I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome in July 2009 and received my free travel pass a few weeks later, meaning that I'm now able to regularly go walking in the Peak District, or elsewhere. I didn't start writing this blog about my walks and days out until nearly a year later and during that earlier period I was doing pretty much what I'm doing now when it comes to walking.
The only other time I went walking during the previous few years was when a small group of my schoolfriends, who I'd not seen for many years, was doing some quite long training walks in preparation for a challenge walk on the North York Moors; the White Rose Walk from the White Horse at Kilburn to Roseberry Topping. I can recall doing a walk in Nidderdale, based at Pateley Bridge and visiting the villages of Ramsgill, Lofthouse, and Middlesmoor. We also did a section of the Cleveland Way from Robin Hood's Bay to Whitby, and back, and a walk along the first section of the planned challenge walk in the North York
Moors, from Kilburn to Osmotherley...obviously, with this being a linear walk we took two cars. I went along for the actual challenge walk but only did a couple of the sections; I don't like walking in the dark, or against the clock either.
Many years ago, over twenty in fact, I did complete a couple of challenge walks, the Lyke Wake Walk and the Shepherd's Round, both on the North York Moors as well. I can't remember doing any training for these at all; we were a lot younger and fitter then though.
I can't recall the exact details, but I also went to Bolton Abbey with some friends and we walked up onto the moors.
Apart from the last six years my most intense period of walking was in the years after I'd left school. There was a regular group of three or four of us who would go walking nearly every Saturday in the Peak District, taking two buses to get there from the pit village where we lived...we also took a dog with us.
After a couple of years one of the lads got a car, a rather cramped Mini. This opened up new opportunities for us though, new areas of the Peak District...and the Yorkshire Wolds. In the Peak District I can remember walking in Dovedale and the Manifold Valley, and in the Wolds, Huggate and Millington [I think] seem to be familiar names.
I'm not sure if I'm remembering this correctly, but I'm convinced I was at Monsal Head at the time of both the Hillsborough Disaster and the Bradford City fire, and I always get a little melancholic when I'm there, associating such a beautiful place with so much death and tragedy.
The only other period of regular walking I did was when an inexpensive rover ticket for travelling on the trains in West Yorkshire was introduced and myself and my brother would go walking on Ilkley Moor and areas of the Pennines beyond Halifax and Huddersfield.