Our artist in residence receives prestigious poetry award

Well done to Alec Finlay who has received a Cholmondeley Award 2020 by The Society of Authors. This award recognises the achievement and distinction of poets.

Poem by Volunteer Walk Leader Janet Peattie

Alec has been working with several of our Walking for Health groups exploring place name meanings, ideas for poetry nest boxes and word walking sticks. 

Whilst lockdown stopped Alec working directly with walking groups, he quickly devised a Covid-19 creative toolkit full of ideas to bring the outdoors close to our hearts and minds. This toolkit has been used and appreciated by many of our Walking for Health projects.

Fran Crumley, Lomond Coordinator with Walk in the Park in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park shares how their walkers are benefiting from Alec’s ideas.

At Walk in the Park we felt it was important to offer our walkers different ways in which they could engage with each other, share experiences, remain connected to walking and support one another during lockdown.  In response to this we set our groups several creative tasks and have now compiled a wealth of material.

“As part of National Walking Month and Volunteers' Week in June we asked our walkers to share with us their route memories, what they love about walking, why they enjoy coming to our walking groups, and how they are keeping active at this time.”  

“Like many of us, Volunteer Walk Leader Eian Barrie has been undertaking his daily walk on a familiar local route. He has shared his experiences with us and highlights that, though his route may have become repetitive, he never finds it boring.”

I never make the same journey by Volunteer Walk Leader Eian Barrie

“My daily route is a walk from my house in the upper part of Helensburgh through a small wood to reach the Helensburgh Number 1 and 2 (upper) reservoirs, both of which I circumnavigate before a stroll around the old skating pond.

“I have become amazed, and delighted, to discover that this 2.7-mile walk, far from being boring and ‘samey’, changes almost daily thanks to the huge variety of wildlife.

“I have been fascinated to watch the comings and goings of a breeding pair of Tufted Ducks, a pair of Goosanders and many pairs of Mallards and Moorhens.

“There is also an abundance of wild bird species - Grey and Pied Wagtails, Sedge Warblers and ‘the usual’ Sparrows, Thrushes and Robins.

"I have been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a Green Hairstreak Butterfly among the fragrant gorse bushes around the upper reservoir.

“The views up to Glen Fruin and over to Loch Lomond from the upper reservoir can alter depending on the light, the weather and time of day, but they are always glorious.

“This fascinating area has shown me that, whilst I may walk the same route every day, I never make the same journey.”

Find out more about Creative Walking on our website.
Find out more about the Society of Authors Awards 2020 here.