Walking.. food for the sole..

1. Discover new places

It’s all too easy to think you’ve seen it all, or worry about the investment in time and research needed when planning on going somewhere new by yourself. Being part of a guided group means being shown somewhere new, down paths only guides may know exist. It also takes the responsibility of navigation out of your hands so you can concentrate on enjoying the walk.

The UK has a fantastic heritage of public rights of way and open access land. Since there’s no way anyone will walk all the many miles of paths in their lifetime it makes sense to make the most of every opportunity. Having a guide who knows the area is by far the best way to do this.

Exploring and foraging along the North York Moors Coast

2. Meet new people

Have you ever tried talking to the non-walkers in the office about where you’re going for the weekend? Do they stare at you with total non-interest, full of horror at the risk you might get a bit wet?

The advantage of group walking is that you’ll meet some great people, all of whom want to get out into the countryside and the mountains, and certainly don’t mind getting a bit wet. Since you already have this great passion in common, you’ll more than likely make some new friends.

Beginners Surfing trip on the Gower Coast

3. Learn something new

Do you like to know about the history of the area you’re walking in, or want to learn more about the species you see, the clouds you’re under or the breeds of sheep? In a group it’s more than likely that someone else will too, and an interest shared is an interest you’ll develop. A good guide will also be able to help, and understanding the landscape makes a walking trip far more rewarding. If you’re the kind of person who always has questions then maybe a guided walk is just what you’re looking for.

A beginners caving day in the Yorkshire Dales


4. It’s cheaper than therapy

If you find yourself longing for the weekend when you can get out into the fresh air and just be outdoors, you’ll probably relate to this. Most of us who love walking realise that nature and fresh air provide mental well-being, and put into perspective the worries we have in day to day life.

Lots of us like to talk as we walk, but for many people the company of the group is best experienced in silence as they fall into the rhythm of walking. Both are fine. With people becoming distant from the natural world, walking provides the cheapest and easiest way to get them back to it, and to get to know each-other. So if you feel you’re overworked, join a group walk, and encourage others to as well.

5. Walking is the best pace to see the world

Dozens of adventure sports have been invented to cater for all sorts of adrenaline junkies and those looking for speed. But nothing compares to walking for experiencing the outdoors and getting a feeling for the environment around you. Walking is at a pace humans are best suited to, and it’s well known we can walk for days on end, even with little preparation.

At the pace of a walk we can smell the vegetation, hear the noises of animals and the wind in the trees, and talk to each other. It’s also easy to stop, to touch boulders and feel their texture, and dip our hands into streams. On a guided walk you’ll be more than encouraged to do all these things!

Author: Alex Kendall

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