30 August 2020 by Gordon Chalk
I’m a firefighter, but I’ve been living with a hip injury after I caught someone who had fallen off a ladder. I’d been having injections for the pain, but then my doctors advised that I get into walking – to help keep my hip loose and prevent it locking. That’s what happens if I’m immobile for too long; I get really bad hip and lower back pain.
So I started looking around for walks to do, and I joined the Ramblers in March 2020. I’d been planning to get involved with group walks near where I live in Sunderland, but then the COVID-19 pandemic began – we went into lockdown and group walks had to be suspended.
Getting into walking under lockdown
So, I turned instead to walks that I could do locally on my own -- in places like Durham and then eventually further afield in places like Berwick. I really enjoyed them – getting out into the fresh air is much better than just sitting about, and it gives you a fitness boost.
I’ve done over a dozen walks now in some great locations in the North East of England – a big ‘thank you’ you for all the walking routes The Ramblers provide for a very small monthly joining fee.
My daughter has just signed for a football scholarship with Sunderland FC, so I’ve taken her along too, it’s good for her fitness too. I’ve also got an uncle who is into walking, so I’ve shared with him some of the routes I’ve done.
Exploring local history on walks with the Ramblers app
I use the Ramblers app when I’m out walking; it’s brilliant! It gives you a really good, step by step guide on where you are going, how far you have walked – DiI can follow it perfectly. I also really like the Points of Interest information it gives you along a route. I’m into history, so I like going home and finding out more about what I’ve discovered along the way whilst out walking. For example, in Berwick there is a ruined castle under the railway bridge, and in Durham on the Frankland Walk I found Maiden Castle. I’d also love to see if I can create some more walks in Sunderland.
Walking regularly definitely helps my hip and keeps me fit, but it’s also good for me mentally – it gives you something to get involved with and look forward to. Once group walks are back up and running near me, I will definitely join in with them too.
Walking is for everyone! Joining The Ramblers has given me a lot more incentive and motivation to go out and do it.
Joining the Ramblers gives you access to Ramblers Routes, a growing collection of nearly 4,000 routes, developed by walkers for walkers of all levels of experience, across Great Britain The Ramblers, Great Britain’s largest walking community, is waiting to welcome you for just £3.05 a month. Find out more: www.ramblers.org.uk/get-involved/join-the-ramblers