partners collaboration working together

Partners Wanted For Diagonal Walking

A keystone of Diagonal Walking is the concept of ‘Walk With Me’, both physically and digitally. If it helps, think of it as me kicking up a cloud of both dust and digital code as I follow my line down from Crosby down to Dungeness. I’m on the lookout for more partners. As my previous blog has shown, it’s already been rewarding working with others, but there’s potential for more.

 

Calling Potential Partners

As part of this, I am keen to find partners who might be interested in my walk. Or in walking, or just exercise in general. They may be active in promoting their local area, a breakfast club for example, a tourist body or a radio station. Or they may have a more tangential interest, perhaps as a manufacturer of walking clothing or equipment, or a small hotel chain (I’ll be staying in a lot of hotels and Air BnBs). Local businesses might also want to get into the act. A local drone photographer, a pub or a shop for example. Or maybe they’ll just be interested in something they regard as, well …. interesting!

 

Swapping Not Selling

The point is, I want to be able to connect with as wide a variety of people and organisations as possible – that’s why the website has a ‘Connect’ rather than a ‘Contact Us’ tab.

So, am I looking for sponsorship? No, it is my intention, certainly as I write this at the outset to the whole project, to keep things ‘pure’ if you will. I see Diagonal Walking as more of a collaborative rather than a commercial venture. The sorts of partners I’m looking for will be happy to operate on a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ level. Think of it more as swapping than selling.

 

Working in Harmony

To me, partnerships need two willing partners working in harmony, meeting both joint and specific interests. I’ve just made that up, but I think it works.

For my part, a specific interest would include boosting the number of individuals walking with me in a digital sense. In other words, working with partners who can introduce me to people who want to follow me on one of the social media platforms. Or they may be partners who may be able to help in my wider mission of trying to understand what makes the country tick. Other specific interests may be more basic. Swapping a bed for the night in return for a talk to a local society for example.

Partners’ interests could vary from exposure of their business, filling a talking slot in the diary, promoting their town or region or simply being associated with an innovative project. I don’t want to limit peoples’ imaginations, but rather spark them.

If you think you’d like to partner up and be part of Diagonal Walking, simply use the Connect link to reach me, and let’s start a conversation.

 

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walking

Breathing Life Into Diagonal Walking

I first had the idea for Diagonal Walking as the basis of a walking book around ten years ago. I tried to pitch it to publishers, the logic being that it would describe a linear walk across a number of counties, thereby increasing the potential market. Most walking books tending to cover only one or two counties (your classic ‘Twenty Circular Walks in Anywhereshire’ book). Good though, but unfortunately, it wasn’t a great time for publishers. The so-called ‘Credit Crunch’ (remember that?) was hurting. Then there were pressures from printers as the shift to full colour from pure black and white took place. As such, it didn’t happen.

 

A Fresh Look

The idea was shelved, but towards the end of 2017, I reached up and blew the dust off it. Things had moved on. Not least the advent of social media. What had been a fairly analogue idea suddenly gained a fresh component. There was an opportunity to make this a three dimensional, more digital, project, involving both individuals and partners. ‘Walk With Me’ was born.

I dropped the idea into conversations with friends and family, and it began to spread like butter melting on a hot crumpet. The different elements of the idea, notably the route, ‘Walk With Me’, and the need to reconnect with what makes the country tick in a post-Brexit referendum world, all seemed to strike a chord. Suggestions were made and taken on board. It seemed I had a green light to take the idea to the next level.

 

Making It Real

Now, projects like this don’t just happen, but I was to be genuinely surprised by how quickly things did happen. Things got going in earnest in the new year, as I got a website designer on board, whose enthusiasm for the project was infectious (thanks Jigsaw Design). The next test was to see if the route was practicable, and if so how flexible I was going to have to be to make it work. I started with a trip to the library, where there was a full set of OS Explorer maps. Starting at the centre point of the walk in Fenny Drayton, I traced a finger along my proposed line. It worked. I opened the next map. It worked again.

A corridor of merely a mile or two either side of the line, miniscule in terms of the whole country, seemed to provide the necessary byways of footpaths, bridleways, towpaths and minor roads to move along the line. The next step was to work out which maps I needed to get to cover the whole route. There were eighteen of these and thanks be to eBay for reducing the cost here. With the exception of one or two obvious challenges (the runways of Luton airport being one of them), the same held for the entire route. It was do-able. How satisfying it was to draw a simple pencil line at forty-five degrees (arrived at using a protractor, an instrument I hadn’t touched for decades) down a number of OS maps.

 

Running, Not Walking

By now, I was almost waiting for the inevitable problem – things were surely going too swimmingly? But it didn’t come, I was running, not walking. I wanted the ‘Walk With Me’ element to cover podcasts and videos, so I contacted the local paragon of Higher Education, Bucks New University, and asked if the people on their Film and Broadcasting degrees were required to do practical exercises, and if so, could I please be one? It seemed they did, and I could. Within three weeks I had scripted and recorded the first three podcasts. I’d also scripted and filmed scenes for both the introductory website video and a longer one to start off a YouTube channel.

Within six weeks, the idea had taken on shape and begun to develop a momentum of its own. Things were getting real. Meanwhile, there was the small matter of fitness to consider. I regard myself as fairly fit – but ten miles a day fit? Um. Time to hit the treadmill, and get some advice courtesy of the good people at The Fitness Space.

 

The Next Steps (Quite Literally)

The next steps will involve setting an actual start date, probably in April, when the clocks change. Before the first step is taken however, I will need to research the first stages of the route and find people I can partner with. Also important will be the process of populating the social media with followers. Somehow just reaching out to family, friends and contacts isn’t going to cut it. I also need to learn how to create a podcast stream, and a YouTube channel. So far, it’s been terrific fun, and long may it continue, but I may need some help!

Keep checking these blogs to see how I get on, and of course, it you are a social media kind of person, please follow me on as many channels as you want.

Onwards and upwards!

 

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walking, boots, exercise,

Walking With Me

Walking with me in person is an important part of Diagonal Walking, and I actively welcome requests to walk part of the route with me. This may be for a short stretch, or longer, or maybe just to meet up and share a flask of coffee (I don’t do tea).

 

Where and When

 

The map on the How I Am Doing page will show you where I have already been, and an idea of the direction I’m heading in and how far I’ve got. If you follow the updates, blogs and podcasts, you will have a good idea of when I expect to be walking. Broadly speaking though, the route follows a line that starts just above Liverpool, goes through Stoke, Milton Keynes, Luton, the east of London and Maidstone, before ending up at Dungeness. The walk started in April 2018, with the first leg ending in Alsager in Staffs, where I expect to pick up the route in early May. The aim is to end around the end of September.

 

Next Steps

 

See what I did there? The best way to organise things is to contact me either via the Connect tab on the menu, or direct by email.

 

If you would like to be kept up to date with future blogs from this site, why not use the RSS feed on the main menu. For more information, click here.