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The article immediately below was written by Jock Finlayson. It appeared in the Summer 2004 Ettremist. The article which follows Jock's was written by Sue Bosdyk in response, and appeared in the Autumn 2005 Ettremist. The third article was written in response to the first two, and appeared in the Winter 2005 Ettremist.
After having a discussion with a few old diehard bushwalkers, the question arose regarding the distance one walked in a season. So I decided to keep a record and without actually going Gung-Ho I recorded my normal Wednesday walks plus any wee donder I managed to squeeze in over the week or weekend, when I could safely dodge all my normal household tasks (retirement is not all its cracked up to be for us old blokes).
On January 3rd I set about recording the distance of my walks. (Why the 3rd, I hear you ask? Well, Jan 1st is Hogmanay. Jan 2nd is Recovery Day - no guid, red-blooded Scot would be fit to walk until the 3rd).
So I set out on my old coal-miners legs and up to going to print I have clocked up 3766km, and with 52 days or thereabouts to go, I should quite easily top 4356km, or near that.
Happy Christmas and a Guid New Year to Yin and Awe - with copious amounts o' Uisge Beatha.
(Editor's Note: Uisge Beatha is Scots Gaelic for aqua vitae - water of life - which over time has been abbreviated and corrupted until nowadays we simply know it as whisky).
(Ettremist - November 2004)
I read with some amusement in the Summer Ettremist the writings of Jock Finlayson about the distance he walked in a season. While I was reasonably impressed with the kilometres Jock had clocked up - not too bad for an old bloke - I felt that I too should put pen to paper and tell the world about my own walking exploits, not because of any desire to "show off", but simply because I felt that the record should be set straight.
As Jock so freely admits - and cannot hide - he is a Scot. I felt that we Aussies should not be bested by a foreigner. It is not that I have anything against foreigners of course - in fact some of my best friends are aliens - but I just feel that people should know what a real Aussie walker can do.
Jock is also a man, so I also felt I should stick up for the women of this country, the so-called weaker half of the population who are not blessed with muscles, hairy backs, testosterone, or the leaving-the-toilet-seat-up gene, and who have overcome these deficiencies down through the centuries with quiet perseverance, guts and determination.
Like Jock, early in 2004 I too began recording the distances I walked daily. I have two beautiful dogs - Lucy and Jasper - wonderful whippets who require copious amounts of exercise, mostly in the form of walks every morning and evening. Between times I have been known to go for a walk or two as well, sometimes with the Shoalhaven Bushwalkers, sometimes with other company, and sometimes alone.
As a result, by the end of the year I managed to cover a distance of 5391 kilometres - a wee bit over one thousand kilometres more than my illustrious Scottish friend. I must admit that I did take a holiday in the middle of the year and had to cut back my walking as a result - thirteen days of full-pack walking on the Larapinta Trail for a total of only 250 kilometres did reduce my overall daily average.
Modesty almost prevents me from revealing that I did not begin recording my distances until well over a month after Hogmanay, in early February. Had I recorded the full year I estimate I would have walked more than 6000 kilometres. Also, in August I re-entered the workforce, often working up to six days a week, which severely curtailed the distances I could accomplish.
And did I mention that during the year I also suffered from an injury to my medial meniscus (knee cartilage) which prevented me walking for about a month as well ...?
(Ettremist - February 2005)
Having read recent articles by Jock and Sue about the distances they walked annually, I felt they were missing a vital element in their walking, and that I should express my ideas on the subject.
In bushwalking, as with many other pleasurable activities, it is not only the length which is important, it is also how hard it is. Some people like it short and easy, others like it wet, and others like it long and rough.
And sometimes we want it exploratory - when we have not been to the area and do not know what to expect ...
(Ettremist - May 2005)