“High on a hill was a lonely goatherd. Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo”

Okay so we’re not going to ask you to tell us your favourite song from The Sound of Music [Climb Ev’ry Mountain is ours if you wanted to know!] but we are going to talk about being in the great outdoors. 

Earlier this year our MD, John, completed all 214 Wainwrights. For those of you who may not be aware of them, over a 13 year period, Alfred Wainwright produced a series of seven books known collectively as A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells. Each book describes a particular fell and the surrounding area, including detailed hand-drawn illustrations for various routes to the summit. Each Monday morning, John would share which walk he’d completed over the weekend – we never saw the selfies he took at the top but we’ve been told they do exist!  214 fells make up the guide, with nothing else to connect them other than a nod from Wainwright as being to his liking. Source: https://www.ramblers.org.uk. 

With our head office based in Lancaster, we are just a 30-minute drive to the Lake District National Park, a 10-20 minute drive to Morecambe Bay and Arnside and Silverdale [an Area of Outstanding Beauty] and just 5 minutes walk away from the Lune Aqueduct where Lancaster Canal crosses over the River Lune. In all honesty, we are spoilt for choice for opportunities to get outdoors and go for a walk but how often do our busy lives mean we spend more time sat at our desks? Taking at least one brisk 10 minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15% and lower risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer.

Morecambe Bay in Winter

Morecambe Bay in Winter

Over the years we have seen a shift in businesses taking meetings outdoors and even companies setting up to serve the business community outdoors. FreshWalks in Manchester is one of those companies. Lifted from their website; Freshwalks helps you feel and perform better. In life and in business. It does this in five ways. Through an enhanced state of mental performance and wellbeing, improved physical fitness, collaboration with others, knowledge sharing and growing your network. Their walking routes are predominantly across Cheshire, Derbyshire, Manchester, Merseyside and Yorkshire. 

Back in 2017, Public Health England encouraged their members to Go out for a walk, get some fresh air for a meeting” at their annual conference with Simon Usborne following up with some useful advice on The Guardian website which you can read in full by clicking here. In summary, he suggested; 

  1. Use it to brainstorm – not to make decisions
  2. Have a destination
  3. But also: meander
  4. Don’t bring the whole team

If you’re a freelancer that spends most of their time working from home, you can pick and choose when [and if] you go out for a walk but those walks are mostly in isolation with perhaps a dog [or rabbit – yes we have seen a rabbit being taken for a walk!] in tow. Adam Pearson from Pearson Insights write a blog about freelancing with pets which said; A long lunchtime walk with Fred and George is probably my favourite thing about being freelance. I’ll usually stick a podcast on and head out into the hills for an hour or so. It breaks my day up nicely and I’ve never been very productive in the early afternoon anyway.”

Autumn Dog Walks

Anna Bell and Matthew Brown, two local freelancers who, whilst talking about their morning walks over a coffee, decided to arrange a monthly walk for anyone that wants to get out of their own head and into the great outdoors, will be hosting their second walk in Hest Bank, Lancashire next week. Speaking to ICS, Anna said; 

“I spend a lot of time in my own company and will often go for a walk in the morning with my headphones in listening to a podcast. After leaving full-time employment 3 years ago I had no choice but to get out networking but I found walking into a room full of people and starting a conversation quite daunting and in all honesty a bit false as often we’d say how well things were going. There were also so many different networking groups that I could have easily started spending more time networking than actually working. 

Over the last year, I’ve found myself doing less networking, the only exception being CWS Creatives in Preston. Their founder, Morgana also wanted an alternative to traditional networking. Whilst sitting having coffee with Matthew from The Design Attic, we had an honest conversation about how things were going in our businesses and how getting out for a morning walk really helped to clear our heads. It seemed we’d both been toying with the idea of setting up a ‘walking group’ but in that moment we decided to just do it. Our first walk was at the end of September in Heysham which Matthew led and I’ll be leading the next one in Hest Bank. We’re hoping that as numbers grow, people within the group will start leading one of the walks each month. I find conversations flow much better when we’re out walking and feel more authentic, the change of scenery can also help to give us a different perspective and if people want to come along to just walk without talking, that’s totally fine!” 

Walk ~ Flow by Anna and Matthew will take place on the last Thursday of every month across Lancaster and the district. Details of their next walk can be found by clicking here. You can also follow them on Twitter, @walk_flow

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking” Friedrich Nietzsche

We’d love you to see a picture of you on your daily walk. Share on Twitter using #icscontractor.