Not sure that the title is an oxymoron as you can take any podcast on a walk, however what we’ve picked out here are the seven that we think provide the most entertainment and that have an insight into why walking is such a delight.
Early next year, we will be celebrating the 15th year of publishing Talking Walking podcasts, and during that time, some terrific podcasts have been made, some of which are regularly publishing new episodes.
In no particular order, we pick out Ramblings, introduced by Clare Balding in which she often steps out in the company of a celebrity on a walk. They all began as radio programmes and have run for as many as nine seasons (290+ episodes) on BBC Radio 4 and latterly as podcasts on BBC Sounds. Full of brilliant and insightful conversations on a vast range of topics, with a huge range of interesting people, Clare draws the best out of them. Ramblings began about the same time as Talking Walking, in the spring of 2008, and it has always been the benchmark for my own podcasting.
BBC Sounds now has created the opportunity for a huge number of brilliant radio programmes to become podcasts, one of the best on walking must be, Slow Radio, many introduced and written by Horatio Clare with first class sound editing by Andy Field and really good production too. Began as an experiment, broadcast around Christmas, Slow Radio has become so popular that the BBC has run off splinter Slow Radio podcasts. Look forward to having another outing with Horatio at Christmas, this time in the Shetlands.
Matthew Bannister, another popular BBC radio host has started a fabulous series of Folk on Foot podcasts, in which he accompanies a folk performer and invites them to sing or play a piece of their work out on a walk. Matthew claims these podcasts bring together his top three passions: folk music, walking and sound – this is a true podcast in as much as it hasn’t been a radio programme (yet) and Matthew has embraced the recent phenomena of providing exclusive benefits to premium subscribers through his Patreon page, offering videos of parts of the walks and invitations to sit in on real live performances by the folk artists that he interviews.
Earlier this year, I had the delight of accompanying Charlie Lee Potter on a walk and recording her for an interview for an episode of Talking Walking. Charlie‘s Inside A Mountain podcast has just been shortlisted for the International Women’s Podcast Award. Inside a mountain was inspired by Nan Shepherd‘s writings on the Cairngorms. Once again, Charlie with her range of skills and experience from both BBC radio and television, has been making beautifully produced podcasts. She commented that what she liked so much about the podcast format was that episodes could be of any duration rather than having the constraint of a radio programme schedule and the opportunity to weave creative soundscapes.
So each of the above have a key three element, that the producers of these podcasts have had the experience and training from the BBC, so I’m pleased to be able to include a podcaster from the other side of the Atlantic, so let me introduce Buzz Knight and Takin’ a Walk, who like Matthew bannister is a music lover and interviews musicians on walks. Buzz is a very commercially-orientated podcaster, quick to embrace social media and digital marketing techniques including trailer videos for each of his episodes.
Just this year, we discovered Jonathan Kempster, and his Radio Walks podcast, that he produced during and between lockdowns – yes, Jonathan is yet another of BBC alumni, but this time from editing news on the radio, and latterly works as an oral historian. Unfortunately, as Jonathan has discovered, podcast is much more a labour of love, than a means to steady income, and he has had to (temporarily, we hope) abandon his podcasting.
Another series, that ran its course a few years back but well worth listening to again, is London’s Peaks, produced by Rick Pearson, with whom we have worked on a podcast-making walkshop commissioned by the Mayor of London! Rick recruited local actors, comedians and local heroes to accompany him on a walk to the peak of each London borough – some of which are lower than 100 metres above sea level….great, entertaining stuff however, check them out when you get the chance.
We’d love to learn about other walking podcasts that you have enjoyed – so do get in contact and share your favourites, and please do come and join us on Talking Walking. We have over 120 episodes to share, with many exciting new episodes coming out once a month.
Over on our sister site at walk · listen · create we are starting a project to seek out overlooked and forgotten walking pieces, walking podcasts, sound walks and radio programmes, that we are calling Walking Detectives – our first meet up is in on Monday 12 December 2022 – why not join us – more information here.
All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..