Awe Inspiring Walks around the UK

Breathtaking views at the River Mawddach estuary, near Barmouth in Wales. Photograph: Nigel Hicks/Alamy

The Guardian newspaper lists 10 awe inspiring walks around the UK. September 2020.

Older adults who took weekly “awe walks” reported increased positive emotions and less distress in their daily lives, according to a study published in the journal Emotion.

Awe, a positive emotion triggered by an awareness of something much larger than the self – such as nature, art or a collective act from concerts to political marches – can enhance feelings of generosity, wellbeing and humility, according to researchers at the University of California and Trinity College, Dublin.

As well as health benefits, the researchers noticed differences in the walkers’ selfies, which increasingly showed their surroundings rather than themselves and measurably broader smiles towards the end of the eight-week study.

The lead author, Virginia Sturm, said: “Experiencing awe is such a simple practice – just taking a moment to look out the window or pausing to consider the technological marvels that surround us – and we now show it can have measurable effects on our emotional wellbeing.”

Here are 10 starters for your weekly awe walk.

1. Murlough Bay, Antrim coast, Northern Ireland

Many tourists know Antrim for the Giant’s Causeway but the spectacular coast either side is far less populated. The grandeur and vertiginous expanses of dolerite on the cliffs around Fair Head are coveted by rock climbers. Across the blue water lies Rathlin, Northern Ireland’s only inhabited island, Islay and the rounded hummocks that are the Paps of Jura. There’s a three-mile circular walk at Murlough Bay or the 33-mile Causeway Coast Way from Ballycastle in the east to Portstewart in the west.

Early morning sun illuminates the coastline of Murlough Bay, near the coastal town of Ballycastle.
Early morning sun illuminates the coastline of Murlough Bay, near the coastal town of Ballycastle. Photograph: Jason Friend Photography/Getty

2. Eigg, Scotland

A waterfall flows along a small gorge to form a still pool with almost infinity aspect out to sea, looking out eastward to the isle of Eigg.
A waterfall flows along a small gorge to form a still pool with almost infinity aspect out to sea, looking out eastward to the isle of Eigg. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

A waterfall flows along a small gorge to form a still pool with almost infinity aspect out to sea, looking out eastward to the isle of Eigg. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian
The inner Hebridean island of Eigg is nestled within the grand amphitheatre of the Highlands and the peaks of Skye. Most walkers head for An Sgúrr, a nose-like protuberance which gives Eigg its distinctive profile, but there’s another lovely walk along the ridge Beinn Bhuidhe, which ends in a formidable crescent of columnar basalt cliffs. Peace, space, hen harriers, and the awe-inspiring story of Eigg’s revival via community ownership (bringing affordable housing and a renewable energy grid) too. A waterfall flows along a small gorge to form a still pool with almost infinity aspect out to sea, looking out eastward to the isle of Eigg. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

The inner Hebridean island of Eigg is nestled within the grand amphitheatre of the Highlands and the peaks of Skye. Most walkers head for An Sgúrr, a nose-like protuberance which gives Eigg its distinctive profile, but there’s another lovely walk along the ridge Beinn Bhuidhe, which ends in a formidable crescent of columnar basalt cliffs. Peace, space, hen harriers, and the awe-inspiring story of Eigg’s revival via community ownership (bringing affordable housing and a renewable energy grid) too.

3. Morwenstow, Cornwall

View from Vicarage cliff near Morwenstow on the north Cornish coast.
View from Vicarage cliff near Morwenstow on the north Cornish coast. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Almost any stretch of the 630-mile South West Coast Path from Minehead, Somerset, to Poole Harbour, Dorset, will inspire awe. The dark granite cliffs either side of Morwenstow, north Cornwall, are perhaps the toughest of the path, with ascents along the 15-mile Hartland Quay to Bude stretch the equivalent to Ben Nevis. For easier awe, there’s a two-mile circuit from Morwenstow’s teashop to the cliffside wooden hut built by the eccentric Victorian vicar Robert Hawker.

Read more : https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/22/awe-inspiring-walks-nature-boost-wellbeing-scientists

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Responses

  1. Absolutely stunning views — I must say I do love a good walk to clear the mind! Will put some of those on my bucket list indeed.

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