Peak & Northern Footpaths Society (est.1894)

Walking the Write Way

Dave Rigby

This article is from Signpost 52, Autumn 2016

I can’t remember when it started – maybe I’ve always done it. Making up stories as I walk!

So there I am, on a footpath, winding up a hillside, listening to the wind in the trees. Part of me is thinking about the walk and wondering what happens at the top of the hill, or how long I’ll manage to wait before I start on the sandwiches. But another part of me is not quite there on the hillside. A couple of characters may be slowly taking shape in my mind, a bit indistinct to start with, but they gradually fill out. Or a plotline begins to develop. Most of these thoughts can stay in my head until they’re needed, but now and then I’ll have to stop and jot something down in the notebook that lives in my rucksack.

It was round about the time I started walking with PNFS that I started writing – well, what they call creative writing, to distinguish it from things like writing long and boring reports for work. I’d done plenty of those, but I had to unlearn that way of writing. I went on a course at the local college and began to write short stories. It took a while, but eventually I managed to produce something that was long enough to count as a book.

And this is where the walking helps. It stimulates the writing - something to do with how I feel when I’m out there, that mix of landscape, weather, fresh air, physical exercise and of course the company of fellow PNFS walkers! All this provides the spark for new ideas.

I’ve recently published two books. When I say published, what I mean is self-published. That’s basically where I pay a publisher to do the necessary and then get some boxes of books delivered to my door. I suppose it’s a kind of reverse advance! If by any chance you’re interested in reading some original Rigby, my books are available from Troubador Publishing, through bookshops or online.

• Darkstone – a thriller set in 2020’s Scotland, about the security state

• Shoreline – a contemporary thriller, set in Belgium, about people-smuggling

Keep walking – and reading!

Next: Our First Commemorative Gate

Page title:Walking the Write Way
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