Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.
SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter. The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They’re typically most severe during December, January and February.

Symptoms of SAD can include:

  • a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
  • irritability
  • a persistent low mood
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
  • sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • craving carbohydrates and gaining weight.
The exact cause of SAD isn’t fully understood, but it’s often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days. The main theory is that a lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect the:
  • production of melatonin – melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy; in people with SAD, the body may produce it in higher than normal levels
  • production of serotonin – serotonin is a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep; a lack of sunlight may lead to lower serotonin levels, which is linked to feelings of depression
  • body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) – your body uses sunlight to time various important functions, such as when you wake up, so lower light levels during the winter may disrupt your body clock and lead to symptoms of SAD                                                                                            
  •   Treatments for SAD

  • lifestyle measures – including getting as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels
  • light therapy – where a special lamp called a light box is used to simulate exposure to sunlight
  • talking therapies – such as therapy.
  • antidepressant medication.
      from  nhs.uk


Why am I telling you all this – well most winters I disappear to sunnier climes as I’ve found over the years that it prevents all of the above. As well as the improved climate I am usually involved in some semi-challenging walk giving me loads of exercise. This year I’ve been grounded because of my hip problems brought on by excessive exercise. Recent posts will have shown how I’ve partially dealt with it, sorry for the maudlin tone to those. Why don’t I just go abroad for a couple of weeks you say – well I’m not good at ‘lazy’ holidays by the pool, would probably just eat and drink too much.

Thus I’m still battling on, physio next week. So when the sun shone this morning I needed to get out. Luckily JD, of GR131 fame, phoned and within 30 mins I was at his house with a plan to do a relatively easy walk to Ribchester and catch the bus back. Off we went with bus passes at the ready.

The watery sun shone, as planned, whilst we walked past the extensive Longridge reservoirs.

The stroll down the quiet Hothersall Lane was a pleasure, as it warmed up I could feel all that lovely Serotonin fighting off the nasty Melatonin. The usual  juxtaposition of irreverent [me] and intellectual conversation [JD] bowled us along and soon we were dropping down the steep escarpment to Hothersall Lodge an outdoor centre run by Lancs County Council. Nobody was about but signs of activity were everywhere, climbing wall, zip wire, grounded canoes, archery ranges, nature walks etc. A great place to introduce people to the outdoors. We were now following the Ribble Way, a flawed route due to private fishing interests unnecessarily diverting the path higher up stream.

Further on was Hothersall Hall, a Gothic style building refurbished and providing privileged accommodation to some persons.  I tried in vain to relocate the Hothersall Boggart – a slightly grotesque stone head in the fork of a tree with associated legends. No luck today but I know its there somewhere.

All was going well with the walking until now, a good surface and fairly flat going. I had forgotten the little hill to be crossed on muddy fields – it was not a pretty sight as I struggled to cope with the terrain. Thankfully I’d brought my tracking poles, not to be separated from them these days. There were good views down to the River Ribble.

That hill!.


We had time to look across the Ribble to the extensive Osbaldeston Hall on the south bank. A path led off towards it and presumably some ancient ford crossing. JD remembered wading the river here on some previous walk but not today thank you.After that it was a stroll to walk into Ribchester, were we on a Roman Road?

Eschewing the Roman artifacts and other attractions of the village we headed past the now closed White Bull with its ‘Roman columns’ to the friendly Black Bull where we enjoyed a quick slurp of Bowland Brewery’s Buster before catching the rattly bus to Longridge.

Needs must so SAD can SOD off.  I’ve plans for the next week or so if the weather is good.


2 thoughts on “WALKING OFF SAD – NEEDS MUST.

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