not the thames path), and 3) avoid everyone, including shops, petrol stations, etc., so its not spread from your area to country areas.

Another problem is that while some people are taking this seriously, and go out of their way to walk in a wide gap around you, other's are not.

This is not the time to take risks, for you, or for anyone you later come in to contact with.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that we should be facilitating walks in the country.
Currently, travel is for essential purposes only and for exercise is once a day, locally.

See this:
https://twitter.com/helenpidd/status/1243169437248819200

Anonymous said...

Once a day, locally, could - depending on where you live - be a long walk in the Chess Valley, Epping Forest, Hampstead Heath, or whereever. On your own or with a consenting adult, taking care to swerve 2 metres when someone approaches you.

Walker said...

Thank you, BrightSpark, for your kind comments. I am bearing up well in these troubled times and hope you are too. I am lucky enough to have the Totteridge greenbelt on my doorstep, and while it is not the countryside of my heart, it provides a much bigger area to roam in than many SWC walkers are enjoying at present, I’ll bet, and it is very quiet and peaceful - more so than usual given the lack of traffic and aircraft. I have been practising what I preach and have found all sorts of nature wonders in it that I did not know existed: a huge area of wild garlic in a riverside park, for example, and a lapwing - a lapwing!! - doing its display flight over a field: all this within easy walking distance of my house. This week’s lovely weather has also been a tonic. I hope you are also able to access some green spaces. Incidentally while out today I came across a family doing my Totteridge Circular walk - they had the printed instructions. So SWC walks are getting used even now.

Regarding coltsfoot, it is rather elusive. It can turn up in the most unexpected places: I saw a large colony a year ago on some land near me that had been turned over by building works. But the most reliable place I know to see it is on the left side of the Downs Link, just south of its bridge over the Tillingbourne, below St Martha’s Hill, near Chilworth. There is always quite a lot of it there in March.

Next year....

Andrew said...

For my daily walk i went to the new path thru beddington farmlands near mitcham common. only to find out it was just the old path rebranded. true, there are 3 new hides overlooking lakes on the still-being-landscaped former tip nature reserve. the path was unusually busy. usually its never used. a bit too narrow for social distancing. especially when some people just don't get it and walk down the middle of the path when they pass you.

Chris L said...

Even driving a short distance to a bit of deserted countryside now counts as inessential travel, but before the latest restrictions, Lindsey and I did the Knockholt Circular last week. Seemed an ideal walk for social distancing. We saw only a handful of other walkers all day and it was easy keep our distance. Beautiful walk, but the start and finish are through a former golf course where a developer is planning to build an 850 home 'village' and has fenced off the public footpath on both sides, channelling walkers along a corridor stretching the entire length of his land. Will be even less pleasant when the building work begins, assuming he eventually gets planning permission.

Anonymous said...

How is one exercising?

Andrew said...

If there is one of our shorter or longer walks near you (so long as it isn't a honey pot destination like the Thames Path or 7 Sisters), why not do it, check the directions, take and upload a few photos.

Even if you live within the M25, there are lots of parks and open space we don't have walks for. Why not devise one, write an introduction with some directions and send it to us?

Anonymous said...

Hyde Park, Victoria Park, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest. Driving further afield (one hour) and doing a circular. Cycling.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Is there a live debate on when we get 'back in the water', with suitable precautions:sitting apart on trains, walking 2m apart, sandwiching 2m apart, absolutely everyone having the instructions/gadgets etc? Love the SWC and its independence. Thank you.

Andrew said...

Yes, there has been some discussion. The main problem is public transport to the walk. Train travel is for essential purposes only. So, a travel by car walk to a "non-honeypot" destination, where everyone walks 2m apart for the entire walk and takes a picnic lunch ... Smaller more local (i.e. walk/cycle/drive to it) walks in neighbourhood open spaces / parks might be feasible.

Anonymous said...

50% of Londoners don't have a car though. Probably a higher percentage in the SWC. The trains will be deserted at the weekend. Cycling to a walk? Walking to a walk? Perhaps we should rent a large coach...

Sean said...

Given the likely difficulties with public transport to a walk, what type of walks do people think the SWC should be posting when government guidance allows?

* Circular walks only, to make it easier for people with their own transport?

* Ones close to London with shortish journeys, or are people keen to go further afield (perhaps to remote spots outside the Network Railcard area)?

* While pubs and tea places remain closed, start times won't be constrained by the need to get to them at sensible times. Would people like earlier or later starts than usual?

Let's have some positive ideas so that we can get things going again in the right way.

branchline said...

Would it be better to post more walks on Saturdays eg 4,5 or 6 walks instead of 3? This may help to have smaller groups of people on each walk – although I know that some walks are more popular than others. And if possible, have the walks really spread out and starting from different stations? I think circular walks to start with would be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I don't think more walks per day are necessary. We are all aware of the need to stay 2m apart, and I'm sure we'll do that.
Catching the bug in the great outdoors is unlikely, many scientists say, but the 2m rule will reassure the nervous, and chat will still be perfectly possible. More walks per day increases the chances of a blind date with an instructionless hanger-on. Thank you.

Thomas G said...

Covid and the outdoors --- a topical q&a on the BMC website: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/covid-and-the-outdoors

Anonymous said...

Interesting views given especial weight by the writer's expertise in chest medicine and hiking. I see he also refers to mental health.

Anonymous said...

Circular walks is a sound idea, Sean, with out interchanges once overground.

Sandy said...

Thanks for inviting views Sean. I agree that circular walks are sensible. As a non-driver I also wonder if walks from the London outskirts might reduce or eliminate transport for some. E.g. I've done the Oxshott-Ashtead and Esher-West End walks from my house. On the other hand, I'd understand if people may feel they've exhausted their local walks in the last few weeks.

Dirk said...

We took the train to Eynsford today (We acted on instinct; responsibly, legally and with integrity ... whateva ...): The trains were almost empty. This might not stay that way, though. On the other hand the area between Eynsford and Shoreham was heaving with people, even on the hills. I have never seen so many families, couples and groups of friends on a walk. Maybe this was due the the sunny bank holiday.
It might be safer (i.e. less likely to infect other people or get infected) if we take the train from our nearest station and travel away from London rather than crossing London to get to the other side. Hence, I think we should initially cater for people living in various corners of London by posting circular walks in the North, South, East and West of London at the same time. We should take the obvious precautions: Wearing masks, not touching any surfaces on the train, staying away from other people, not clustering at exists and washing hands. In addition, I think we should stay close to London to limit the time spent on trains. This would also allow some of those without a car to cycle to the start of the walk. Some walks close to London are accessible by bicycle within 1h (For example, I could easily cycle to Petts Wood, Hayes and maybe even Riddlesdown) and I'm sure there are equally bicycle-accessible walks in the other corners of London.
On the walk we should maintain the recommended distance of 2m. I'm not sure how well this will work, but we could try. Large groups should split into smaller ones, but I suppose this will happen naturally with SWC walkers.
With pubs closed (although some serve take-aways through the windows) it's picnic season.

Bill S said...

The underground and Chiltern Line trains passing through Chorleywood have been virtually empty for the past few weeks, though this might not be the case the closer to London you get. But the footpaths round here are definitely much busier than they were pre-Covid, both at weekends and during the week. That said, mid-week might be a better time for a walk, especially if you can travel outside of busier times.

Anonymous said...

9 or 10 people did a group walk last weekend, most travelling by train. I hope not in the name of SWC as we don't want the club to "do a Dominic Cummings".

Daisy Roots said...

Thanks Sean for initiating the discussion.

We may still have to work within Government restraints if they limit the sizes of groups that can gather and how/when they can travel.

I'd like to second Branchline's suggestion for more walks with smaller sized groups. We can get groups of 30 more in summer and I can see how that could be tricky for distancing in practice on narrow paths, around stiles etc...

I think circular walks are a good idea for those who have cars, to limit numbers travelling by train. Possibly also linear walks for which driving would work eg where the start and end stations are on the same lines and involve a short hop on the train to get back to the car).

Later or earlier starts are also a good idea. If Government peak travel restrictions continue, we may have to opt for later.

I don't have a car myself so currently I've been limited to (unwillingly) walking in circles around my local parks, trying to dodge the many other people there, Just being able to get to any quieter, green would be a big improvement.

Daisy Roots said...

Thanks Thomas for the BMC link re outdoor transmission.

There is also mounting evidence of insufficiency of 2m social distancing indoors over a prolonged period of time. Perhaps this is something to bear in mind when considering longer versus shorter journeys on public transport?

https://www.erinbromage.com/post/the-risks-know-them-avoid-them

He makes the point that 2m social distancing doesn’t provide protection for people in closed, indoor spaces for an extended period of time:

“Indoor spaces, with limited air exchange or recycled air and lots of people, are concerning from a transmission standpoint. We know that 60 people in a volleyball court-sized room (choir) results in massive infections. Same situation with the restaurant and the call center. Social distancing guidelines don't hold in indoor spaces where you spend a lot of time, as people on the opposite side of the room were infected.

The principle is viral exposure over an extended period of time. In all these cases, people were exposed to the virus in the air for a prolonged period (hours). Even if they were 50 feet away (choir or call center), even a low dose of the virus in the air reaching them, over a sustained period, was enough to cause infection and in some cases, death.

Social distancing rules are really to protect you with brief exposures or outdoor exposures.”

Sean said...

It surely can't be long before some kind of group walks are permitted. Northern Ireland have already relaxed their guidelines to allow groups of six on outdoor activities. Closer to home, other organisations already seem to be jumping the gun - today I saw quite a few groups of climbers at Harrison's Rocks. But as others have pointed out, if we go ahead and post some popular club walks on a fine day, it's not impossible that 30+ people will show up. If the revised guidelines don't allow that, it won't look good.

I've heard it suggested that we should have some kind of booking system. If like NI the new guidance were to say "groups of up to N people" then the walk would only be open to the first N who sign up, rather like a Meetup event. But I find it hard to see how that would work when the whole spirit of the SWC is "walks are open to all...just turn up".

Having extra walks on the same day might help. Or - less work for the walk posters - we could post the usual number of walks, each with a choice of two or three trains (say) half an hour apart. Would that be feasible?

Whatever we do we're going to have to put up some strong warnings on the web site insisting that people split up into smaller groups to conform with whatever the new rules say. That would rely on everyone behaving sensibly and not drawing unwelcome attention to the SWC. Would that be sufficient to get things going again?

Thomas G said...

Reply to Bill S 26/05 at 20.38:
Tubes are virtually empty in Inner London as well (outside weekday rush hour, which in the morning is way before any SWC-activity would take place) and so are trains on suburban routes and on long-distance routes, as far as I have witnessed.

Thomas G said...

Reply to Daisy Roots 27/05 at 11.23:
The choir example from the US is often quoted and call centers I can also believe to be a potentially dangerous environment, but a sparsely populated moving train with the windows open and a breeze running through should be a different prospect, especially as one can wear any number of protective gear and one doesn't have to talk (or sing) non-stop and open up avenues for viruses to enter one's body. And, needless to say, there are hardly any infections left in Greater London and the Southeast at this stage...

Sean said...

PS. One other point worth considering is that if you come on a group walk and a fellow-walker later tests positive for the virus, you might be contacted and potentially asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Anonymous said...

If we stay well apart on the near-empty trains, walk in 2m spaced out pairs or solo, and eat similarly spaced out, risk will surely be minimal. A balance needs to be struck between mental health and safety. Let's be honest:most of us live alone. The Ramblers may not get going until next year. Is that what we really want?

Thomas G said...

also keep in mind that the UK is almost alone in sticking to the 2 metres-mantra (for now at least), most of the rest of Europe recommends 1.5 metres, while the WHO says 1 metre is enough...

BrightSpark said...

Hello fellow frustrated walkers, for me the the big day will be when the government announces that it is okay to take public transport at off-peak times combined with the permission to meet up in groups larger than 2, 2 being the max' at the moment. This would mean, our esteemed walk posters, could legitimately post walks again. Should this day be forthcoming I suggest we say our names outside the station rather than on the platform. Also because of the nature of our walking club, that is not having a leader, I don't think numbers matter. If the government say you can meet up to six other people the rule should be that we don't congregate in numbers larger than six but it doesn't matter if 20 walkers turn up as we can still legitimately abide by the rules. The Ramblers' are fecked however! Look forward to seeing everyone again...

Anonymous said...

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/may/28/walk-this-way-how-to-optimise-your-stride-and-focus-your-mind-to-get-the-most-from-your-daily-stroll

Daisy Roots said...

I wonder if people would be interested silent walks if we were to re-instate one each week. These had a regular following when they were posted in years gone by. People used to talk at lunchtimes but walk in silence. Perhaps this might be welcomed by anyone who's concerned about catching Covid-19 through talking with others over the length of a day.

Sean's idea to stagger the walks is interesting, although a later group might catch up with an earlier group at lunchtime.

The trains are quiet for the time being but I do wonder how long that will last...

Anonymous said...

Silent Walks - the official ones - were discontinued for a reason: redundancy. If you wish to walk in silence, and plenty do - at least for a while on a walk - then walk at a remove from the group, or start earlier or later. If you catch up with a later group/pair etc at lunch, then sit well apart. Your voice will carry easily over 2m. All is possible once you have the instructions.

Daisy Roots said...

Anonymous,

I'm not making these suggestions for myself. I don't have any personal preference for silent walks. I'm simply raising ideas for discussion and to see if there's interest.

Margaret

Anonymous said...

As no walks were posted, presumably the individuals who walked at the weekend did it on their own volition and privately. How would the name of SWC be involved at all? Unless someone decided to broadcast it on an open forum.

Anonymous said...

Use the time without walks to have your boots re-soled by Professionals: Vibram Academy on 215 City Road has re-opened!

Anonymous said...

Tacky ad. Thank you, Vibram Academy.

Sean said...

Although Government guidance has been relaxed somewhat, we've reluctantly concluded that we're still not allowed to post SWC walks under the normal procedure ('open to all...just turn up'). Apart from the difficulty of ensuring that walkers split into small groups and maintain social distancing, travel on public transport is still meant to be for essential use only.

However, you could arrange your own walks with small groups of friends (up to 6) via email or social media. You would need to follow the appropriate guidelines and have contact details for everyone so that they could be traced if necessary.

Anonymous said...

Could this be reviewed weekly, please? Things are loosening up a lot. Look at the indulgent way the protest marches were treated, despite the (confusing) guidelines. From the 15th, we can all simply follow the reasonable requirement to wear masks on the trains. The ministers are, in effect, encouraging the use of those trains. Thank you to the walk setters. Tough decision.

Thomas G said...

It is

Andrew said...

Have you walked around your local park / canal / river / common like 100 times?

Why not spread the love (or, if not, the knowledge), and write it up as a short walk?

Anonymous said...

You covered this material before.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the work you do for the group, Andrew.

Mike Powell said...

It's good to read all these constructive comments. I went to the trouble of submitting a polite question to gov.uk on use of off-peak public transport for leisure reasons, but the Transport Secretary had nothing to offer today. Round here (Northants) the buses are still travelling virtually empty. Personally I haven't stepped on a vehicle of any kind since lockdown. The joke is I've been saving up my Clubcard vouchers for 3 years to buy my first Senior railcard next week! Apart from the transport issue, I see no reason why SWC shouldn't divide in to fast/slow/funereal groups of 6. If you want somewhere really quiet in London, try Hampton Court Park from Richmond Bridge, but stay North of the Long Water and good luck finding the way out on the Bushy Park side (or you may end up dangling from a very high gate). Best wishes to all.

Anonymous said...

To the Webmaster, To repeat Thomas'own call earlier, please turn off the Meetup feed, as otherwise we will be continually swamped by needy, helpless Meetuppers without directions and looking to sponge off the regulars. Not deliberate sabotage, I hope? The Meetup only groups impose a 6 person maximum on groups at the moment, so there are plenty out there, used to being led by the nose, looking to hitch a free ride on the SWC. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

moved here from the Hope Valley post...

Mike A, Wed 24 Jun 20, 11:51
Latest Ramblers Statement
I have just seen this from the Ramblers which summarises their view of the latest Gov statement
https://mailchi.mp/6449742f71ce/volunteers-restarting-activities-gwem?e=18da90a791

Andrew said...

should people wear masks on walks?
or have you all managed to stay 2m apart all the time :)

Anonymous said...

Doctors are told to issue ‘green prescriptions ‘ (ie walking, cycling, gardening & etc) to boost patients physical and mental health to ease the burden on the NHS under the Green Alliance announced by environment secretary.

Anonymous said...

The Covid policy in England is unclear. In some places it says 6 people (or 2 families), in others it says 30 people. In NI for example it is clear, groups can organise walks for up to 30 people after a risk assessment.

So where does that leave us?

Split into subgroups of 6 - most of the walk posters require this

Contact tracing - not doing it would be wrong.

Masks on walks - do people forget and end up walking too close together?

Lunch / Apr├Ęs-walk - Sitting around a pub table and talking? Aside: around here I'm unimpressed, neither the waiter nor kitchen staff wore masks at the place I had a coffee at this morning, so if one of them has it... Would socially distanced picnics be better?

Andrew

Anonymous said...

Any walks this weekend? Ta.

Thomas G said...

at least 4 of the regular walk posters will be in Snowdonia, so offerings may be a bit slimmer than usual

PeteG said...

Should we encourage people to download the NHS tracking app? As well as apparently picking up contacts of some duration, all pubs now have to display a QR code for you to (optionally) scan with it.

Thomas G said...

Hi Pete.

If the app works and does what it's supposed to do, why not? It ought to simplify the registration process in pubs and cafes, compared to filling in details (in print or online) every time one enters an establishment for the first time. So, there would be benefits for the individuals and - in extension - for society due to more movements being caught and - hopefully - more infection chains being tracked more quickly.

But it won't change how we go about our business as far as I can see. We'll still have to capture and keep attendee's details on every walk and insist on the rules that we have as best we can. We can't afford not to, as we have just too many refuseniks, professional rule breakers, people who are happy to forget Rule of 6-restrictions the moment the group leaves the station, and/or mingle between sub-groups during a walk and even people who remonstrate with pub staff trying to impose the rule of law regarding facemasks, not moving about, not mingling between groups and following a one-way system. So, you couldn't even trust people if they said they have the app downloaded and will do what the app tells them to do. I won't, anyway.

Andy J said...

Hi - who on earth would want to walk with people who wont follow the coronavirus rules. I f someone was refusing in my walk you wouldn't see me for dust. I value my health too much and I like to walk with bright people. Andy J

Anonymous said...

Missing all the walks and the walkers. Hope this doesn't go on too long