I would walk 500 miles …

… although, with all due respect to the Proclaimers and the catchy 1988 hit from one of Scotland’s favourite bands, not to mention my obsesson with all things ambulatory, driving 500 miles is a lot easier. Especially if the route in question is the North Coast 500 — a circuit at the top of Scotland…

Running the Rideau

It was Race Weekend in Ottawa this past Saturday, an annual running extravaganza built around a marathon and several shorter distance races, but even though I love running, I opted for a solo — and longer — adventure. On Saturday morning, I took a VIA train to Smiths Falls, about 50 minutes south of the…

Walking on water

When I got my first stand up paddle board last August — an inflatable from Ottawa-based Level Six via MEC — the water in the city’s Rideau River was already fairly low. It would have been impossible to paddle from the put-in spot near my house to the terminus, where it tumbles into the Ottawa River, without scraping along…

The joy of rambling (in the UK)

My dream day begins like this: wake up early, but not too early, in a small hotel beside the sea. My body is sore (but not too sore) from walking from dawn until dusk the day before to get here. I pack my bag and take it to the lobby, where the luggage fairies will…

Awards and anthology

It’s a thrill to announce that Born to Walk is a finalist in the non-fiction category at this year’s Ottawa Book Awards. The other titles on the shortlist are Children of the Broken Treaty, by NDP Member of Parliament Charlie Angus, a pair of historical works by Carleton professors Tim Cook and Norman Hillmer, and Roy MacGregor’s…

Trespassing Across America

Back in my magazine editing days, we received a story pitch from a photographer who planned to fly atop the entire route of the proposed Gateway pipeline, from Alberta to the British Columbia coast. The photographer, a Canadian member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, wanted to document the landscape that would have been impacted by…

Spring walk

“Tired of winter and can’t wait to get out and smell the fresh earth and hear the first sounds of spring? There couldn’t be a better way to experience spring’s emergence than a walk in the woods.” So say the good folks at the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, who have invited me to do a walk…

Summer hikes

When you spend a lot of your time writing about walking, people often ask about your favourite places to walk. Typically, they’re thinking about hiking trails — rugged multi-day treks such as British Columbia’s West Coast Trail or Ontario’s Bruce Trail. Page-turner books like Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods have done a…