Tuesday, 22 January 2019

"The top 5 reasons why I love walking (and you should too)"

Why walk? A personal view.

Walking Girl is a 27 year old Londoner and avid walker, who lost four stone, beat depression and made big changes to her life, spurred on by a new found love of walking and the fantastic benefits it brought her.

Walking Girl is the author of the inspiring blog 'Walking Girl's Guide' (@walking_girl on Twitter).

Here, she writes about how walking has changed her life for the better.

"I'm on a mission - trying to persuade people to walk. As much as possible.

There are lots of good reasons why walking is great - probably too many to ever do justice to, but I've decided to concentrate on the ones that have made it so important to me. I hope people who walk already will agree with what I say (and perhaps have their own points to add) and that people who don't walk will realise why they should!!

1. Looking and feeling great

I cannot stress enough what an amazing effect walking has had on my body. I used to hate my body and always felt uncomfortable in it. I felt out of shape and overweight which had a really massive impact on my confidence in general. Walking has changed all of that completely.

It's clear to me that a lot of people don't think of everyday walking (e.g. around town) as exercise. If you put the effort in though, it really is. If, like me, you go from doing next to nothing to making the effort to walk everyday I genuinely don't think you can fail to see a difference.

I've lost 4 stone now and walking has made me feel completely different about myself. Not only do I feel so much happier about how I look, but I have more confidence in my physical abilities too. I've started running (something I'd never have done before I lost the weight) and I'm confident now if I go walking with my Dad (who sets quite a pace) that I'm not going to be left behind, feeling embarrassed about being too slow.

My mental state has improved immensely, and I really believe that my huge boost in confidence and the way the exercise makes me feel - fitter, in control of how I look and more relaxed - has been an important factor in this.

2. Getting out of doorsPhoto (c) @walking_girl

I used to spend most of my time indoors - going between home, some form of transport and the office. Not unusual these days I think, but looking back, I don't think it was good for me - particularly for how I felt mentally.

I've spoken before about how much walking has helped alleviate my struggles with depression, and while the physical exercise and my improved confidence were a big part of this, I think just the simple act of spending more time outdoors was also very important.

This is most certainly the case when walking in the country. Breathing the fresh air and being surrounded by beatiful scenery and wildlife is such a fantastic boost to the spirits. What's perhaps more surprising is that I've found it to be true in London as well. Yes, the air probably isn't that fresh, but just the feeling of being out of doors and taking in my surroundings rather than rushing by on a bus or underground on the tube really does lift my mood.

3. Seeing the sights and discovering new places

It's amazing how easy it is when you're on public transport in London to not really notice where you are. I could go for days or possibly even weeks at a time without seeing any of the sights of London properly as I'd be on the tube or peering out from a bus window. Now I walk past and admire them pretty much everyday.

I've also discovered lots of areas that I didn't really know existed before and I now understand very well how all the different parts of London are laid out. It's easy, as a Londoner, to become used to thinking of London as laid out like the tube map, with no knowledge of where all the stations truly are in relation to one another. That's not me any more though. Now I can navigate my way through most of central London with very little need for referencing maps.

Along the way, I've discovered lovely leafy areas, so near to where I lived that it really surprised me that I'd never realised they were there. I'm convinced this must be the same for other people too and that there's so much out there waiting to be found.

4. Saving money

For me it's public transport, for you it might be a car, but whatever way you look at it, money is going to be saved if you walk a journey.

It's been a really important saving to me - about £100 a month at least I reckon. Even if none of the other reasons existed, this would be a pretty compelling one for walking more, but when you add this to all the other fantastic reasons you really have to ask yourself - why the hell wouldn't I walk more?!?!

And finally.....

5. It's a sociable, enjoyable exercise

Lots of people do choose to walk alone, and I do a lot of my walking on my own for that matter. However, what I like is that, of a weekend, The Boy and I can wander along with a destination in mind, talk and look at the sights. While we're doing this, we're getting some exercise, but we're usually enjoying the chat so much that the exercise factor is never really noticed.

I've started running recently, and I know for a fact that I couldn't talk and run at the same time. Running is challenging, and that's great, but I'll never love running the way I love walking. Walking is enjoyable and relaxing. Yes, it can be challenging if you choose to make it so (e.g. by climbing up a hill) but you can take your time and chat along the way, enjoying the sights and scenery.

It's great to be able to do something that I know is having positive effects on my health without it feeling like a chore or something to be ticked off because I know that I should do it. Instead it's something that I very much want to do.


I hope that's been some inspiration - as I said, there are lots of other reasons to love walking and I'm hoping that maybe people will have some more suggestions to add as comments, but that's all from me for now.

Happy Walking!

Walking Girl"

Saturday, 22 December 2018

395 Festive Walk and Meal (Levens) 2018

Saturday 5th January 2019
0800hrs from the short term Car Park behind Iceland
 Our Festive walk and meal this year will be from the Gilpin Bridge Inn, nr Levens.

There will be three short walks in the morning before the meal at the Gilpin Bridge
  • A Walk led by Peter Hitchcock
  • B Walk led by Jennifer Mathias
  • C Walk led by Gwyn Jones

395 'A' Festive Walk

Walk Leader: Peter Hitchcock
Walk Distance:

A short, sharp stride out to give everyone a good appetite for their Xmas lunch (remember there is a turkey slice in every pint)!

From the Gilpin Bridge pub we can conveniently cross the moss area along a cycle track until we reach the foothills of the most inviting lump of rock in the area “The Whitbarrow National Nature Reserve”.  The aim is to get straight to the top to gain a 360 deg panoramic view before casually sauntering a circuitous route back to the coach.  The going is good on generally dry limestone rock or hard track – very convenient for January – so no need for gaiters today.  The climb to about 360 ft is gradual and a doddle compared with Settle last Nov!  Although we shall step out at a good pace, we should complete this route in a little over 2 hrs leaving  plenty of time to get changed before lunch.

Happy New Year ‘A’ team!!

Friday, 21 December 2018

395 'B' Walk from Levens 2018

Walk Leader: Jenifer Mathias
Walk Distance: 5.5 miles

The B walk is five and a half miles long. There is a lot of flat walk along roads ,  a little climb into the woods on the Eastern flank of Whitbarrow and a descent into the Lythe Valley. The were some slippery patches and some mud, but not hippopotamus size!

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

395 'C' Walk from Levens 2018

Leader:  Gwyn Jones                                                                    
Distance 3.2 miles                            

This is an easy walk just over 3 miles. Most of it is on tarmac.  There is one ascent – about ¾ of a mile but it is gradual.
White Scar - We turn left at the foot

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Our Festive Walk Menu 2019

Our Festive Walk and meal will this year be at the Gilpin Bridge Inn near Levens in Cumbria
The menu ishere

Sunday, 14 October 2018

394 Walks from Settle

Our next walking will be from


A Fantastic centre for walking, cycling and sight-seeing.

and will take place on

Saturday 10th November 2018

0800hrs prompt from short stay car park in the village
Ramblers flock to Settle and it's easy to see why. With its own natural landmark, the "Castleberg Crag", a bustling market square and a Grade II Victorian theatre, this picturesque town is an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding Dales. Stroll around the scars, caves and cliffs overlooking the town. Or jump on board the famous Settle to Carlisle Railway as you glide over Victorian viaducts, past colourful stations and through narrow tunnels on England's most scenic railway. 
There will be three walks as normal:
  • A Walk led by Brian Thorne
  • B Walk led by Pat Guy
  • C walk led by Gwyn Jones

A Walk from Settle 2018

Walk Leader: Brian Thorne
Total Distance: 9 Miles app
Total Ascentt: 1325 ft

A beautiful walk with far - reaching views and outstanding limestone scenery, this walk takes in the high ground to both sides of the Ribble valley.

From Settle, we follow the river northwards to Stackhouse and as we climb through the limestone outcrops, a wonderful view of Pen y Ghent is revealed to the north. As we gain further height, Ingleborough and the Lakeland fells may also be seen.

From our high point of the western side of the valley, we join the Dales High Way descending to Stainforth and lunch by the beautiful bridge and falls.

Climbing steeply out from Stainforth, we pass the Winskill farms, skirt up past the Jubilee caves and then stop to admire the view from the impressive Victoria Cave. As we descend once again to join the Dales High Way, the limestone towers and escarpments of Warrendale Knotts  are revealed in all their stark majesty - something to distract us from the final bit of climbing, before the sharp descent back into Settle and some well - earned refreshment!   

Warrendale Knots from the Dales High Way

Warrendale Knots from the Dales High Way

Ingleborough from Victoria Cave

Bridge and falls at Stainforth
Pen Y Ghent from above Stackhouse
Hope the weather is as good on the day as it was for the recce!