Walk this way – to get exercise and forge new friendships in Fife

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From low level country walks to strenuous munros and long distance mountain treks, there is a Fife group dedicated to providing the widest range of opportunities for people who enjoy spending time outdoors.

Fife Walking Club has been going for 27 years after the group was founded in January 1990.

The founders of the club wanted to walk more frequently than their existing clubs were walking so they got together and formed the Fife Walking Club with the intention of doing at least one walk per week.

Currently it has 94 members and has remained at this level since it began.

Leslie Drennan, Fife Walking Club walks convenor, said the group has members of various ages and people are welcome to join.

He said: “We have members from teenagers through to people in their eighties and we are happy to accept members of all ages. We normally organise a walk every weekend and sometimes two. In 2016, there were 55 walks scheduled.

“We normally try and vary the walks every year but return to popular walks every couple of years. Members submit suggestions for walks and a programme is arranged for the following six months.”

Leslie said there are walks to cater for all abilities: “Some of the best walking in Scotland, for people of all abilities, is within our range.

“We operate in a area bounded by the Angus glens and the southern Cairngorms to the north, the Border Hills to the south, the Ochils to the west and the Fife Coastal Path to the east. In this area we can provide every grade of walk, from gentle coastal or low level country walks up to long distance mountain treks.

“Each walk is categorised A, B or C with A being the hardest and C the easiest. Where there is an A walk scheduled we try to arrange a C walk for the same weekend although that is not always possible. For example, in the current programme, the ascent of Ben Ledi is an A walk for the more experienced walkers and there is a walk from Pool of Muckhart via Rumbling Bridge which is a C walk.”

Leslie said there were numerous benefits to walking and it provided a refreshing alternative to going to the gym.

“It is good exercise and a day in the fresh air lifts the spirits,” he said.

“You can also chat for a while with fellow walkers along the way or you may prefer to walk quietly enjoying the surroundings and the scenery.

“Our club is very sociable but going as a group also allows people to experience lots of different walks without having to do all the detailed route preparation.

“It’s a great way to make new friends as lots of friendships have been formed – friends from the club also go on ad-hoc walks during the week.

“It is also cheaper than a gym and you get a great feeling of achievement when you reach the summit not to mention the fantastic views.”

The organised walks normally last for four to five hours, usually starting at 10.30am and members are invited to offer their ideas for routes.

“I’m sure there are many walks which would be new to the club. We encourage members to submit new walks but the same hill walk can appear very different depending on the weather so there is no issue about repeating walks,” Leslie said.

“Our members come from all parts of Fife and we also have a few from outside the region. Most of the walks are in Fife but we regularly visit the Angus Glens, the Pentland Hills and the Ochils.

“Every year, normally in April, a week-long trip to the Lake District is organised with walks undertaken every day.”

Anyone who enjoys walking and would like to find out more is welcome to come along. Membership costs £7 per year and guests pay £1 per walk.

Leslie added: “Walkers of all standards are welcome from beginners to very experienced and everything in between. All that is required is a pair of walking boots, waterproofs, water and a bit of lunch.”

For full details visit www.fifewalkingclub.org.uk.