Ramblers in Balloch Castle Country Park

Follow the leader

Ramblers launch new scheme aimed at developing skills 

No-one wants to leave a session with their sports group feeling that they haven’t had a proper workout, or - worse still - demoralised by activities that were far too tough.

Meeting the ability of all members is always a challenge for clubs, no matter the activity. But for groups leading rambles in Scotland’s jagged landscape, when walks can potentially last all day and see people scaling Scotland’s highest peaks, it is truly essential.

One person’s gentle stroll can be another walker’s Ben Nevis, so Ramblers Scotland’s 55 groups want to offer the broadest possible spectrum of walks to attract and retain members.

That’s why Ramblers Scotland is launching an initial year-long project to offer its Walk Leaders the chance to learn skills, build confidence and earn qualifications for free. 

What is a Walk Leader?

More than 1,100 volunteers lead a wonderful range of Ramblers Scotland walks all over the country each year – including everything from gentle lochside strolls to challenging hill climbs.

However, some groups want more Walk Leaders, or leaders with advanced skills, so they can expand the range of walks they can offer.

A training framework 

The first stage of the project will use £50,000 funding from sportscotland to:

  • Better understand Walk Leaders in Scotland
  • Create a Walk Leadership Sounding Board to shape future training
  • Develop a basic Walk Leadership course for people who want to brush up their skills, or learn new ones
  • Consider next steps for future training

Project officer Katy Robinson said: “We’re excited to launch this project to improve the training we offer our wonderful Walk Leaders here in Scotland.

“It will provide a platform for existing leaders to share expertise, and deliver training to others. And we’re creating a new Walks Leadership Sounding Board to ensure our training truly meets the needs of members. 

“We can’t wait to begin offering members the chance to learn new skills from early in 2017.”

The Walk About has begun

It has been a busy time at the Ramblers, with their biggest-ever nationwide festival in their 80-year history last month.

Walk About festival kicked off north of the border with a free celebration of Scottish walking at Balloch Castle Country Park on September 3.

Dozens of walkers of all ages enjoyed 20 different led walks during the Balloch event, which also included games, stalls, free maps and a talk from Scottish mountaineer James Ogilvie.

Meanwhile, more than 100 other local Walk About festival walks took place across Scotland from September 3-11 – with Ramblers welcoming non-members to join them for fun-filled walks.

Walk About was supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery to help everyone, everywhere enjoy walking. 

Find out more

Visit the Ramblers Scotland website. 


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