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hard core walking

Here is a picture of me reclining against a tree during a hard core walk.

What makes it hard core is not the place- Dorset, nor the magnitude of the walk- four or five hours, but the attitude. For a start, in the foreground you may see the trusty M-kettle- which was fired up to provide a nice cup of tea. My pal Aaron then whipped out his F1 gas stove and saucepan and fried up some bangers- all before 9.30am! You see hard core walking is all about kit, taking it easy and brew ups. The brewing up is most important. Just walking from A to B past some half decent scenery just doesn't cut it. You have to make a deviation off the path, find a good spot and brew up some tea. Preferably over an open fire but using a stove of some sort if farmers/landowners are on the prowl. One should then attempt something that results in aiming for a landmark or other interesting feature (we climbed an interesting shaped hill called Colmer's Knob) without using the map or a signposted path. It's good if you see a buzzard or two, too, or, as in our case, a field that had been turfed over by a wild boar (no sign of boar, never is).

Taking along kit that needs to be tested or shown off is also important. There is a limit to how much kit you can carry which means you do not need to exercise any self control over walking gear. If you want to lift your rucksack you will by default have to limit yourself. Today I used a rather natty mora steel knife. Aaron also cut himself a walking stick using my folding saw- lovely bit of kit that. Talking about kit is also a nice part of a hardcore walk, though unless you talk to yourself, naturally limited to walks with other people.

You see walkers out in all the right gear but are they stopping, brewing up and lovingly handling their kit like some kid with a new meccano set at Christmas? If not, they are not hardcore. You don't need to get kit new or full price- in fact getting everything used or on ebay is more fun and cheaper too. But no one should be deprived of the basic human instinct to hoard.

Walking? Oh you do a bit of that too. In between the brews, the poking around in thickets looking for things, the getting a bit lost (map- forget it- well we did). Yes, a good day all round.

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