I was somewhat amused this Christmas when my brother stood up to make a speech about the successes and ambitions of those round the dining table, six of whom were under 25 and the rest over 45.  Whilst there was plenty to say for the younger generation, the best most of us older lot got was a congratulations on making it through another year relatively unscathed or reaching a significant birthday.  The younger half of the table were high-fiving and back-slapping, the older half puzzling how they could possibly have nothing more meaningful said about another year passed.

It set me thinking: there’s absolutely no reason why years on the clock should mean fewer goals or achievements.  But whilst January is traditionally a time for New Year’s resolutions, statistically only one third of us manage to keep them beyond January and less than one quarter actually achieve them.  A far more successful approach is to set ourselves a goal, preferably one that is:


  • S – Specific (or Significant)
  • M – Measurable (or Meaningful)
  • A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented)
  • R – Relevant (or Rewarding)
  • T – Time-bound (or Trackable)

I know many of our club have set themselves some SMART walking challenges this year.  Over fifty of us have signed up to our whole club Three Peaks Challenge taking place on 24th March (it’s not too late to sign up by the way).  Many have also entered Country Walking’s #walk1000miles challenge, requiring a walking investment of 2.74 miles a day.  Both will ensure a consistent, health-enhancing dose of brisk walking in the great outdoors.

Whatever your ambition this year, if it involves health, fitness, walking, sociability or the desire to get out a bit more and explore both in the UK and abroad, Bristol Nordic Walking is a great place to start.  Here’s what’s on offer:

Beginner workshops – If you’re new to Nordic walking we run frequent 1.5 hour long beginner workshops to teach you the basic technique and explain what Nordic walking can do for you.  In Bath Vicky and Sarah run these workshops monthly alongside one of our regular Thursday walks, whilst in Bristol Ros runs at least one every week. 

Hour-long fitness walks – These run throughout the week from venues in Bristol and Bath.  They are carefully designed to include fitness and Nordic walking technique development components, plus stretching at the end.

Nordic walking workouts – Similar to our hour-long fitness walks but we add resistance and body weight exercises for more specific muscle-toning and bone-strengthening.  These classes meet on the Downs and in Ashton Court and are run by Vicky and Rachael.

Two-hour stamina walks – We now have two of these walks: a well established (and often quite fast) Saturday morning walk with Patsy out of Leigh Woods and a new more moderate paced stamina walk with Miro on Wednesday mornings from Ashton Court.  Both of these are included within membership.

Shorter slower walk – This 45 minute walk runs every Tuesday 11.15am on the Downs and is suitable for those who don’t feel confident about walking for an hour.

Parkinsons walks – Patsy and Ros run two 45 minute classes every week on the Downs for people with Parkinsons and their supporters/friends.  No need to have done the beginner workshop first – we will teach you as you go.  It’s lots of fun and everyone is welcome, although booking is advised as these classes are becoming very popular.

Penny Brohn Cancer Care walks – Patsy runs a walk every Tuesday afternoon from the grounds of Penny Brohn UK for those who use the centre and their friends.  It is a vibrant group and assistance from walk leaders means that you will be able to join this group whatever your fitness or energy levels.  Contact Penny Brohn direct for more details.

Scenic walks - There’s much stunning walking to be enjoyed around Bristol and Bath and we will offer a whole range of scenic walks throughout the year.  Currently we have three outings to Crook Peak on the Mendips (click here to read more) plus a Forest of Dean Nordic walk and Hopewell Colliery tour.  Both still have spaces.

Courses and workshops – Our New Year Shape Up course starts shortly and we plan to run another Mindful Nordic Walking course in the Spring.  For those of you that are interested in developing your map reading and compass skills, we have a Navigation Workshop later this month and will run another later this year.  We also plan to put on some specific neck and shoulder health workshops in conjunction with local physios and other similar workshops soon.

Weekends away and trips abroad – A snowshoeing trip to the Pyrenees, a walking weekend in Falmouth, two visits to Girona and an Autumn Dartmoor weekend are all on our agenda this year.  You are loving these trips and we hope to add new venues to our list through the year.  Click here to see further details on the current trips.

There’s always so much going on and everyone is welcome.  We have monthly socials (every 1st Wednesday of the month at the Kings Arms), summer and Christmas special events plus this July we are hosting a Nordic walking group from Girona, a great opportunity to show off this fantastic part of the country.  So get those walking boots of yours out and let’s get going!