Leap Day 2012

What did you do on Leap Day?
I joined my first “Health Walk” and had a great time.
The walk started at 2pm in the Main Reception area of Park Campus, University of Gloucester.
I drove there and paid for parking (£1 a day!) in the UoG carpark.
Once there it was easy to spot the walk leaders as they were wearing bright yellow tabards.
There was a good crowd of walkers gathered, some old hands and some new like me. After a quick chat and a pause to fill in essential forms to comply with Health and Safety rules we were off! The campus grounds themselves were absolutely beautiful in the spring sunshine. There were snowdrops and primroses out in abundance; squirrels chasing up spectacular trees, and ducks preening by the lake. I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera. But there was no time to stop as the advanced walkers were already out of sight! The walkers drifted naturally into four groups according to speed, but the groups were very fluid. People chatted and mixed with absolute ease. I was fortunate in finding three members of our local WI on the walk who I already knew, but I really would have felt very comfortable on my own as everyone was so welcoming.
The walkers varied in ages. I guessed that the oldest was about 80 but later I discovered she was 91!
The walk was a revelation to me. I have lived in Cheltenham since the 60s and I am ashamed to say I have never seen some of the lanes we walked along. The leaders avoided the main roads and took us across Shurdington Road passing the beautiful home of Zara Tindall. In no time at all we were  alongside market gardens and little farmsteads. I saw sheep with spotless lambs, a rare breed pig, a flock of geese, and dozens of happy hens as free range as they get. The only sounds I could hear were birds singing and lambs bleating.
The walk was 3.5 miles and took about 50 minutes before we all arrived back at UoG. There we all gathered in the refectory for a very welcome cup of tea. It was a good opportunity to get to know the other walkers better and I soon felt as if I had known them for years.
There are organised “Health Walks” every weekday, all different and all completely free to join. I will definitely be turning up for some of these. I can’t imagine a more enjoyable way to get healthy. I will also meet lovely people and see hidden gems in my own town that I have never seen before.
Leaflets with details of all the walks are available online at www.whi.org.uk
I went back on St David’s Day and took my camera!  Here are some of the pics…enjoy!

Basking in sunshine on 29th 2012

Lake at the Park

The essence of Spring

Sowdrops, sign of Spring

The lake at University of Gloucestershire, Park Campus

Minutes away from the main Shurdington Road, an alternative lifestyle

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