Passing on the love of walking through the generations

Daniel, the youngest member of his Ramblers group, was inspired to join by his grandparents

I’m 32 years old and I've been going out walking for 31 years.  My nan Kay, and my grandad John, have been members of the Ramblers forever.  They are 76 and 77 years old and still walk miles every week.  From an early age my granddad used to take me and my older brother out walking, and it’s really stuck with me.   

I had a bit of a rubbish childhood and my granddad was the one constant when I was growing up.  We were always out walking or adventuring.  He taught me how to map read, how to navigate and orienteering.  When I left school, I got a job but in 2008 when the recession hit, I got made redundant.  I was only 18. For a while I didn’t know what to do next, until my grandad suggested I considered joining the army. I ended up spending 10 years in the army; seven of them abroad facing situations where I needed the skills that my grandfather taught me.  Without him I wouldn’t be here today.  He’s always been and always will be my hero.  


Walking with the Ramblers 

About 3 years ago I became a member of the Ramblers.  Like my grandparents I’m a member of the Stoke & Newcastle Ramblers group.  Sometimes we all three take part in a Ramblers group walk.  We're quite bubbly people so we mingle with the group and talk to everybody and anybody.  I’m by far the youngest member of our Ramblers group but that doesn’t matter to me because it means I get to spend time with my grandparents.   


Family walks 

And sometimes we walk as a threesome, often in the Peak District which is lovely.  When nan pulls out the home-made scones and a flask of tea, you know you're having a great day.  We’ll spend the walk talking about all things we've done and places we’ve been over the years. It’s like taking a walk down memory lane whilst we’re out on new adventures. A couple of years ago the three of us walked up Snowdon, which was great to experience together. 

My favourite thing about walking with my grandparents is that it means I remain really close to them. A lot of people of my age don’t have their grandparents anymore. Or their grandparents are in a nursing home. But my grandparents have come through COVID and they’re still really active people. I’m proud of that.  I think my granddad will just keep going forever and I know they will always be there for me even when they aren’t still around.  I will keep on walking as a way of keeping their memory alive. 


Introducing others to walking 

I’m always recommending walking and the Ramblers to other people.  I introduced my wife to walking and I’ve been teaching my sister-in-law how to read a map because she is too reliant on using apps on her phone.  My grandfather taught me how to map read and I’m now passing on both the love of walking and that knowledge to the next generation.  My daughter is two and half years old and she walks everywhere.  I’ve bought her a pair of walking boots and I’m trying to make sure she enjoys walking like I do. 


Walking for mental wellbeing 

Walking keeps me sane.  I’ve been through and survived some awful stuff.  Wherever I’ve been my grandad has always been there either behind me or front of me. Whether he’s physically, there or just in my head, he always keeps me going.  

A selfie photo of Arron smiling.  There are large rugged hills behind him.

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