Andrea's story

A snap decision to meet Edinburgh Young Walkers for a day out in the hills back in 2012 has provided Andrea with a whole world of unexpected adventure.

Couple standing on mountain 

I was having serious sleeping problems after I finished my degree, started a new job and fell out with my closest friends. I had hardly slept in months, and it was causing me difficulties. I felt very tired and physically unwell, and as a result I started to lose contact with my friends.

I was looking for an activity to help me get active and stop my sleeping problems. I was not particularly sporty type, but I felt like physical activity that I would enjoy would help me.  I used to walk near Edinburgh, and a colleague recommended I look into the Ramblers.

My first walk with Edinburgh Young Walkers was around Roslin, which was a short and flat walk. I got really enthusiastic and signed up to the next big walk, which was a 28km with a really big ascent. I did it. I could barely walk the next day, but I loved it!

I like that I can go walking without make-up, or any special effort. Nobody cares about that stuff. Normally when you go out to socialise, you are expected to dress up and behave yourself in a certain way. But on a hill, you’re not out to impress anyone. It was such a relief to find that.

Joining the Ramblers wasn’t about the social side, as I didn’t even know what Ramblers really were.  All I wanted was to do a bit more outdoors activity. But now, my friends from the group are my main social circle.

Although I can still experience some trouble sleeping, Edinburgh Young Walkers has made my life so much better in general. It’s such a welcome change from my 9 to 5 world.
Walking is different from sports like running, and for me it’s a form of relaxing. You can see some amazing sights, talk to nice people and make amazing memories – while getting out in nature and clearing your head.

I moved to Edinburgh from Slovakia 11 years ago, having grown up surrounded by mountains, but with no appreciation for mountain walking and hiking. I remember thinking, why would I ever want to do that?

But now I am so involved in it. I’m leading walks, and part of the group committee. I feel I’ve learnt so much from the people I’m surrounded by. It’s nice to feel part of a real walking community.

Let's explore the outdoors this winter...

  • My top tip for winter walking is - stay warm, bring hot drink and enjoy the views. 
  • My favourite place to walk in winter is Mamores range near Kinlochleven - so remote, dramatic and beautiful under snow. Walking helps me to clear my head, stay fit and allows me to gain a different perspective on everyday life. Hiking up a hill is not easy however once you reach the top, you feel such a sense of accomplishment. This can be applied to life - reaching milestones is not easy or straightforward, however if you persist, you get there, and all the effort will be worth it.
  • I’d say join a Festival of Winter Walks walk near you because hiking is a great part of my life and has had such a positive impact on my wellbeing. You can gain that too!

Andrea is a member of the Edinburgh Young Walkers group. You can start walking with a local Ramblers group in your area this Festival of Winter Walks.

Find a walk near you. Filter by 'Festival of Winter Walks'.