19/07/11 What on Earth are we doing?

So the good word of walk a mile in my shoes was spread about via the media that is the Ross-shire journal. A newspaper that has a paper circulation of over eight and a half thousand and an Internet readership of probably more.

Let’s imagine that each paper is read by two, maybe three folk – this means my story, along with my phone number, will have gone out to nearly thirty thousand folk.

So folks, make a conservative estimate, how many people do you think phoned me?

Take into account people are busy and that they may believe others are, as we speak, phoning me – offering all kinds of lovely hospitality.

And the number you’ve come up with is…

Let me help… It’s somewhere between nothing and zero…

Unfortunately I had allowed myself to indulge in a little expectation – that bastard sibling of disappointment.

Maybe they’re all planning….er, there again, maybe not.

As lou and I walked the 17 miles from Helmsdale to dunbeath I allowed myself to dwell on this most sticky of points.

The people I’ve met seem to get it – they seem to grasp the whole idea of walk a mile with very little explanation. They are all to keen to thrust money in my hand and/ or offer me somewhere to stay further on down the line.

The piece, written beautifully by Teen I’m sure you’ll agree, puts across all the angles of the ramble and yet…

We were half way up a hill coming out of Helmsdale – it did appear to go on forever – when I saw a car stop in a slightly unusual place – about a hundred yards up the road on the grass verge. I thought nothing of it as the couple got out of the car and began to walk towards me.

Just as I recognised Steven and Anne – people I’d met briefly in Arbroath with Anne’s mum and their angry wee dog three months ago – I blurted out the first thing thing that came to mind –
“you’ve brought the wheelbarrow!”
We greeted each other like long lost friends – with hugs and smiles and warm handshakes and “how are you’s”

We were all so excited at the lovely coincidence of it all. They greeted lou similarly – a friend of yours is a friend of mine – all so quickly – all on the side of the busy a9 – all very lovely and special.
Anne thrust £10 into my hand before they drove off towards John o’groats later in the day. They also promised to wave and beep at us on the way back down – probably later on in the day.

The expectation of that next encounter was lovely -as was the experience of waving like idiots when the did drive pass later on in the afternoon.

So, dear friends, I ask again, what is this walk a mile thing?

It’s not easily passed on through newspapers – but when folk have it presented to their face, it seems to be so understandable – instantly recognisable.

I know I’m doing a lot of the walking, but it’s not about me either. It’s about friends talking to friends – it’s about developing trust – it’s about caring – it’s probably about so much more, so I’d like your help with that please.

Currently we have 4 hundred odd members of the group. What if you were to pull in your friends and family to join in with this – whatever this is?
We’d have a lot more members for a start. We’d have a large group of people who already understand the idea of walk a mile, unified in one place – under one heading.
What a hoot.

Go on, let’s try it. Bring them all in – show them what it’s about by getting them to read the article, or the bit I wrote on the virgin giving page, or the piece written under “why is chris….” on the walk a mile page.

Then let’s start thinking about what this is and then we can start to consider what it might become.

Walk a mile people


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