First Person - with Allan Crow

Allan Crow
Allan Crow

I’VE taken up walking, much to the surprise of assorted friends who know me as one of life’s sloths.

The total amount of exercise and sporting effort I’ve tackled since leaving school some 33 years ago can probably be summed up thus: a dozen rounds of golf, couple of swims, and a few frames of snooker.

I’ve never set foot inside a gym, and wouldn’t know what to do if I stepped on a treadmill. Whatever that is ...

Lifting weights and working out? With my back?! Are you serious?

Jogging? If I want to go that far, I’ll jump in the car and arrive relaxed rather than wheezing and slavering like a dug.

The only training I’ve ever done is to jump on the odd Scotrail express to Edinburgh.

The more the Scottish Government tells me to get fit, the more I settle my lardy backside on the sofa with a bag of Dorritos and a generous glass of red.

So, news of my sudden burst of physical activity had friends rolling about the floor helpless with laughter.

I admit going from doing absolutely hee-haw for 33 years to walking the coastal path is one giant leap for mankind - or this lazy bit of mankind, at least - but I think I’ve convinced them I haven’t turned into some sort of strange Forrest Gump character who, one day, just got up and thought ‘‘ach I’ll go for a walk...’’ and kept on walking.

The fact I said I was doing it and then did nothing for , oh, four months, added to the general hilarity and mickey taking.

A pal who runs, cycles and swims at the same time - well, one after the other as to do all three simultaneously would be a braw circus act - gave me a training and planning manual that was slightly more detailed than my original version. It simply said ‘‘turn up and remember to bring your trainers.’’

Apparently this isn’t how serious athletes do it.

It also transpired those much more committed than me also go out regardless of the weather.

I took one look at the snow which fell in January and abandoned any notion of venturing outside.

January became February and then March , and before I knew it, April had dawned just as dreich and miserable. There was no way I was going out in the rain ... or the cold ... or the snow.

In that time I did prepare.

I bought new laces for my boots, and a pedometer which tells me how many calories I have burned, how many steps I’ve taken and how many kilometres I have walked. It probably even takes my temperature as well.

Eventually I got to the ‘‘look bud, you really need to get a shift on’’ stage which I am sure even elite athletes like Chris Hoy will recongise.

And so I stepped outside, and started walking.

First it was to Seafield Tower and back - 8km.

Then it was up to Dysart and back - nice and easy.

Re-assured that this ‘left foot in front of right foot and repeat’ malarkey was actually pretty simple, I’ve since clocked up some decent distances without actually going that far - Kinghorn, Dysart, and West Wemyss to name but three stops.

Okay, I cheated at West Wemyss, but the bus was right outside the cafe and it was too good to resist hopping on.

I’ve bumped into loads of folk in the middle of nowhere, savoured some wonderful views and countryside, seen parts of Fife I haven’t visited before, taken some braw pics, visited some smashing cafes and actually enjoyed this great outdoors stuff.

All I need is an ipod to provide a perfect soundtrack and I will happily amble along with my rucksack and bobble hat.

My plan now is to venture further and further up the coast and into darkest north-east Fife before doing it all in a oner later this year.

Oh, and did I mention I’m looking for sponsors? All shall be revealed later, but feel free to sponsor me by the mile ... by the stumble and quite possibly by the wheeze ...