Challenging perceptions of the Ramblers
My name's Arron, I'm a registered psychotherapist and I'm 28 years old. I was born in Liverpool, and I live in Liverpool. I've been a member of the Ramblers since I was 21 and I’m now the chair of Fillyaboots Merseyside Young Walkers.
After a few years of being a Ramblers member there was an opening to be the group chair. I thought to myself, if someone as young as me at 28 is chair of their hiking club, then perhaps that will encourage more young people to join.
I identify as a gay man. I'm very comfortable with my sexuality and don’t hide it. There are other LGBT+ members in our club which I didn’t expect to find in the Ramblers. It’s important we ensure that the Rambles is a safe space for people who are LGBT+. Being LGBT+ doesn't stop me from hiking or rambling. When more LGBT+ people join the Ramblers, I talk to them about these things and help them to feel comfortable.
I think that as the chair of a Ramblers group, who is young, LGBT+, and working class I show that anyone can be a Rambler and that the countryside is for everyone. There are faith specific walking groups and LGBT+ walking groups who do amazing work. The reason I joined the Ramblers is because of all the amazing work they do for our rights of way and our paths. The Ramblers are Britain's number one hiking charity and I'm really proud to be a Rambler.
From day one I felt welcome and as time has gone on, I’ve felt like I’ve developed a Ramblers family alongside my own family. There’s very much a sense of community and I continue to make new friends.
Ramblers member Marika has been blind since childhood, but that hasn’t stopped her from enjoying walking.
Joy shares the story of how taking part in Ramblers Wellbeing Walks has helped with her mental and physical health.