'MS friendly' walking /rambling clubs

I don’t want to appear to be bragging and therefore upsetting anyone in here whan I say that I still enjoy my hobby of walking the countryside, hills and mountains of England and N.Wales, but I am fortunately still fit enough to do so…lucky ole me ey?

However, I do struggle a bit sometimes. a bit ponderous and have the need to take fairly regular breaks as my legs get quite weak after a while.

This outrages me with frustration, especially when I see folk, sometimes considerably older than me, but probably not fellow sufferers, go marching past me, hardly pausing for breath while I sit there exhausted, puffing panting and sweating like a pig.

As a consequence, I usually go out alone which gets me down a bit. Be nice to have someone to chat to and enjoy the experience with sometimes.

Mate of mine who sometimes but rarely comes out with me, asked me would I like to accompany him up Scafell Pike on an organised trip with a guide?

I had to decline though as i felt I’d be holding the party up. I was cursing and livid with myself tbh, but I had to say no knowing I’d be an embarrasing liabilty.

Checked out all the local walking clubs, but no mention of disabled humans being welcome and don’t want to join and then cause embarrasment to myself.

Anyone know what the solution or answer should be?

Is there such a club for us ‘lucky’ mildly disabled hikers?

Hi C.J,

Have you tried the “Walking to Health” scheme in your region? This is free guided walks, led by trained volunteers. It used to be run in partnership with the NHS, but has recently been taken over by MacMillan Cancer Support, and the Ramblers Association.

However, you do NOT have to have cancer (or any medical condition) to join the walks. Although it was originally aimed at people who needed to work on their fitness for medical reasons (morbidly obese, post-operative etc), the take up has been far greater amongst ordinary members of the public, with no specific medical problem, who just want to improve their general fitness.

I’ve done very few this year - but mostly because of the dire weather, not because of my condition. I do get very nervous when it’s slippery underfoot, which it has been a lot, as it’s hardly stopped raining, so this has not been a good year walk wise.

But all the walks are graded in terms of distance and difficulty, so you get as much guidance as possible about whether they will be suitable. You can check in advance if there are steps, uneven ground, stiles, or it’s likely to be muddy. They also tell you if there’s a loo or any refreshments at the assembly point (the walks are all circular, so you get back to where you started).

It tends to be mostly retired people go on them, so I’m often by far the youngest. But many of them are experienced walkers, so that doesn’t mean there’s no pace. But there are always guides front AND back (sometimes more), so if the group gets too widely dispersed, the front will stop to let the stragglers catch up.

Some walks offer a choice of length and/or difficulty, so if, for example, there is a steep section, there may be an option for the less confident walkers to go round that bit, and meet back up further on.

I don’t know if this might, in fact, prove too easy for you, if you are still able to tackle hills and mountains. I have tackled all grades of walk, except for the very hardest, which are listed as more “challenging” walks, for the experienced walker. But there are not very many of those: most are chosen to be accessible to a wide cross-section of people.

You do not have to pre-book, or commit to a certain number of walks. You just turn up to the ones you fancy. I like it that you do NOT get pestered if you don’t go for a while - it’s not like boot camp!

For insurance purposes, you have to complete a short form before the first one (I did, anyway), and tell them about any medical conditions. I didn’t find that intrusive, because it helps that the leaders know I have hidden problems. They can make sure there’s a “catcher” standing by to watch me over the stiles, and that kind of thing. All the walks are researched in advance, which is how they can rate how difficult they are.

Hope this might help, but I have a feeling you’re going to say it’s one of the schemes you’ve already tried…

Tina

No it’s not Tina (last sentence), and I thank you VERY much for the info. I shall indeed check it out and act accordingly.

I sometimes feel like an outcast, so generally keep my mouth shut about this wretched poxy condition. as i don’t like to admit to it. IIt won’t piggin’ beat me or grind me down though, grrrrr!

Be so nice to listen to others problems worries and concerns rather than just me wandering around in the mist rumblin’ grumblin’ and rantin’ to myself. Wouldn’t mind, but I DO actually answer myself back sometimes too! Think I must have mental problems as well as MS!

Managed to get up ‘The Old Man of Coniston’ last weekend, mainly on adrenelin as i took a wrong turn and ended up having to slither up an ice field. Absolutely wrecked and shaking when i got to the top, but / and would have been so nice to have shared the experience as it was immense (to me)

Right, must dash, up my local hill Moel Famau with a packed lunch and flask now.

Thanks again Tina. Most most helpful and cheered me up too.

Sorry, just noticed it’s Walking FOR Health (not “to”, as I said). Still comes up as the first hit on Google either way, but you might be confused if you saw it, and it didn’t match the name I said…

Hope you’ve had a nice afternoon out walking, by the time you read this. I still think the “Walking for Health” routes could be a bit basic for you, judging by your accounts of what you’re already managing. It might be YOU getting frustrated by dawdlers. Though you might be able to single out the “D+” routes (harder ones) that I’m careful to avoid.

Tina