This newsletter will inform you about:
● The idea behind the SHH Project,
● Current progress,
● Future activities and
● The members of our Consortia.
About the project
The main objective of the project is to connect European cultural heritage with human and environmental health. The objective of the project is to define walking routes and a recipe book to highlight European culture, promote exercise, mindfulness, nutrition, and work towards sustainability goals. The walking routes, the recipe book and all the activities associated with the project will be put into a mobile application and onto an online platform that people will be able to access from anywhere. The NHS recommends regular exercise, including at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week – this project wants to link exercise with cultural exercise and also a healthy diet.
After researching walking routes combining cultural and environmental elements, our partners completed the testing of their walking routes (1-day, 2-day and 3-day)!
The Surefoot Effect
Our walks in Scotland each showcase a different aspect of this beautiful country. The first is through the capital, Edinburgh, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site in its entirety. Starting at Duddingston Loch, e enter the city overlooking a quiet nature reserve in the shadow of the imposing Arthur’s Seat hill. The natural and green slowly give way to the urban. Crossing through the Meadows, a park brimming with he vibrancy of Edinburgh’s youth, into the historic Old Town highlights the duality of the city. After assing the castle, you begin to exit the centre of the city, looking up at the majestic façade, listening to the sound of bagpipes. Next, by the side of a tiny river, an 800 year old milling village, with modern additions and restorations, sits inconspicuously and easily missed. This was our favourite surprise while piloting the route. The next route goes through some unlikely places. Central Scotland is an area with a long history of industrialisation, deindustrialisation and disparity. Starting in an “ugly” urban area, we take a path weaving through Scotland’s industrial history along the very canals that propelled it. We see power stations that are rapidly approaching redundancy alongside the distant wind turbines that will replace them. We see the remains of long past Roman attempts at quelling the wild, ever changing landscape. And we see what the Scottish people have built while preserving the incredible natural beauty just beyond our doorsteps. The coast of Fife presents an escape for three days through historic fishing villages, each with their own local stories and personalities. Local farms put up honesty boxes to sell their products, and the efforts to conserve local wildlife are espoused on signs throughout. Distant tiny islands boast their own stories and beckon curiosity, just as the views up and down the coastline itself draw you further along with the promise of further beauty.
The experience of tracing the walking routes has been an enlightening one. We have discovered places we never knew about in our own backyard, and found out unexpected facts about our local area. We never knew, for instance, that our own valley (the Aras valley) contains the biggest concentration in Cantabria of native holm oak woodland, a “relict ecosystem” left over from before the last Ice Age! We saw the famous pilgrimage (romeria) that people take to the Sanctuary of the Bien Aparecida each September 15th. We met the founder of an albergue (pilgrim hostel) in Guëmes on the Camino del Norte (Saint James’s Way, northern branch) and heard about his travels around the world in an old Land Rover, which is now the central exhibit in the albergue’s museum. We found inspiring examples of renewable energy, both ancient and modern: we saw a medieval tidal mill in the Marismas de Joyel, and we learned that, as part of the regeneration of the post-industrial island of Zorrotzaurre in the heart of Bilbao, a new project is underway to generate heat for the houses and renovated industrial buildings, now converted to university campuses, using geothermal power.
Innovation Frontiers team started with the 1-day urban route first. Even though we have been living in this city for all our lives, this was an excellent chance to re-discover Athens’ center through the project’s lenses. For the 2-day route at Parnitha mountain, we enjoyed the greenery, ate some traditional food and even had the chance to see 7 deer from up close! Last but not least, the 3-day coastal route offered some really nice views and sea breeze. We returned tired but very pleased!
At the beginning of the summer, the Knowledge Code team started testing the routes and firstly tested the 1-day walking route and visited the most important ecological and cultural objects in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania. The journey started in Vingis Park and continued alongside the Neris River, while the second part of the route mainly took place in the Old Town. During the 2-day walking route around Siesartis Lake, participants admired the shore of the Baltieji Lakajai lake, visited the Labanoras Regional Park Observation Tower, and tasted local fish dishes. Finally, the 3-day coastal route Klaipėda-Karklė-Palanga-Šventoji was tested, the distance was 38.4 km! During the hike, participants had the opportunity to see the famous Dutchman’s Cap Hill, admire the Baltic Sea, and visit the main seaside sites on the way.
What We’re Up To Next
We have started working on IO2 – the Recipe Book! Partners will collect recipes from traditional regional and national cooking in their country. Following guidance from the United Nations for a sustainable diet, there will be an emphasis on food and ingredients that are seasonal, unprocessed, organic, locally-grown, low in meat, fish and dairy, and vegetarian and vegan options.