December 20th, 2018
“The Ramblers Festival of Winter Walks has been providing festive wintery walks for all to enjoy for over 25 years,” Angela Charlton, Director of Ramblers Cymru, tells us as we chat about the forthcoming walking festival. The winter walking extravaganza organised by The Ramblers is one of their most popular annual events, with guided walks taking place up and down the country.
It may be tempting to stay indoors and curl up on the sofa with a festive box of chocolates and an old film, but exploring our country in the winter time can be really special. There are usually less people, so beauty spots are quieter, calmer and more peaceful. Clear winter skies lend an ethereal magic to the scenery that is crisp and sharp, and there’s still plenty of winter wildlife to spot such as migrating birds and small animals on the hunt for the bright winter berries, whose tracks are often easier to spot in fresh snow.
And Angela agrees. “There’s something wonderful about walking over the festive season; the company of family and friends, exploring beautiful winter landscapes under clear skies or the fun of being the first to make tracks in the snow; all of these things make getting out and about at this time of year even more of an adventure,” says Angela.
Festival of Fun
Walking festivals have dramatically increased in popularity over recent years, as more people reap the benefits of enjoying a bracing walk – be it for better health and fitness, as an economical alternative to the gym or as a way of exploring their local area. And combining walking with the fun atmosphere of a festival is a great way to meet other people and join in with the local community.
Walking is one thing that The Ramblers know something about. For almost 80 years it has been encouraging the British public to enjoy the great outdoors and find pleasure in the most basic, but satisfying, of exercises – walking. At the end of the nineteenth century when great swathes of people lived in the smoggy and stifling industrial cities of England, escaping to the countryside and walking for pleasure became a popular pastime, at least for the wealthy classes. However, access to the countryside was much more difficult then, and several clubs and groups sprang up to campaign for freer access to the countryside.
In 1935, a few years after the infamous “Kinder Scout Trespass” (when over 400 people trekked across Kinder Scout in the Peak District to highlight the poor countryside accessibility), The Ramblers Association was officially formed. Since then, The Ramblers, as the organisation is now known, has not stopped campaigning for the rights of walkers, including taking on the more recent challenges of the “Right to Roam” laws in 2000 and the “One Coast for All” campaign in 2009.
Wrap up warm with plenty of layers to keep off the cold – several thin layers are more useful than one thick layer, as warm air gets trapped between the layers and provides insulation. This also means that you can add or remove layers as your temperature changes. A good, comfortable pair of walking boots or shoes is always good to have.”
And if you need any more encouragement to join in The Ramblers festive fun, then Angela believes that there really is an event for everybody.
“Whether it’s a merry jaunt to the pub on Christmas eve you’re after, a festive Boxing day walk to burn off the mince pies, or a lengthy hike to start the new year on a the right foot, there are hundreds of free festive walks led by Ramblers volunteers to choose from across Britain, and hundreds of reasons to join in! So gather your friends and family and encourage them to join you for a festive walk near you!”
For more details about the Festival of Winter Walks or to search for a guided walk or event near you, visit www.ramblers.org.uk/go-walking/festival-of-winter-walks.aspx