The Joy of Group Rambles
Although I’ve done a few organised group rambles (Blencathra, Ben Nevis, Four Harbours / North coast) I tend to stay within my comfort zone: walking with friends and being able to catch up on the weeks we’ve not seen each other. It’s the way I like to multitask and spending a whole day with people you adore doing something you love is just the best therapy. A nice lunch, hot chocolate flask and cake helps too…
Facebook and social media, in general, has great potential for businesses, individuals and a platform for common interests but a lot of ‘specialist’ groups and pages can have some negative followers, not necessarily aggressive, just dismissive. Of course, they themselves have never wondered about the ‘best tent to purchase’ or ‘how to wash waterproof trousers’ or even is ‘a boot or shoe best for the hills’. They must have been born gifted with this knowledge *rolls eyes*…
I had been following the (closed group) Rambling Roses on Facebook for a while and they seemed a friendly crowd. Very active with lots of walks and hills organised, offering a warm welcome to all levels of fitness and capabilities, full of encouragement, not at all full of their own self-importance. The first weekend after Christmas I was needing a good walk. I’ve been pacing the living room wearing away the carpet desperate to get out of my central heated 4 walls. You know what its like. Eating, drinking, late nights for the whole of December and the New Year dawns and you realise: “back to work in only a few days and what have I done?” The next group walk was The Glen Loin Loop. I’ve been wanting to do that for ages and the Roses had just posted an ‘event’. I ticked the ‘going’ box, contacted the group organiser and read up on the meeting point, start time and read the route map.
18 of us showed up at the Loch Long carpark and the new walkers and strangers politely shook hands while the more familiar, regular Roses hugged and wished each other a happy new year. We all purchased our £1 parking tickets and off we headed.
The Glen Loin Loop runs approx 11miles (although I clocked it at 12!) and runs through the glens of north Arrochar. The initial section is a gradual slope through forestry with enticing peaks through the trees of Ben Vorlich. Bens Narnain and Vane are also seen on this route and had a good covering of snow with lower levels being free from the white stuff.
Everyone chatted. Everyone exchanged stories of hill climbs, long walks, short jaunts, holidays and dog walks, waterproofs, crampons and partners who don’t like to climb. There were all ages. All shapes and sizes. And all levels of fitness. Everyone was included. No one was left alone at the back of the crowd. It was a great day and at the end of the walk, a couple of folk headed across to the tea-room for a nice brew. I went home to my un-climbing partner in another attempt of persuasion to get him up a hill. I failed. But he had ran me a bath, made me dinner so I didn’t nag for too long…
If you have considered group walks before and been hesitant. Do it. Join a group page on platforms such as Facebook and get a ‘feel’ for the group before tagging along. I know its out of your comfort zone, we’ve all felt it but I can highly recommend as a way to not only keep fit, lose weight and get healthy but to make new friends, learn new things and discover your beautiful countryside.
What are you waiting for…?
Loch Long – January 2018