A man walking along the towpath with a camera Sarinder Joshua Duroch

Although he’s lived with diabetes for many years, Sarinder Joshua Duroch, known to his friends as Josh, recently faced another major challenge to his health when he contracted coronavirus.

A connection with the local community

Josh found a path to recovery by walking and taking nature photographs along his local canal in Wolverhampton. He soon found the canal was helping him manage his health more positively and helping him connect with his local community.

Josh says: “The big thing was that it helped with my mental stress. When you find negativity, you feel as if you're stuck at home. But as soon as you get on the canal, the ambience hits you immediately. When I get there and start talking to people, my negativity just goes.

A connection with the environment

"If you can find a connection with your environment and use that to get fit and healthy, and also talk to people in general, you start realising there is a life out there. No, I don't need to sit and worry about the management of diabetes all day. I need to get out and get fit, right? And if I go for a walk along the canal, I can manage my weight too.

 

When you go out for a walk on the canal, you're breathing a different type of air. It makes a big difference

Josh

"There's no doubt that people of my ethnicity can have a diabetes issue, and it's one of the reasons why I don't drink or smoke anymore. When you go out for a walk on the canal, you're breathing a different type of air. It makes a big difference.”

Learning about his local canal and photography went hand in hand for Josh. “If it wasn't for the canal, I would not have been able to teach myself photography. It offered me so much, from a robin to a squirrel, to an otter, to swans, to ducks, to all these things, the colours, the ambience...and all this right on my doorstep.”

Tranquility of nature

Passionate about capturing the tranquillity of nature, he explains: “Photography actually increases your patience. When you're trying to capture wildlife, you can't dictate to a creature or an animal exactly what pose you want them to be in.

And when you watch a swan building its nest and caring for its cygnets, you realise they are building a home and raising a family, just like you and me. It reminds you that we’re not a dominant life form. We’re just part of nature. Part of a much bigger picture. And then you start to think. Can’t we just live in life for five minutes? Can we just let it be?”

The Wolverhampton otter

Josh’s patience led to him capturing an incredible picture of the ‘Wolverhampton Otter’, an animal not seen on the waterways there in seven years. It made him something of a local celebrity on the towpath and has really helped him get to know friends and neighbours.

“When I first moved to Wolverhampton, I didn't know anybody. I didn’t realise that the canal would make me someone who gets to know the local people. And it's created pride in the community. There's a wonderful urban space here that people are proud of, and they want to maintain."

Josh taking a picture