With the safe return of 60 walkers on the Farnham Lions Heartstart walks, the 2019 Festival has come to a close.
Over 400 people enjoyed 800 walks between them. We walked 3,340 miles and tromped over footpaths, pavements, fields and stiles across the area. I have already offered a personal summary of the first week, but what are the overriding memories of the festival as a whole? I'll leave them to your own words. Thanks to the folks who have written in.
"I thoroughly enjoyed the water mills walk and to my shame realised I had been walking passed some of them for years not realising what they were."
"Just a quick note to thank you and David for the really fascinating walk on Monday afternoon. It really opened my eyes to Farnham Park. Thank you so much for organising. "
"Please thank Peter for his very interesting and enjoyable walk today on 'Trees in Central Farnham'. We look forward to future walks."
"Angus and I joined the walk through the Alice Holt Forest. It was WONDERFUL. We thought the guide was so good. Please pass our thanks on to everyone involved in the setting up, organising and communicating."
You obviously had a good time and we are happy to receive such nice comments. Can we send out thanks on your behalf to all the walk leaders who gave up their time and ran walks for the festival. There's a lot more to planning a walk than most people realise. The route has to be found, reconnoitred at least once and noted down. The research has to be done and the background, which often takes a lifetime to learn, has to be scripted. There are forms to complete and paperwork to be considered. We have at least one meeting to stitch the whole thing together, but if you're happy at the end, that makes it all worthwhile.
There are belly-splitting funny moments, times of great serenity and times of quiet inner satisfaction. Personally, there's nothing better to me than getting home after a good walk, changing boots for slippers and sitting down with a cup of tea. If I know that a number of other people have enjoyed the day out with me, that's all the reward I need.
So this is a post to say thanks to all the walk leaders, the organisers, the people behind the scenes - both volunteers and Council employees, but most of all this is a post to say thanks to you, the walker, for coming out with us. Without you, the festival would not happen.
Here's to a great year ahead and see you in May 2020 if not before.