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One Foot After The Other

I am never going to be a good runner. This is a fact I have been certain of my whole life, and as yet there's been no evidence to prove otherwise. But I am running.
One of my bigger flaws is that of the classic academic over-achiever: I am bad at being bad at things. When you're used to holding yourself to massively high standards, and usually, used to reaching them, it can be incredibly difficult to motivate yourself to do something new. I have a good memory; I am good at writing; I'm a strong empath and I always try my best to help people; I'm focused and have an eye for detail; I am good at making music. These are things I know. Within these things, I am comfortable. 
As a result, I set the bar of my ability to learn (and, really, to master) any new things, way too high. I expect more of myself than it's possible for me to give in the time I allow and, when it feels as though I'm failing, I admit defeat, submit to self-loathing, and give up. 
This has been …
Recent posts

Peak Accessibility: The Hope Valley Line

It may have become clear by now that I'm a student. If not - I am, at the University of Sheffield. The stereotype is fully fulfilled: I don't have much money, I don't have a car, I like cheap things and discounts...and as a result, I am incredibly grateful for the Hope Valley Railway Line. These small, hourly trains allow me access to the place that keeps me sane, the Peak District National Park. I don't know if any of you come from Sheffield, but if you do, or if you live nearby or visit relatives there (or have never been, in which case here's your chance to come!) - save the planet, leave the car at home, get this train. 
Sheffield has absolutely fantastic transport links, and there’s no better time to explore them than right now. I know, I know, it’s Winter, and you’re cold, penguins have set up camp in your kitchen, and you don’t remember the last time you wore less than three layers, but hear me out. Even in the depths of British Winter, there’s no place like …

A Great Day on the Great Ridge

Given how much of my family culture comes from spending time together in the mountains, it's no surprise that when my family come to visit me in Sheffield, we don't actually spend any time in Sheffield at all.
The novelty for me is that the Peak District is the one place I know better than my parents. They've given me so much knowledge about the Lake District - you don't get to name every mountain in a view without some teaching! - and this is the root of what has made me educate myself about the Peaks. "Educating myself" makes it sound very formal...the truth is, I know things about the Peaks because it's a landscape that I can't keep out of. When I'm there, I want to feel as immersed as possible - part of the landscape, if you will - and for me this means learning all the place names, poring over my maps and reading endless blog posts of walks in the hills.
So far, this has made walking in the Peaks a pretty independent experience. The univer…

Mountain climbing: Why am I doing this to Myself?

There's something euphoric and insane about the act of mountain climbing. A bizarre spectacle, that is almost worshipped in some areas of our small, odd island, where brightly-clad people of all ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels go to areas of hills and decide, without questioning, that scaling one would be an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
For me, this strange desire was bred in from childhood - most, if not all, of my childhood memories are in the Lake District or the Derbyshire Dales or the Yorkshire Moors; anywhere but the rolling agricultural landscapes of Hertfordshire, where I grew up. When I first decided to move away from home, to go to university, again it was this landscape that drew me in, that made me feel something that the gentle grasslands of my home county could not.
Maybe it's my Northern blood - for hundreds of years, Lancashire-born family on my Dad's side have been throwing themselves at hills and hoping that they come back in one piec…

Country Roads (Take Me Home)

I am not, and I don't think I ever will be, a 'city girl'. I was brought up in Hertfordshire which, as I found when I first arrived at university, is apparently a county seen as 'basically London innit?' No. For the most part, no, it is not.

My Hertfordshire has very little to do with London, or any other city for that matter. My Hertfordshire is a small town with a street of shops and a street of restaurants, a wide town park, and beyond it fields on fields of crops, spattered here and there with tiny villages of increasingly ridiculous names (my favourite is 'Loudwater', because it truly belongs to a Tolkien novel). It's home to narrow country lanes and wide open spaces and the occasional forest. Not well known (9/10 people assume that I said 'Herefordshire' when they ask where I come from), nor very large, and certainly not a 'city' place, it has put deep roots in me that long to be surrounded by skies and grass, not buildings.

But s…

Deep roots are not reached by frost.

A couple of months ago, as happens every so often, I was sent a survey from a student discount organisation with which I have an account. Often I completely disregard these - and if I do complete them, it's the multiple choice answers only, I'm never engaged enough to write anything longer.

This particular survey, however, was from the Woodlands Trust. I'm a Zoology student and a conservationist, and it's safe to say that I care about trees, so I was more than willing to put in a little extra effort. The questions were as you would expect, until one in particular: "Is there any tree in your life with special significance?". I can imagine a lot of people answered a quick 'no' to this question and asked themselves what sort of a person did have a significant tree in their life. 
I am the sort of person that does. My community are the sort of people who do.
A month or so after, when I was home from university at Christmas, I took my dog on a walk of whic…

In All Honesty: To Myself and To You

To anyone and no one; and mostly to myself.

I have not posted here in a very long time. To have to say that is not what I wanted when I started this blog. But it is a fact, and I will not pretend that it isn't.

The truth is, that sometimes it can be extraordinarily hard to work out how you really want to spend your time - and even harder to act on it. When I first made this blog, it was because I thought that in the future I might like to become a wildlife or nature journalist, and that to have a blog would be a good idea. I put a lot of pressure on myself to write like a journalist, because I thought that's what I wanted...but all it did was make me feel that I couldn't write what I wanted to write. I thought that I needed to do Serious, Meticulously Researched Articles about important global issues; about conservation; about things that I am passionate about...but that honestly I'm neither informed enough to write about nor blessed with time to research, as I would …