Another installment of Kate Cunningham’s Confessions of a Converted Pedestrian….

It was going so well. Striding through Pollok Country Park with my beloved dogs, delighting in the trees and the seasons and all the happy things that naturally outdoor people talk about. Then winter came and took some of the joy out of it if I’m honest. Driving rain is fine if you’ve nothing else to do that day and are heading home to dry off. This is the case with most ‘bad’ weather in fact. It is hard to walk through a gale for an hour and then do anything else that requires you look professional or in any way dignified. Compounding this is the shortness of the Scottish winter day.

It is my preference to take a long walk every day by taking my dogs to the park, allowing them to run free. But for two or three months of the year it is dark around 4pm and this makes it difficult to fit in a walk every day. Early isn’t good for me and daytime can be good, but work can swallow the whole afternoon and suddenly its pitch black and options are few. Parks are off limits to women in the dark and many streets are not much better. This makes me sad for many reasons and I wonder what a walking group might look like if I was to create one. A few more bodies might make darkness feel safer and increase walking options. The time is coming when we will need to give some thought to this issue. If Scottish women and children are going to get more active we need to find safe ways and places for them to do this in the dark of a winter evening, which can be half of our year. Months of inactivity will add up to poorer outcomes and suddenly we are back where we started. I’m ready to help change the debate if we can come up with some solutions. Any ideas? Let me know!


– Kate Cunningham