It’s the first anniversary of our Bath start-up this week so my blog is dedicated to Bath.
We started two weekly Nordic walking classes in Royal Victoria Park on 15th May 2017 with an energetic new instructor, Sarah Lillywhite. It is an excellent venue - a beautiful park with hidden nuggets of interest; a hilly golf course to get your heart pumping; and the all-important café (with far-too many tempting cakes) as our meeting point.
Like all new ventures it’s taken time to get going but with Sarah’s enthusiasm and the support of some dedicated walkers Bath is beginning to blossom. So much so that we are welcoming a new instructor - the vibrant Yvonne Bignall - from August and doubling the number of classes. Here’s what’s coming up over the next few months:
Regular Nordic walking fitness classes: Royal Victoria Park Pavillion cafe
Mondays 10am – with Sarah
Thursdays 10am – with Sarah
From August we will be adding:
Tuesdays 6pm – with Yvonne
Saturdays 9am – with Yvonne
Beginner workshops (more will be added)
Thursday 17th May 9.45am
Thursday 14th June 9.45am
Thursday 19th July 9.45am
(These are run by Sarah concurrently with the regular class taken by Vicky)
Lansdown Scenic Trail: Saturday 19th May and Sunday 17th June 10am
A delightful (mostly flat) 5.5 mile trail along the natural high plateau of Lansdown Hill, with superb views all the way and meeting at the Hare and Hounds pub, well known for its food.
Click here to book.
Bath skyline walk: Sunday 26th August 10am
Enjoy six miles of way-marked footpaths high above Bath in a beautiful rural setting. Secluded valleys, pretty meadows and ancient woodlands are interspersed with extensive views over Bath and out towards the Blackdown Hills.
Click here for more information and to book.
Brigitte’s story: My 1st year of Nordic Walking in Bath
Sarah’s first member was Brigitte Bell. Brigitte has supported us right from the start and has been instrumental in building our Bath Nordic walking community. Here’s her story.
“Having made the decision to retire in April 2017, I was looking for new activities to fill my time. After too many years spent on the couch and a pretty hectic office job, getting fitter was a priority. Before my knees started wearing out, I used to play tennis, go horse riding and skiing. Having tried a gym membership a couple of years ago, I knew that wasn’t really for me, so when I saw that Bristol Nordic walking was due to start up in Bath, I was really excited.
Coming from continental Europe, I have long been aware of the benefits of Nordic walking as a form of exercise that can be adapted for different ages and fitness levels. I had even joined a group in Hertfordshire roughly 15 years ago, but I don’t think the UK was ready for walkers with Nordic poles back then.
I was completely hooked after my first session with Ros and Sarah in May last year, joined up immediately and have barely missed any of the twice weekly sessions since. The Bath instructor, Sarah, has been very supportive; her enthusiasm and motivation kept me going during those early weeks, as we explored the beautiful surroundings in Victoria Park. It took a few weeks for others to join in, but a core group was well established by the end of the year, with some Bristol regulars coming along on occasion.
I look forward to the twice weekly sessions come rain or shine and to meet many more newcomers this year. Ok, lets mention the rain and mud during the winter months. It never stopped us, we just got to know our local sales staff in the outdoor shops very well and invested in waterproof kit. Best of all, my joint mobility (especially ze knees) has improved significantly and I have already managed to lose a couple of inches from my waistline! I hope to continue shaping up as my technique improves. Who knew that sucking your belly button in and breathing properly develops core strength? We also regularly draw the crowds when tourist coaches stop off on Royal Avenue to take the obligatory photograph of the Crescent – I’m sure we feature in many of those photos, taken by tourists from all over the world.
I will be forever grateful to Vicky and Ros for having the vision and staying power to establish the group in Bath. I know that my fellow walkers are equally hooked on Nordic walking by now and I really can’t imagine life without these sessions. The combination of good company (always meeting interesting people), exercise (that doesn’t really feel like exercise) and being outside (in beautiful surroundings) are a winning combination, not just for physical but also mental wellbeing.
The walks now provide the central framework to my new life and together with two other regular walkers we have ventured further afield, from Westonbirt, Forest of Dean to Stourhead – we are the ‘Three Mudsketeers’ enjoying the great outdoors all year round.”
If you haven’t yet joined us on one of our Bath classes please come - it's good walking, great company, and an excellent cafe.