Why I Ditched The Car 44 Times In One Month!

December 2017

As a new volunteer with Kilmarnock’s Active Travel Hub I remember driving into the car park to risk assess a proposed health walk route and being a tad embarrassed when the Hub Officer arrived by bike! Considering I had come from a half mile away and Holly from the other side of town, it was a poor show from me. In my defence, I had just dropped one child off at nursery and needed to pick the other up at school in 2 hrs but still, had I been a bit more organised I could easily have walked.   This feeling was further intensified when a few weeks later a fellow walk-leader started to arrive by bike to join me….. from Newton Mearns, some 14 miles away!!  I was very impressed by these people’s dedication to the ‘active travel’ message!

As the author of an outdoors blog, people tend to assume that I am out walking all the time. I wish! I adore leisurely walks exploring the countryside and hills but I am not so keen on ‘pavement pounding’ and as a busy mum normal everyday journeys are generally by car: “I don’t have time to walk. I would never be able to carry my shopping back home. My 4 year old will just moan all the way. It’s forecast to rain.”

Until December that is, when the Active Travel Hub Kilmarnock’s ‘Winter Wanderers’ challenge popped up on my Facebook feed: track any journeys walked up to 3 miles each and at the end of the month there would be a prize for the person with the most.  I decided to give it a bash.

By the end of December I was pretty pleased with my 44 journeys! As I had expected, the majority of these ended up comprising of school and nursery runs and I definitely noticed a huge difference in the final week of December due to the school holidays. However my mindset around active travel in general changed as the month progressed and I found myself looking for excuses to ditch the car – the hairdresser, the shop, the baker, posting letters to Santa…. Many of my car journeys are pretty short so I found that if I was organised enough it was perfectly feasible to walk. Added benefits – lower fuel costs and no scraping the frost off the windscreen ❤

Frosty days: finding icy sticks en route to school is fun!
Admiring the patterns left by Jack Frost on my car windscreen instead of scraping them off
For this challenge I found the app “Simply Walking” to be ideal!

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