‘Walk It’ initiative launched

all across the Borders people are taking up the opportunity to come together and enjoy a good walk in the company of others who live in the same town or village.

Walk It, is a joint initiative by Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders where qualifed walk leaders take local people on safe, low level walks that last about an hour and provide both exercise and social interaction.

So far 14 walk leaders regularly take out groups across the region. Coldstream, Chirnside and Earlston walks were added to the list earlier this year and a further four - in Hawick, Tweedbank, Innerleithen and Darnick are the most recent additions.

In Coldstream the walks are proving extremely popular, and walk leader Guy Richardson regularly has 25+ people accompanying him on his fortnightly expeditions.

And the walks are equally popular in Chirnside.

Denise Carmichael, who co-ordinates the project, said: “We are always looking for new walk leaders and backmarkers to assist the project all over the region.

“I’m especially keen for volunteers to come forward from the Duns, Jedburgh, Ancrum and Newcastleton areas.

“If you would like to find out more about the programme and the free training offered, please get in touch.

“Walk leaders are always happy to see new participants on their walks.”

Dr Eric Baijal, director of public health for SBC and NHS Borders, emphasised that: “Not only is walking good for your health and well-being physically, walking in a group is also very sociable and has been proved to relieve stress and anxiety.”

Councillor Sandy Scott, SBC executive member for communities and health, added: “Since 2010 there has been a 260% growth in the Walk It walks on offer.

“This is excellent news and demonstrates the success of the programme and how much these walks are appreciated by local people.”

Walk It is also happy to support projects and workplace walking groups and had great success last year with projects for disabled walkers in conjunction with the Borders Disability Forum.

For more information contact Denise Carmichael on 01835 824000 or email denise.carmichael@scotborders.gov.uk

Walk It walks timetables for the Berwickshire walks: Chirnside - every fortnight on a Thursday at 10am, meet at the bus shelter at Crosshill (contact walk leader Annette on 01890 818769); Coldstream - every fortnight on a Thursday at 10am, meet outside the Community Centre in Coldstream (contact walk leader Guy on 07717547861).