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.
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.
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.
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