A.J. Walker


Nearly 40 Miles

This week’s summary (ending 26/9): I hit 91,870 steps equivalent (i.e. adding the cycling to the walks), which is good going. And I can very much feel the difference between how the muscles are affected by riding compared to walking - and I’m getting faster. My thighs on Friday and Saturday were still feeling the effects of nearly 40 miles of cycling. Not bad work last week after going from no cycling for thirty odd years. Ultimately I may end up having days when most my ‘steps’ are equivalent ones from cycling rather than actual walking. This week the cycling made up about a third of my leg work. The actual steps last week were 28.4 miles (60,965 steps) and the cycling was about 39.5 miles.

Canal 1

Been riding along canal pathways mostly and trying to limit the roads, which at the moment has been okay. I dare say it'll be less attractive soon as the morning and nighttime extends. Haven't done wet weather yet. Some of the cobbled surfaces could be a bit fun on a wet or frosty day. May end up combining some rail soon.


Week’s details (steps equivalent with walking and cycling combined):
Distance: 42.8 miles
Steps: 91,870k
Average Daily Distance: 6.1 miles
Average Steps: 13.1k

One nice thing about the cycling – apart from added fitness – is seeing some nice countryside and wildlife.

Maghull Bridge1

Onwards and Alongwards.

Walk On & Ride On

Well last week became a bit different for me; because I started riding a bike as well as walking. First time in a saddle for decades. In any case I exceeded my weekly goal of 56k steps with just the walking, but together with the riding did even better. I had four days walking into Liverpool and those four days equated to between 12.8 and 13.9k steps per day. And there were three days when I did not get up to the 8k steps average goal. I’ve found a fudge factor to address the equivalent for cycling to steps so I could add the numbers up (I’ve used 110 steps/minute at this point).

This week’s summary (
ending 19/9) I hit c.74,589 steps, which is pretty damn fine. And I can feel the difference between how the muscles are affected by riding compared to walking - and day on day I’ve got faster on the bike without trying (though this may also be that the tyres were better inflated too). Initially I’m going to try going out on the bike three times a week. Let’s see how that goes. Ultimately I may end up having days when most my ‘steps’ are equivalent ones from cycling rather than actual steps. We shall see.

Week’s details:
Distance: 34.7 miles
Steps 74.6k
Average Daily Distance: 4.96 miles
Average Steps: 10.7k

Onwards and Alongwards.

Spot On Walk On

Not quite as good as last week for the walking. But got one long one sorted on Saturday with my walk to Neptune brewery so overall I only just got to 56k steps for the week. The Saturday walk of about 18k steps made all the difference. Started slowly this week too but should get there again this week with two or three four miles plus walks.

This week (
ending 12/9) I hit c.56k steps.

Week’s details:
Distance: 26.3 miles
Steps 56.5k
Average Daily Distance: 3.8 miles
Average Steps: 8k

Onwards and Alongwards.

A Cigar!

Did better with my walking last week, though life got in the way during the week the bulk was largely from just the Saturday and Sunday. My aim for 8k/day (56k/week) was achieved - indeed exceeded: huzzah!

This week (
ending 5/9) I hit c.63k steps.

Week’s details:
Distance: 29.7 miles
Steps 63.7k
Average Daily Distance: 4.2 miles
Average Steps: 9.1k

Onwards and Alongwards.

Close: But Not Quite A Cigar

Not done as well with my walking over the last two weeks. My aim for 8k/day (56k/week) has not been achieved over this fortnight.

Last week (ending 22/8) I hit c.53k steps.

Week’s details:
Distance: 24.7 miles
Steps 52.9k
Average Daily Distance: 3.5 miles
Average Steps: 7.5k

This week has been quite similar. That’s partly been due to some constraints from dealing with personal things like the sale of our parent’s house and whatnot that have stopped some of the walking.

This week’s details (w/e 29/8):
Distance: 25.6 miles
Steps 54.9k
Average Daily Distance: 3.6 miles
Average Steps: 7.8k

Okay, the last two weeks have not quite been up to the average I have wanted but then again it is all a question of perspective. If I step back and look at the entire month of August then I hit a quarter of a million steps for the month (117 miles). That sounds quite good all things considered. It also equates to 8.4k steps per day which is above what I aimed for: and is more than I achieved in May, June or July.

So you know it still is: Onwards and Upwards (and Alongwards).

More Alongwards

Continuing with my goal of 56k steps per week and actually hit the other arbitrary 10k steps per day. Well done me. This was largely through walking into town on four days of the week. Won't be hitting any kind of target like that this week I am sure.

Week’s details:
32 miles
Average Distance:
4.7 miles
Average Steps:

Onwards and Alongwards.

Walking: Keeping It Up

Walking: Keeping It Up and 80,000 Bodies

Did alright with my steps last week after a very short Monday. My quest for an average of 8k steps per day (56k a week) was hit with four days above 8 and 3 below. The week hit a little over 60k despite a few off-puttingly wet days at the back end of the week.

The luckiest days was Saturday when the deluge seemed to be constant for hours and set in. Suddenly stopped and I got a 3.5 mile walk in: to a brewery. Win-win. Second only to the ale was staying dry for the entire walk. Oh and bumping into some friends. Win-win-win.

Wild Flowers at Walton Hall Park

Green Algae and a Coot

Bank Hall Station

One of the things about making sure I get the distance in is that I am walking down roads or in areas I wouldn’t normally go. Once this week I got off the bus five stops early as I could see the rain and stopped and it looked like it would stay dry for a bit. I took the opportunity to walk onto Grant Gardens for the first time. I only discovered relatively recently that the small grassed park was actually formerly a massive cemetery called Liverpool Necropolis and that within it’s relatively small confines 80,000 people are thought to have been buried. There is little evidence of its history there now. There is one small monument which states “In Memory of James and Mary Johnson’ but doesn’t have dates on it or any information in relation to the ‘Gardens’. As a flat grassed area with a road through the middle of it ‘Gardens’ harks back to a past when it really was. If I wasn’t trying to walk more then I wouldn’t have got off the bus at the point and wouldn’t have walked onto the park. Does make you think about what we don’t know about the areas we drive or walk past every day.

From what I’ve seen on Wikipedia and a couple of other sites Liverpool Necropolis occupied about 5 acres and operated between 1825 and 1898. It was reopened 16 years later (1914) as a park: ‘Grant Gardens.’ It was closed in 1898 as it had reached capacity (80,000 bodies) and was creating ‘unsanitary conditions’ to the surrounding area: Victorian terraces backed straight up against it. It was named Grant Gardens after the Alderman for Parks and Gardens Committee at the time of its creation. A bit egotistical if you ask me.

Memorial at Grant Gardens

Grant Gardens

Anyway, where ever I am walking it does give me the opportunity to take some photos - always a bonus. And maybe learn more about the places I walk through.

Week’s details:
28 miles
Average Distance:
4 miles
Average Steps:

Onwards and Alongwards.


After my blog last week saying that I intended to return to doing at least 8k steps per day average in a week (i.e. 56k) I smashed it last week. Every day was above 8k which makes it easy to keep on top of. In actual fact last week my figures were:

43.77 miles
Average Distance:
6.25 miles
Average Steps:

Smashed it. Easy hey?

Recording the walk into the city

Cloud and sunshine above Liverpool

A quiet Loop Line on my Sunday walk

Well, on Monday this new week didn’t start quite as well (by a long chalk) with a paltry
1.3k steps. I’d said I’d walk a mile and half to a bus stop but I ended up with a lift home instead: while it was good in terms of getting home quickly it ballsed my walking up a bit. But on Tuesday things have improved. It was over 15k steps, which has got my average back up at the 8k over the two days. But it goes to show if you miss it with one nothingy day then you will be requiring some decent catch up on subsequent days - and if you had two quiet days (or, god forbid, more six day isolation requirements) then it’d be easy to really struggle to achieve the goal - unless you really forced yourself. It’s easier not to do than do, but really it’s not that difficult to do either if you really want to.

Onwards and Upwards… or at least Onwards and Alongwards.

Doing the Loop

Living in the north of Liverpool walking options with nice vistas or architecture are decidedly limited. If you are trying to walk daily do you really want to circle the same park multiple times just to have a nice environment? It would get a bit much to walk the same walk all the time. I’ve been walking to and around Walton Hall Park quite regularly lately. And it’s nice enough, but it’s nice to switch it up.

From the direction I come from I walk under an old rail bridge and enter the park at the corner beside it. The bridge, over the East Lancs road, is part of the old Loop Line. Like so many railways in the 60s it closed down (in 1964). The way it sweeps from the south from Hunts Cross north to Aintree it in some ways mimics the Queens Drive circular (or quarter circle in reality). It has been turned it to a footpath/cycle way which forms part of several routes. Work started on the path in 1988 with the last section by Aintree finished in 2000.

Walking on the Loop Line (remain vigilant for bikes when taking selfies)

Part of the northern section (which I am yet to visit) goes through railway land where I used to walk with my grandparent’s dog, Patches, in the 1970s. There’s probably a blue plaque for that somewhere there.

Anyway, on Friday I went for a walk starting at home with no real plan of where I would end up. But I did think I’d take a look at the Loop. Really glad I did. Makes such a refreshing change in North Liverpool walking around so much greenery and away from busy roads or housing estates. I kept walking and walking, eventually getting to a point where it would have been as far to walk back as it would to finish the whole thing. Of course I could have got off somewhere and worked out how to get (multiple) buses home. It was lovely day though, the sun was out, there were lots on people on bikes and a running event. It was Good Friday.

Platforms at West Derby Station

It was lovely to see the trees and greenery, to see the sandstone cuttings of the railway and the old station and platforms at West Derby. In the end I got to Hunts Cross which was a 9.2 mile walk from my house without getting hit by any of the bike riders (although there were a couple of close calls) or runners (many of who were running at my walking pace). Pretty good few hours.

West Derby Station

The age old problem with linear walks of course is getting back. From the end of the walk it would be a minimum of three buses (as far as I could tell on maps) or a train and a bus. I went for the latter option as a train was just due in as I got to the station. A train to Liverpool Central and then a No.17 back. Sorted. When planning (or in this case not planning) a walk the time built in to get back is potentially important. All in all that 9 miles with transport back took me around 4 hours, which is a fair chunk of anyone’s day. But it was a Bank Holiday: and it was definitely worth it. I’ll be in the Loop again soon. I'll have to do the bit to the north too at some point. It's shorter than going to Hunts Cross and while I wouldn't anticipate it being as nice an area to walk I can turn the walk into a circular and save on the wait for trains and buses.

The path is long (just under 11 miles from start to finish). Rare is the moment there's no-one around.


Subsequent to doing the walk I read some things about it online. The path forms part of the National Cycle Network - Route 62. The whole route goes from Fleetwood to Selby. That would take a few pairs of socks. The worst thing I read was that in 2012, somewhere near where I got onto the walk by Walton Hall Park, a body was found on the embankment by a dog walker. The body was of a missing woman, Paula Hounslea and the murderer has never been found. The case remains open. I only want to find bluebells, crocuses, butterflies, and mushrooms, please. No bodies.

Gardens: Homes and Festival

After going out to do a shop down the Asda today I decided to go around to a mate’s for a coffee - now that we can go around to people’s gardens. Tried calling and didn’t get an answer, but I knew if he wasn’t in there was a good chance he’d be back in a while. And in any case, even if not, I could go for a nice walk through the Festival Gardens to Otterspool Prom. A nice change of route. Turned out my friend wasn’t in so the walk option was a good call.

Flyaway pandemic hair

It was a very nice walk. Bit wind blown with my hair being a little bit much at the mo. But it was a blue sky day. Lots of people about especially at the Otterspool end. The queues for the cafe were mad! Grabbed a coffee at a van half way along. - on the edge of the Garden site.

Sculpture in the Garden Festival site

Heron contemplating lunch
Picked up a few nice photos along the way.

The choppy Mersey

Ended up being a 3.62 mile walk according to Runkeeper. So I blitzed my 8k steps by lunchtime. Result.

End of a nice walk in blossoming trees

It was good to the car at my mate’s. They had just returned. So I got a couple of cups of coffee and a butty and had a good chinwag. It was good to see my mates for the first time this year (not counting Zoom). And good to show them I’m okay so they hopefully aren’t over worried by my situation. No doubt will do it again soon. Great to have the option. Onwards and upwards.


Rather Random Target

Over the last few weeks I've been off work. Work is a very intensive day and involves lots of walking, some stairs, some panicking and a lot of thinking 'how the hell can I find another job'. So not being in work makes it dangerously easy to stop the exercise inadvertently.

With the issues with my health at the moment being a little unknown I'v set myself the rather random target of
8000 steps per day. It's lower than the arbitrary 10k steps cited by multitudes of people. Of course those targets are as made up and pretty useless as the 5-a-day nonsense. Basically you know if you are doing enough each day or you're just pushing the sofa indentation to its limits, just like you know if you've only eaten crap all day. So I am happy with my current unscientific Rather Random Target.

Canada Goose WHP
The Canadian Geese like Walton Hall Park too

Over the last twelve days I've achieved this each and every day. In fact my average daily steps are over this time has been 11k steps - which in old money equates to about 5 miles a day. I've been lucky with the weather in this time. There's not been any days with incessant rain, and some days have been lovely. Taken to walking to Walton Hall Park, where I used to do my 5k jogging practice, which is my nearest at about a mile away. If I do just one lap of the park my walk to and from the park is longer than the walk in it. But if I feel like it I can do a couple of circuits, which gets the numbers up whilst giving me nice vistas of trees, and water and the sound of birds - which has got to be better than walking around housing and industrial estates - for the head if nothing else.

Back in the day when I used to do the 5km Park Runs and whatnot I started using
Runkeeper. I've gone back to this now. Handily, whilst it's called Runkeeper it is great for any activity which may involve you moving from A to B - including walking. It's great to keep track of the bigger activities with it mapping out where you went and giving you your time and splits etc. Could help some people with motivation but in this instance it is just a recording tool really (which makes nice maps). On top of that for the entire day record my £40 smartwatch shows me what my total daily steps are too.


I've also been going to the B&M and Iceland around the corner on foot. It's a round trip of a mile and in the past I'd (sadly) have driven it rather than walk it. Though I'd have put off going until I need a few things. Now I'm happy to walk all the way to B&M for a loaf of bread, just to keep the legs going and get the fresh air (that said I can also pick up bottles of Oakham 'Citra' or Wickwar 'Platform 6.1' too).

Spring has sprung in Liverpool

Podcasts have accompanied many of my walks, though my last couple I've gone without the headphones. Though with my flyway hair yesterday it was worth putting the headphones on just to control my hair a little; I was seriously considering
Brylcream or gel yesterday - God, I can't wait for the barbers to reopen. Thankfully it IS only three weeks until they can return. Hallelujah!

Flyaway hair aka Pandemic Hair - one side effect of lockdown

Anyway. May my 5+miles per day continue. It will be interesting to see if I can force myself to do it in the rain. Though I suspect I may just wear a hole in the carpet walking up and down. In the meantime feel free to use my RRT if you think it'll be more useful to you than that 10k nonsense.

Strolling Podcasting

Whilst I've had a few weeks off I've had to keep up with keeping some level of fitness up - especially in my legs. To that end I've made sure I've been getting 8000 steps+ a day into them for the last week. Last week I was doing 5000 a day on average. This week I've been up beyond 10000, which I'm happy with.

I've a little circular walk around mine along Long Lane and back down Lower Lane. It works out around 4.7km, which is a nice (almost) round number. It's not the prettiest route, but it's straight out of the house without any travel required. I've done it three times now and will no doubt be doing it quite a few times more. The time is not important, it is not a race.

There's not to much photogenic on the Long Lane Circuit.

But I'll try and take some shot when I can.

Whilst it is not a pretty walk the location straight out the door and the distance is spot on. And best of all it has been great for getting back to podcasts. When I was working in Wales I'd listen to a podcast or two with the commute time on the way there and back. I've been working more locally lately with no time for any podcasts. These fifty minute walks have got me back on my old favourite podcasts. It's been great to catch up with some of the New York Times Book Review Podcast. If you like books and intelligent discussion about all types of them then I can do nought but thoroughly recommend it.


I've got loads of the NYT Book Reviews to dip into as and when. And I'm looking forward to listening to more Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry and Something Rhymes with Purple. The fifty minutes of walking will be good for my legs and good for my head.