The Tab presents: The ultimate dos and don’ts of walking in Durham

Narrow footpaths and an abundance of students does not an easy walking experience make

It’s a fact of Durham life that students spend a large portion of their week walking.

From lectures, to Tesco, to Jimmy’s to Paddy’s, you’re never more than a thirty minute walk from anywhere in Durham. That is, unless you’re caught up in the extreme sport that is rush hour Church Street.

As a hill college resident with lectures in Elvet Riverside, I devote my life to going up and down South Road and Church Street multiple times a day. Thus, I have become an expert on the specific walking etiquette that all respectable Durham students should acquire. Follow this guide and you too can master The Hill.

Do… walk quickly

Now not everyone has to be a member of the rather smug Speed-Walking Society, but people do have places to be. A brisk pace is vital to avoid being the bane of existence to those behind you. Dawdlers will be overtaken and made to feel appropriately humiliated.

Don’t… text and walk

Unless you are completely at one with your keyboard your eyes will be directed down at your screen, meaning you can’t be sufficiently vigilant to the movement of your fellow walkers and get out of their way in time.

This could at best mean someone tuts at you as they attempt to circumnavigate their way around, and at worst cause a major pile-up. Texting also slows your pace down, and as mentioned in point one – not good.

Phones away please I beg

Do… keep to the side

Yes, the Durham footpaths are ridiculously narrow but there is room for two people to pass each other as long as both are on their respectful side. To stay in the middle of the path and not allow any room for people to pass you, whether overtaking or going in the opposite direction, is more infuriating for than multi-factor authentication.

Don’t… stop suddenly to chat

It’s great to meet a friend on your travels, especially one you don’t see enough due to busy schedules. However, you are going to have to have that catch-up chat in the bushes on the side of the path unless you want to become a major obstruction. Or in the middle of the road. Your choice.

Walking two abreast? Heaven forfend!

Do… make room for others if you’re in a group

Walking to lectures with friends is lovely, but single file is occasionally essential for the well-being of your fellow students. Walking three or four abreast, and not moving out of others’ way means forcing them out onto the road and risk losing a head or various limbs to a passing bus’ wing mirror.

Don’t… use a brolly

I get it, you don’t want your hair to get wet, I understand. But after attempting it myself a few times; walking on Church Street during peak times with a brolly is an elite sport of which no one is a master. There is quite simply no room. The key to walking in Durham is to take up as little space as possible and increasing your circumference with an umbrella is a bad idea. You have to manoeuvre it up, down, and to the side to avoid taking an eye out, which just becomes exhausting.

Hopefully if every student follows these tips, Durham could be a more peaceful and less rage-inducing place to walk in. A girl can dream.

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