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Coronavirus walks

Contents

Overview

Although I had gone on walks by myself before (see older walks), the so-called “Coronavirus walks” came about as a result of the first COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. I started taking Saturday walks to get my exercise; these started out at ten miles or less, but in time I reached my goal of twelve miles, equivalent to how far I was walking during a working week. I set a goal to reach a particular village with an expected route length of 13.5 miles and by the end found that I had walked a whole 15 miles. Subsequent walks set new records at 18 miles, 19 miles and finally 22 miles.

All these walks were undertaken without GPS or even a compass; the only electronics on my person were my wrist watch and my camera. On the earliest walks I didn’t even know where I was going: I would simply set off from home in a random direction and see where I ended up. I would return the way I came on memory alone, retracing my steps. Part of the fun was discovering places I knew existed but not where they were: I had never formed any idea about the locations of nearby towns and villages.

In order to reach specific places further away without getting lost, I started sketching out rough maps that I would then take with me in my pocket. This remains my practice any time I want to go somewhere specific. As time passed, I got ever closer to having walked to everywhere within range, so I started taking train journeys to reach places further afield. Some of the best photos came from these walks.

With one partial exception, every single walk was taken alone. Not by choice, although in many cases companionship would be difficult to achieve considering the time constraints and how fast I have to walk to fit everything in.

While all walks from spring 2020 onwards are numbered in the Coronavirus walk range, some walks are also classified separately as pylon hunts and post box hunts.

Generally the photographs within each walk are presented in roughly chronological order, as a narrative.

I should note that I am not a real photographer. I don’t have a photographer’s camera. The perceptual brightness and colour balance is all over the place and, despite sometimes spending several evenings just trying to sort out the photos from a single walk, the end result is still disappointing. Dynamic range limitation also rears its ugly head all too often.

Walks

2020

4. Coleman Green, 25th April
5. Wheathampstead, 8th May

2023

168. Bedmond, Bricket Wood, 29th July 2023
169. Sindlesham, 12th August 2023
170. Stevenage, 19th August 2023
171. Elstree, 26th August 2023
172. Bedford, 2nd September 2023
173. Hemel Hempstead, 9th September 2023
174. Redbourn, 16th September 2023
175. Chalton, 23rd September 2023
176. Kimpton, 30th September
177. Bricket Wood, 7th October 2023
178. Bedford, 14th October 2023
179. Letchmore Heath, 21st October 2023
180. Streatley, 28th October 2023
181. Steppingley, 4th November
182. Pulloxhill and Greenfield, 11th November
183. Aldbury, 18th November
184. Lye Green Grid, 25th November 2023
185. Harpenden, 2nd December
187. Ampthill, 16th December
189. New Greens, 25th December

2024

195. Hendon and Kingsbury, 17th February 2024
197. Flamstead, 2nd March