From the Brontes to Wordsworth, walking in the landscape has been a rich source of inspiration for writers. We used this as a theme for 26 Steps to encourage a sense of connection between the acts of walking and writing.
There is something mindful about taking the time to watch and listen as we walk along a route, observing the changing weather, hearing the birdsong or traffic noise, letting the motion of our footsteps relax our physical selves and open our minds.
As a runner, I often choose to get up early and enjoy the sights and sounds of the coast where I live. Even if I’m not conscious of my surroundings, they creep in as I feel the effects of air temperature and weather, or realise that the waves are booming and crashing in time to my rasping breaths.
When I slow down and walk, I inevitably, consciously take in a lot more of my surroundings, and can find new things even in places I’ve visited hundreds of times before – a piece of sea glass washed up on the shore, a pattern of footprints, or the colour of the sky.
For #26 steps we wanted to capture the essence of a journey by asking each writer to contribute a walk, together with a black and white photograph, a hand drawn map and a sestude – just 62 words to describe their experience, thoughts and inspirations.
The second stage takes a journey from the magical Giant’s Causeway, through Belfast, to the English Lake District and the tough Yorkshire Hills, to pause in the literary world of Oxford and through the alphabet from F to K.
Step 6: Feigh to Giant’s Causeway, Antrim by Aimee Chalmers
Step 7: Grey Point to Holywood, Belfast Lough by Gillian McKee
Step 8: Hawkshead to Ings, Lake Windermere by Carol McKay
Step 9: Ilkley to Jack Hill, Yorkshire by Emily Jeffrey-Barrett
Step 10: Jericho to Kennington, Oxford by Rebecca Dowman
Enjoy the photographs, maps and sestudes inspired by these walks.