Journal

Travel | Learning to walk </br>- with Jim Marsden

Travel Learning to walk
- with Jim Marsden

In our latest film HERE, friend of Millican, Jim Marsden, shows us nature through his eyes as we take a walk together along the coastline of St. Bees, just a stone's throw from Jim's favourite place, the Lake District. 

Jim is a photographer from Lancaster and a familiar face here at Millican. We asked the born and raised wanderer how his love of walking in the Lake District began.  

Words by Jim Marsden | @jimmarsdenphotography
Film stills by Sim Warren | @simwarren

'Know how to walk and you know how to live', suggests the author Stephen Graham in The Gentle Art of tramping. I have tramped, traipsed, bimbled, strolled, hiked, sauntered and wandered for over fourty years. But with all these years of footing it, do I really know how to walk beyond the simple mechanics of it? Can I learn how to walk better and in turn learn better how to live?

If Forest Gump was going somewhere, he was running. Throughout my early childhood in a car-less family of six, if I was going somewhere, I was walking. From school and back everyday, a 5 mile round trip in every kind of weather, to traipsing into town on a Saturday to help mum with the shopping, bulging Kwik Save bags cutting the circulation in my fingers on the trudge home, then Sunday morning was a smart stroll to Church for early mass with a quick-walk back to catch the last of the cartoons. Walking was at the centre of family life and I never considered it as anything other than simply how I travelled anywhere. Some years later the opportunity for my walking, and my relationship with walking, was to change during a family holiday.

If Forest Gump was going somewhere, he was running. Throughout my early childhood in a car-less family of six, if I was going somewhere, I was walking. From school and back everyday, a 5 mile round trip in every kind of weather, to traipsing into town on a Saturday to help mum with the shopping, bulging Kwik Save bags cutting the circulation in my fingers on the trudge home, then Sunday morning was a smart stroll to Church for early mass with a quick-walk back to catch the last of the cartoons. Walking was at the centre of family life and I never considered it as anything other than simply how I travelled anywhere. Some years later the opportunity for my walking, and my relationship with walking, was to change during a family holiday.

In the summer break of 1989 mum and dad filled the car with my sisters and me, a flask and sandwiches for the way and headed North. An hour and a half later we arrived at what I now hold as my heaven on earth, my place of retreat, my Shangri-la; the English Lake District. I found there a playground for the wanderer, a place to walk just for the pleasure of it, a place I now appreciate for the space both physically and mentally being there gives me. Ruth says in the film 'HERE' that 'nature is a really non-judgemental space where you can give up your worries to something bigger than you' and I have walked and left behind countless worries and memories in the mud and fells I have wandered for years.

I am still learning how to walk. I am more Tortoise than Hare, a Camel rather than a Horse; in it for the distance, not the dash. I want to take joy in the way itself rather than delay gratification for some peak or place down the path. Henri Cartier Bresson, one of the most important photographers of the 20th century said “To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It’s a way of life." I think walking maybe the same. Know how to walk, and you know how to live: with your head, your eye and your heart.

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