Mystery walkers

You may have heard of “mystery shoppers”, people who pretend to be a normal customer. They ask questions, behave in a certain way or register complaints, then go home and write a report about their experiences.

Now Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity, is looking for a related species: mystery walkers! How cool is that?

Public footpath sign, Alvechurch

Mystery Walkers Welcome!

When I read the term “mystery walker” my mind started to make up scenarios that wouldn’t be amiss in a suspense thriller: Walk along lonely streets at midnight or through abandoned industrial estates, until I read on and found out that it is not that mysterious an activity:

The idea is for people to do a 3-5 mile walk from an assigned grid square before carrying out a short survey of the paths they walk. Ramblers then analyzes the received data and creates a map indicating the best places to walk and places that need improvement.

There are various reasons for this project. Firstly, the simple act of walking these paths helps to keep them open. Secondly, a report is a proof that people are using it. Thirdly, the highway authority will become aware of the state of neglected paths. Finally, local council staff can be encouraged to take action thanks to a good report.

Ramblers is convinced that there is a connection between the quality of the path and the enjoyment of the walk – I’ll sign that anytime.

Anyway, this “mystery walking” sounds like a sensible thing to me, and it could be good fun, too! I don’t know if there is a kind of compensation, although I doubt it. But, just imagine your next party small talk: “So what do you do for a living?” – “I’m an accountant. And oh, I’m also a mystery walker!”

Here is the link to Ramblers:

http://www.ramblers.org.uk/Campaigns+Policy/Mystery+Walker

On the same page you will also find the registration link. And if you have already had your debut as a mystery walker, please share your story with us!

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