Festival of Winter Walks helps fight the festive fug

Festival of Winter Walks - Grantham Ramblers walk

The Grantham Ramblers enjoying their 'Walking off the pudding' walk

Our annual winter walking festival saw people turn out in their droves from 21 December to 5 January for bracing strolls in the crisp cold rewarded by mince pies, carols and a sense of satisfaction all round.

Our volunteers led over a thousand walks throughout the festive period ranging from an early morning climb up Pen y Fan to see the winter solstice to inspiring outings along the South West Coast Path and Loch Leven.

The Kinross and Ochil Ramblers, who put on the Loch Leven walk on 4 January enjoyed by 20 walkers, were spoilt for choice on their walk. “We visited ruins, saw Covenanters’ graves, a huge heron sitting on a bridge and a group of swans on the loch – not bad for a damp, grey day in January!” enthused Jacqui Ritchie.

The Dinefwr Ramblers were blessed with better weather on their 35-strong Mince Pie Walk on Boxing Day. “The sun shone all day,” said Hugh Simpson. “We had our mince pies and sherry by the big pond in Dinefwr Park and then continued on to visit Dinefwr Castle”.

Clear skies were also the order of the day for the 19 walkers who joined the Grantham Ramblers on 2 January. “We climbed out of town and had views over Grantham and beyond to the Trent Valley power stations” remarked Janet Gregory.

Also enjoying the views were the West Kent Walking Group, who welcomed 20 walkers on their short ramble on 22 December. “We had plenty of time to take in the beautiful countryside around Westerham,” said Penny Dommett. “After a meal in the village, we all made our way to Westerham Parish Church for an amazing carol service.”

Ivel Valley RamblersMeanwhile the 51 walkers who joined the Ivel Vallery Ramblers (pictured right) were in for a treat with an informative meander through London taking in Lincoln's Inn Fields, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey . “Every word savoured, every sight viewed afresh. No one lost, no one excluded. Everyone taking away memories” reported Barry Ingram.

Thirty-two walkers who braved the elements with the Rushcliffe Ramblers on a New Year's Day walk also enjoyed some local culture. "We learned about the legend of Robin Hood and his meeting with Friar Took in Fountaindale. We walked uphill through Blidworth, reputedly the home of Maid Marian, and learned about Matthew Clay, a Blidworth resident who successfully fought in the battle of Waterloo" said Larraine Donovan.

Our free and open to all Festival of Winter Walks continues to be hugely popular with Ramblers members and non-members alike and we’re already looking forward to more outings to see Britain at its wintry best from 20 December to 4 January next year.