Posted By Stephen Birch

Posted on12th June 2015

Regular readers of our blog will have noticed that we have talked a lot about walking recently in support of National Walking Month, the health benefits of walking, our staff challenge and our external prize draw to win vouchers to spend at Go Outdoors.

We wanted to share some of the interesting, entertaining and inspirational stories, amazing photos and motivational tips that we’ve received from the public.

We’ve heard from the young and the young at heart, the highly active and those recovering from illness, the experienced walkers and those just starting out. Contributions have come from the length and breadth of the country, recounting experiences from around the world. And we wanted to say thank you to everyone who has shared something with us over the past few weeks – we’ve had so many responses, we’re just sorry that we can’t share all the entries with you.

Countryside or cityscape

Our correspondents have shown that it is possible to enjoy walking activities in both urban and rural environments, seeing novel sights that can help to make a walk memorable.

An unexpected guest on
the West Highland Way
A bevy of swans
Derwent Edge, Derbyshire
Strawberry Lane, Isle of Wight
Sunshine on the South Downs
Whitby Harbour
Cavehill, Belfast
Dam Flask, Sheffield

In a great many entries, our four-legged friends feature heavily. It is clear that they love great outdoors as much as we do!

South Downs
Dog in the grass
Border terrier
Leading the way
Can I come too?

It’s been great to see how walking inspires people of all ages. Molly (aged 7) and Hannah (aged 5) from Devon were inspired to write a lovely poem following a trip to Salcombe Regis:

Salcombe Regis

Steep steps make me sweat
beautiful views from up high
the sea was wild it made me smile
glinting in the sun the red rocks stun

We’ve received some really inspirational stories from people who are building in walking to help them recover from illness or surgery – for some, taking a few extra steps each day is an achievement. We appreciate you sharing your stories and wish you well for your recovery.

Top tips

It was great to hear from people who have managed to change their daily routine to fit more walking in, whether that’s walking the children to school, walking part or all of the way to work or being part of lunchtime walking groups. And we’ve had some great tips to keep interested and motivated:

  • Try to keep up a reasonable pace because when you walk more slowly it can be hard to get going again.
  • Walking alone can allow you to set your own pace – but, walking in company can be encouraging for those who may not have personal incentive to keep going, and you may feel safer.
  • Don’t set yourself too great a target, either distance-wise or time-wise.
  • Know your limitations and don’t over push yourself. Apart from possibly sustaining an injury you will feel despondent if you don’t achieve the desired result. Better to build up your distance over time, but remember – even a short walk is better than none.
  • Most of all, wear appropriate clothing, comfortable supportive footwear, and enjoy yourself!
  • It’s very easy to be put off walking if the weather is too wet/cold/hot, but by arranging to go out in a group the walk is more likely to take place, and the social interaction is as important for mental health as the walk is for physical wellbeing.

Some people like to walk alone, or with one other person, while others walk in groups, taking on challenges of varying magnitude, like the staff of Lambert Smith Hampton tackling the Three Peaks Challenge in the Yorkshire Dales.

Team Lambert Smith Hampton preparing for the Three Peaks Challenge

Rain or shine

We’re also undeterred by the weather, come sunshine or snow, wind or rain, many of us can be found out and about.

Upton, Norfolk
Great Gable
Ben Lomond
Rain over High Green
Skye Dragon
Misty Mountaintop

We’ve heard from a gentleman by the name of Barry Pincer, who has possibly completed the coast to coast walk faster than anyone else – in fewer than four days.

Some spend days at a time exploring different parts of the country, like the West Highland Way, Pennine Trail, the Lake District… Others explore their local surroundings, making the most of what’s on their doorstep, and getting to know the local flora and fauna. Some landscapes are flat, others are decidedly not.

We’ve also received pictures and stories from further afield, including France, Lanzarote, Mallorca, Canada and Slovakia.

Col du Brevent, France
Costa Teguise, Lanzarote
CN Tower, Toronto, Canada – the World’s tallest free standing walk – 356m off the ground
Mount Kilimanjaro
Strbske Pleso, Vysoke Tatry, Slovakia

And the winner is…

As you know, we have been running a prize draw to win £200 of Go Outdoors vouchers for everyone who sent us something for National Walking Month. We’re really pleased to announce that the winner is Jane McDonnell, from Doncaster. Jane says that she will spend the vouchers on some new walking boots to replace her current pair that are letting in water! Jane sent us the picture of Dam Flask, shown above, along with a description of her walks around the Dam and the village of Bradfield, with its good selection of tea rooms, pubs and ice cream vans!

All in all, our ramble through everyone’s walking experiences has been fantastic, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed sharing in these stories with us. We’d still like to hear about how walking has helped to change your life – the prize draw has closed now, so this time it’s just for fun!

Thanks to everyone who has taken part, and keep walking!

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