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Thu, 25 Nov


Washingborough Hall Hotel

7:30  A talk by Mr John Hutchison Why I walked 1200 miles to celebrate my 70th birthday. "

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7:30  A talk by Mr John Hutchison  Why I walked 1200 miles to celebrate my 70th birthday. "
7:30  A talk by Mr John Hutchison  Why I walked 1200 miles to celebrate my 70th birthday. "

Time & Location

25 Nov 2021, 19:00

Washingborough Hall Hotel, Church Hill, Washingborough, Lincoln LN4 1EH, UK

About the event

Why walk 1200 miles?

A brief overview of the presentation and shared discussion that John Hutchison will deliver to the Lincoln Medical Society on the 25 November 2021Why are you walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats? This was a question I got asked repeatably on my walk. My response was generally that “I just fancied a walk”, and this is true as I love long distance walking. However, the answer to that question is much deeper and this is what I want to explore with you on the 25th.

We are all on journeys from birth to death. New promotions, marriage, loss of a loved one, diagnosis with cancer, retirement, recovery from addiction etc are all journeys that we could experience at any time in our lives. It is how we cope with these journeys that is perhaps so critical for our ongoing physical and mental health. Here the quote – we cannot change the wind, but we can alter the sails – I feel is so relevant.

In late 2019 as I was contemplating reaching my 70th birthday. Consequently, I took time to think through the rest of my life and what I wanted out of it. I believe in positive psychology and the approach to visualising the person you want to become. From this I prepared my own health strap line which was “to be able to walk over mountains in my 80s.” Working back from this I realised that I needed to start now if this vision was to be realised. It was at this point that I decided that I would walk the 1200 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG).

My interest in managing my own health. Started about 15 years ago when I got RSI in my wrist, due to the stress I was under in my professional life. This took me down a path of meditation and mindfulness which I deepened to cope with the grief of my wife dying of cancer in 2014. It was at this stage that I researched deeper on the influence of the modern western diet of high carbs and low fat has on our physical and mental health, especially as enablers of the modern diseases of inflammation such as Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity.

When we meet up, I will share with you the preparation I did for the walk, in terms of my physical and mental health. This will include how I lost weight before the walk and even more crucially how I built my mental resilience to manage the emotions such as self-doubt when undertaking the walk. My own experience of this is that this it is not a straightforward path and stumbling towards my goals would be how I would describe the experience. I will share with you the impact all of this made on the actual walk and the strength it gave me. Also, I want to share with you the insights the walk has given me. Plus, I am interested in your feedback regarding the challenges that modern lifestyle gives us and how we cope with this, where temptation is all around us, and advice on nutrition is somewhat mixed.

When I got to John O’Groats I did not want to stop, and I felt I could just turn round and walk back again to Land’s End. What I was not prepared for was the down I felt after the walk returning to normal life. This has been another lesson for me in the wider aspects of the journeys we all face in our lives. Again, I will share this perspective with you and where I am now with regards to ongoing projects to enable me “to walk over mountains in my 80s.”

In sharing with others, I prefer dialogue to monologue. So before, during and after the talk I welcome input and ideas from you all, so we make this a more engaging experience. Consequently, I look forward to sharing and engaging with you on the 25th


The start of another adventure – “Jimmy” my new travel companion


Born Dunbar, Scotland in 1951. Achieved a very ordinary degree on General Science from Heriot Watt University in 1974. Joined the Royal Air Force with a Permanente Commission under the Graduate Entry Scheme. Started life as a navigator but tended to get lost, which was a bit of a set back! Then joined the RAF Regiment which is the infantry for the Royal Air Force. Enjoyed a wonderful career of fun and adventure especially as in the Cold War the chances of being shot were very low. Spent the last 5 years in the Ministry of Defence, London where he led a major change initiative to modernise from Cold War to meet the emerging threats for Expeditionary Operations. Took voluntary retirement in the rank of Squadron Leader in 1991.

Joined a small learning systems design consultancy staffed with ex-military officers who had all worked on large projects within MoD. Designed large, blended learning systems for clients such as British Rail and Cable & Wireless. This included a 3-month research project for e-based learning for Heartlands Hospital Trust.

Came back to Dunbar in 1994. For 5 years he was the Training Manager for the Miller Group covering civil, construction, mining, housing, and development divisions. Worked with the senior team to translate what was an adversarial culture to collaboration-based working on emerging clients’ needs for negotiated procurement.

In 1999 set up own leadership consultancy business. A key part of this was as an Investors in People (IiP) Practioner and this included the IIP examination of two Health Boards in Scotland. For 6 years he worked with IiP International with large global clients. He also worked on a variety of consultancy projects such as the strengthening of the Aramco Oil Saudi Arabia 5000 strong defence force and supporting the setting up of the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives.

In 2015 started a collaborative working relationship with the Scottish Building Federation (SBF) as their Lead Designer for two projects. The first was to design a collaborative leadership programme aligned to emerging Scottish Government policies for value led procurement. From this the commissioning body requested that SBF develop an integrated pathway for ex-offenders from Scottish Prisons to work within the construction sector. Both these projects are ongoing and are focused on ministerial level within Scottish Government and key leaders within the construction sector who have experience of transformational leadership.

One of the outcomes of the LEJOG walk is that he will continue to support these two projects. However, this will be on a part time basis so he can indulge in the passion he has for adventures and travel, Hence the need to keep “walking over mountains in his 80s!”

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