It’s so great to be back in the UK after four long years away. We’re three shows in to the tour and everything is going splendidly. Tonight we play in Cooksbridge at Beechwood Hall where our dear friends at Union Music Store are putting on the show. Stevie and Jamie Freeman have been supporting us on our UK adventures since our first tour in 2011. I can’t wait to see them!
In addition to reconnecting with old friends, one of the best things about touring here is the beautiful scenery. The first time our band came to England, I was blown away by the vast amounts of green space. I had pictured an island packed with people, partly because I had never been outside of London before.
On that first tour I also discovered that the UK has a huge network of “Footpaths” which crisscross the country, through farmland and little villages, along roadsides and along creeks and rivers. Essentially, this land is a runner’s paradise.
There’s an intuition to outdoor running – allowing yourself to follow subtle signs to lead you toward nature and interesting paths, away from busy intersections into lush residential areas. In my opinion, it’s the perfect way to explore when you have little time to be a tourist (i.e. when you’re on the road and need to leave the hotel at 10 am to make it to the next venue). I can almost always find my way to a green space or park, especially with the help of a kind hotel clerk or friendly stranger.
I’m an avid runner – not a competitive one, just somebody who enjoys the endorphin high of running outside. For me, it’s the best way to stay healthy and sane in my daily life, and luckily it’s easy to pack running shoes into a suitcase. In fact, some of the most scenic and engaging runs of my life have been while I’ve been on the road.
I love the Footpath system. For the most part, these trails take you away from busy streets and into the woodlands and farms nearby. If you have the time, you can make your way to the next town and back without having to be on a road. And here’s the best part about the Footpaths: there are no scary animals to threaten your existence, unless you plan to piss off some cow grazing in a field. For that reason, I’ve never run a personal best in England. I’m much more likely to run faster in interior BC, with the fear of a bear or cougar at my back!
If you’d like to learn more:
The Open Spaces Society advocates for the free and unencumbered use of footpaths across the UK.
Walks Around Britain has detailed maps of the footpath network across Britain.
If you’re in England, or family here, help us spread the word! We have four more shows here in England before we fly to Germany next week. Check out our tour dates HERE!!!!
Hope to see you out there!