The wonder of walking

A TEAM of trekkers are proof that the Hartlepool Mail’s Race For Fitness programme does not have to be about mammoth challenges.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s sports development team has teamed up with the Mail to back our Race For Fitness project.

And one of the ways it is doing it is by highlighting the many council-run programmes which are available to anyone wanting to improve their health.

The programme includes a series of walks to suit people of all abilities and every one of the rambles can be found in a newly released quarterly Walks Calendar.

The current walks calendar runs from January through to the end of March. It includes a rivermouth ramble, a wander through the Teesmouth National Nature Reserve, and Nordic Walking for older people.

Copies of the calendar are available free from Civic Centre, Mill House Leisure Centre, the Headland Sports Centre, Hartlepool Art Gallery and Tourist Information Centre, Central Library, Summerhill country park and the MIND offices in Tees Street.

It’s part of the sports and physical activity team’s Walk About In Hartlepool programme, which started in March last year and encourages people to become more active and enjoy their local green spaces.

Sport and physical activity officer Rachael Pringle said it was an ideal way for people to improve their wellbeing and show their support for the Mail’s Race For Fitness programme.

She added: “Walking is really good exercise and since the Walk About In Hartlepool programme began, we have encouraged over 260 people to become more active through walking.

“With the darker months, it’s best to walk in groups so why not join our friendly walk leaders for an enjoyable ramble in pleasant surroundings and get a bit fitter into the bargain?”

David Scott, Robert Smith and father and son Graeme and Jamie Boddy research, plan and lead a range of regular walks for people of various ages as part of the Council’s popular Walking For Health programme.

Since the scheme started in February last year, the four, who all live in Hartlepool, have put in over 140 hours between them. Their hard work has made the walks a real success and has earned them Exceptional Service Awards from Natural England.

Rachael, who trained the Walk Leaders and nominated them for the accolade, said: “I couldn’t ask for better people as walk leaders.

“They plan all aspects of the walks very carefully, tailoring them to the capabilities of the people taking part and building in lots of interesting information about the natural history and heritage along the routes.

“Their dedication and enthusiasm is second-to-none and without them we wouldn’t be able to provide as many walks as we do.”

For more information about the Walking For Health programme or becoming a Walk Leader, call Rachael on (01429) 284414 or email