It”s been a few months since I wrote a proper post on my blog. I haven’t been out and about any less than usual, in fact I’ve been out walking and exploring more than I have for quite a long time. But life has changed considerably over the last year, mostly for the better.
If I’m honest, 2021 got off to a really rocky start. I was teaching in an SEN school and when I went back after the Christmas break everything just fell apart. I struggled to cope with the pressure of pandemic teaching and although I initially took a break it quickly became apparent that I would not be able to return to work. The final lockdown, when we were deprived of access to wild places completely, was the final straw. Dartmoor and the wild coast of south Devon were out of bounds. The places I could withdraw to in order to reinvigorate and rebuild my strength were taken away. Without being able to howl with the wind I was lost. I gave my notice to finish at Easter and started to think about what I might do next.
The answer came slowly. I started to finish some bits of writing about my favourite places and decided to draw some maps to go with them, asking my friend Kev to add some verse to retell the stories surrounding them. Bereft of my beloved Dartmoor, I instead went on urban explorations with my friend and neighbour Victoria and together we started to find out more about the tales in our immediate area. It didn’t take long before we had merged our interests into a fledgling business. Taleblazers was born, and it’s going so well that we’ve even added my friend Sue to help drive the education side. We’re a positive, energetic group and I’m thriving off the energy we’re generating.
Together we do all kinds of work: we research and retell stories and folklore, create maps, lead guided walks and education workshops, and pretty much anything else that catches our interest. We get involved in anything that interests us and we don’t do anything that doesn’t. My main contribution is the programmes that I run for students with special educational needs, helping young people to better manage their everyday lives by taking them out to explore the coast and moors. The landscape has a powerful rejuvenating effect on us all, and companionship in it builds trust and empathy. We soon learn to navigate the wilderness together.