In life we rarely celebrate the middle; we are drawn to superlatives; the fastest, the biggest, the first, the best – but what about the unsung heroes of the medium, the intermediate, the average? For our second outing in our Year of Microadventures we had decided to meet in the middle. Clive had found an app (www.geomidpoint.com) that calculated the mid point of our postcodes and emailed us a map, inviting us to meet there at midday on the middle day of the month.
Given the relative distance of our houses, it was surprising to find that the meeting point was so close to home, but half the group couldn’t make it and the rest of us only had a few hours to spare so it seemed a good fit. So far our lack of time and surfeit of responsibilities meant our adventures have not taken us far from home, but checking the Microadventure book, I found this from author Alistair Humphreys:
“You should not compare you adventure to climbing K2. You should compare it to the realistic alternative that faces most people with busy lives and tight diaries which is doing no adventure at all”
So reconciled to another micro microadventure, I set out from my house and headed up to the moor where I met my good friend Louisa. The dogs set off ahead and we were soon striding out and warming up, despite a grey and misty sky. It’s rare for us to be able to talk uninterrupted by children and phones, so took the chance to have a good catch up without distractions. I love how conversations flow so easily when you are out walking, as if the twists and turns of the footpath are reflected in the meandering route of the discussion. Half way to our destination I raised the discomforting notion that in terms of life’s journey we are probably getting towards the mid point. We are not nearly ready to describe ourselves as middle aged, but in our working lives at least there is about as much behind as ahead. We chatted over how far we’ve come and where we’re going. Generally happy and content with where and who we are, it was interesting to compare our different attitudes to life. One of us too often looking back, the other too focused on the future, we agreed we could learn a lot from each other’s approach. Walking through the woods we chatted over life’s worries, the usual adult stuff; children, work, health, money. But as we came out of the woods and the town in the valley came into view, we could feel concerns melting away as if like the landscape, everything was getting into perspective.
The meeting point on the map was not specific and we only had a rough idea of where we were going. We walked through Bingley and its residential streets before heading back up the moor on the other side. Suddenly Clive appeared waving from a rocky escarpment above us and we scrambled up to meet him and his family. None of us had ever been to Gilstead Crag before and the view was a fantastic reward for our walks to get there. From Cottingley to the east and Cononley the west, Oxenhope Moor to the south and Ilkley Moor to the north, we were in the middle of a large sweep of West Yorkshire countryside, feeling like small dots in a big landscape.
We had a very upbeat walk home. A pint in the local, encountering some deer in the woods and the sun finally coming out to give the day a spring-like air, could all be credited with our happy mood. But more than that I think it was the walk itself that put us in a positive frame of mind. So often I find this is the case and welcome the restorative power of a walk in the countryside to put worries in perspective and give me a boost of positivity. It may have been a middling sort of microadventure but there is no such thing as an average walk.