Faced with a day off and no plans 18 months ago, 29-year-old Vickie Maris from Chesterfield got into walking by accident. Next came trig-bagging – visiting the sites of the pillars on high ground the Ordnance Survey used to use for surveying – and now she’s tackling #walk1000miles in a whirlwind of walking activity. Tell us more Vickie!
How did you get into all this?
I had a day off work about 18 months ago and couldn't decide what to do with myself, so I set off in the car 4am, and when I got as far as the Welsh border I thought, mmmm, wonder how far away the famous Snowdon is. I did a little googling, programmed the sat nav and headed out. Loved it! I’d never been up a mountain before, and I loved the scenery, the sense of adventure, the crazy 'trig thing' at the top. I set out to Scafell on my next day off a month or so later, then Ben Nevis a month after that, did the Yorkshire Three Peaks a few months after that… and I just got hooked on and very curious about the peculiar 'trigs' everyone seemed to be posing for a photo with.
Then in March 2016 I came across #walk1000miles browsing Facebook and thought oo, another challenge, great, we'll have some of that.
How are you finding it?
Great! I did my 1000 miles March-October last year. I don’t expect to get to the target so quickly this year but I am getting out more regularly with my new mate Sadie the rescue dog who’s enjoying it too.
What does walking do for you?
I set out most of the time now knowing either with a trig in my sights and the reward of bagging it, or with absolutely no idea or where I’m headed, rambling across the moors with the reward of an adventure.
I love the fresh air, the lack of noise, knowing Sadie’s enjoying herself, and the sense of achievement when you’re stood by the trig after climbing High Wheeldon on all fours!
We all love getting to the top and touching the trig point – but collecting them is crazy. Discuss!
Everyone thinks I am raving mad! I sit with a few new OS maps, highlighting the trig points, then off out I go, on a 10-20 mile hike or we'll be driving along to maybe the airport or to see family and I’ll say ‘Stop the car! I’ll be back in 15 minutes' with the trigpointinguk app telling me there’s one just a mile away. It has become a crazy obsession.
I was even talking about starting to collect moulds of the flush brackets with a new trigpointing friend I met online that’s just as bonkers as me. You reach the top and they're sat there, cold & lonely, but with so much history, you buzz from the excitement because you can imagine men lugging the stuff up the hill, using it to map our entire country, setting their little tripods up on the top.
Like #walk1000miles it gives a little purpose to walking too, I can’t say I’ve walked the same path twice yet this year. It is going to get a little more tricky very soon though as I’ve nearly ticked off them all on the neighbouring OS maps...
How many have you ticked and what's the world of trig-bagging like?
I’m at 90. Hoping to double that figure this year. I’ve invited myself on a trigpoint bagging camping weekend with a bunch of trig baggers next month, I thought hey ho there’s obviously some folks just as nutty as me in the world and if you can’t beat em join em!
What's the oddest / most interesting / furthest places its taken you too so far?
Every walk is an adventure, I have a walking buddy, a friend and I always say to him I’m sure no one has as much fun as we do when we’re out. Scaling down a waterfall when we were a little 'lost' and trekking through seven-foot ferns taking a 'short cut'. Six foot fencing, angry farmers, gorgeous views, getting stuck in peat bogs, still laughing drenched to the bone.
Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye tick the oddest, interesting and furthest box. Beautiful crystal clear waters you can dive into, looks like a scene from the Little Mermaid, running down off the blackest angriest darkest mountains you’ve ever seen. Surreal place, short walk.
Do you have any other interests we should know about?
I make a point of trying everything once regardless of what it is or how much it scares me, I tell our kids the same thing – jump out of a plane, take a hike, wild camp, eat the worm, fly a plane, just go, try everything, take opportunities. I’m a vegan, I love gardening, I have a mini allotment, if I’m not working or walking I’m digging and singing to cabbages!