Roger Allinson-French: Life’s Better in Hiking Boots

Forget about snowy peaks, challenging mountaineering routes and the Alps – Roger Allinson’s re-kindled love of the great British outdoors reminds us that the beauty and wonder of nature is there for everyone to enjoy, and it’s everywhere – even in Warwickshire! 

Roger Allinson spends every spare minute he has exploring the local countryside of Warwickshire, sometimes with family members in tow, but most of the time on his own. There are no huge mountains, no expanses of forest (he doesn’t need those) just meandering British countryside trails. He has clocked up no less than 35 Tours since he joined komoot last year, created 32 Highlights, and his motivation to document and share what he encounters on his exploits never wanes. We caught up with this British Pioneer to see what motivates him to get outside:

“As a teenager, I hiked and camped a lot. I loved to explore and discover new places. But life got busy, my energy became focused elsewhere and definitely not on my fitness and waistline! In 2017 I realized that I needed to make a change, lose weight for once and for all and get fitter. So I started walking again and it was a like a new lease of life. It has changed everything.

“Now if I’m not out and about for more than a couple of days, I miss it, I get restless and start planning the next walk in my head, and on komoot.”

I feel so exhilarated when I’m out walking, even if I’ve walked the same route ten times already, I’m often taken aback at how different the landscape can appear due to changing light, the time of year, or the weather.

Sharing what I see on komoot is my way of showing this to other people and hopefully inspires them to just get outside too.”

“I live in North Warwickshire right in the middle of England, in a small rural village pretty close the border of three surrounding counties; Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Leicestershire. There’s a beautiful church and a cozy pub right across the field that backs onto my garden, and there are some really nice walks right on my doorstep.

North Warwickshire might not be on the radar when it comes to tourists visiting the UK for hiking and walking holidays, it’s about as far from the coast you can get, and it’s quite flat – but it’s still worth a visit. Within five miles of my home, there are spectacular views looking out at the various church spires that are dotted throughout the countryside, and there are plenty of peaceful canals to follow and let guide your way. I’d also recommend my locality as a base for visiting the Peak District to the north, Cannock Chase to the west or Sherwood Forest to the east.

My favorite area for walking is between Moira and Breedon on the Hill, both spots were inspirations for places in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Nearby there are historic castles and buildings, Tamworth castle is the historic capital of the kingdom of Mercia. Bosworth Battlefield also has a few nice walks, one of which has information boards along the way. Halfway around the Bosworth battlefield trail is Shenton station which is on the only British Rail mainline route to still operate steam trains as part of the regularly scheduled service.”

Slowing Down

“With a busy life, being able to slow down at weekends and in the evenings helps me cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life. I do appreciate why others enjoy cycling or running but for me, the ability to stop and take in a view and see it go past slowly with each twist or turn suits me better. Of course I’ll always say hello to other walkers and pass the time of day and it’s great to see others enjoying the countryside that I love, but for me the ability to just arrive somewhere on my own, without relying on anyone else, or needing to keep to any arrangements and make it up as I go alone, to wander and meander in any direction I choose for as long as I choose – is a great way to spend the day.

“I love the solitude of walking alone and discovering places at a slow pace – the solitude of being in the middle of nowhere with not a soul to be seen in any direction.”

When I took up hiking again in early 2017 I spent a lot of time looking for walks and trails to follow, sure it was great walking around my village to get fit, but I wanted to discover new places. I found it very difficult to find good well-marked walking routes near me, 30 miles away in any direction there were loads but near my home there are very little, if any. Komoot has been a huge aid in the discovery and exploration of new ways and routes I’d never have known existed.”

Roger’s Favourite Walks and Inspiring Tips

“I’ve enjoyed many of the Tours I recorded in komoot, some of the more spectacular views are along the Cornish coast, and my biggest sense of achievement since I started back walking was my trek up Snowdon via the Pyg & Miners’ trails.

These though, are well-known and popular walks or trails, so one of the lesser known walks I really enjoyed was from Staunton Harold Reservoir through Calke Abbey. It was just a stunning walk along the water, and the Abbey and park are breathtaking:

Dodman Point on the Roseland peninsula in Cornwall was my first Highlight on komoot and still is one of my favorites. This sits right at the edge of the Roseland peninsula at the top of a cliff looking out across rugged cliffs at the sea on 3 sides and is marked by a large stone cross, the base of which is the lunch stop for many walkers.”

“Dodman point is absolutely stunning – watching the sun rise over the sea is breathtaking. It is, quite simply, one of my favorite places in the world.”

Exploring What’s on Your Doorstep

“As with any passionate outdoor enthusiast, Roger has a bucket list of walks he would like to tick off, but he doesn’t feel like he needs to stray far from home. “The nearby Peak District has many many great walks that I would also really like to do. Top of the list is Kinder Scout. Partly for the history of the place – it’s where the ‘Great Trespass’ of 1932 took place: 400 people walked across the land to bring attention to ‘right to roam’ laws. This led to changes in British law giving common folk access to the land and leading to the formation of the British Ramblers Association and the British National parks.

I would also love to go back and walk the start of Pennine Way. When I was 16, I did this with a group of friends but back then, I didn’t realize it was any different from any other day’s walking. So I’d love to go back and walk it again now that I’m more conscious of where I am and the significance of the route I’m following.”

Roger shows us that we don’t need to stray far from home to experience what nature and the great outdoors has to offer. You just need a little creativity, plenty of curiosity and an open mind.

To find out more about how to become a Pioneer like Roger, click here.