The Backpacks and Bruises Peak Meets!!
13th February, 2020
Meet The Herd!
The Herd - we cannot be missed, trudging through the hills, if you don't see us at first you will most definitely hear us! The laughter that rolls over the hills from this group of amazing people will give us away.
What started as a little gathering of like-minded people just over a Year ago, has now grown into a 25+ herd of enthusiastic, Gor-Tex clad, beaming, friendly bunch of individuals you could ever wish to meet. The meets are now a regular monthly fixture, and we look forward to every one of them regardless of the weather outlook.
Our first meet - Win Hill
Little un's to the front!
Up and down our glorious countryside there are walking groups like ours that meet up occasionally, monthly and for some lucky ones, weekly. Even if you enjoy walking with a friend, your dog, a loved one or like many just your own company, then you may think a group walk is not for you. But we guarantee if you find the right tribe you'll love the benefits that walking as a collective can bring, and it will only enhance your enjoyment of the great outdoors. It wont replace your normal hiking rituals and you wouldn't want it to, but it will bring up some surprises that you didn't expect.
The biggest surprise for us when we started the group (apart from when people actually showed up!) is the lasting friendships we have made. Some of the faces on our walks have fast become more than just a familiar face. A few came along to the first walks, and kept themselves to themselves and have now become the very heart of our social meets, they help us to greet new comers and have helped encourage others when they've struggled or needed some friendly motivation, on a couple of occasions they've even assisted us in locating a few stray walkers (brummies tend to wander a lot).
Pete spots the pub on the horizon!
Taking that first step.
It's no secret these days of the benefit that the outdoors has on your mental health and general wellbeing. It is well documented in the media and encouraged by health experts, we hear about it all the time. But its not until you experience the outdoors for yourself that you just 'get it', here comes the old cliche...it makes you feel alive (sorry, not sorry). Then, when you give group walking a try you suddenly double up on the feel good vibes!!
It can be a daunting thought, to take yourself off and meet with a group of strangers you've never met with the intention of walking off into unknown territory, if this sounds way out of your comfort zone then its going to test the anxiety levels, this we know. But stepping up to the meeting point and saying hello is your only step alone, from there on you are going to wish you'd done it ages ago.
The first time me and Sam joined a group walk I was so nervous, I have never been that person that could just walk up to a person and introduce myself never mind a crowd of people! my anxiety levels were through the roof on the drive over. As we approached the meeting point the butterflies had been eaten by vultures and now they were swimming around my guts, I sensed that Sam was feeling the same. We stood in silence at the back and didn't speak, we whispered to each other about making a quick getaway. The group 'leader' came over and said his hello's (shit, we've made contact, there goes our escape plan then!) and eventually the group started to move out of the car park and we were on our way.
We came away at the end of that day with new friends and a completely new outlook on group walking. The like-minded conversations are ever changing as you pass from one person to another, you learn about new routes you never knew existed, stories of adventures you'd never considered trying for yourself, The pace is easy, and the security of walking in unknown territory is comforting, you don't have to think about the navigation because its all taken care of. We knew instantly that it was something we were going to do again, and more importantly something we wanted to organise ourselves.
Anxiety is a horrible thing, it can be butterflies in the stomach for one person and life debilitating for another. The reason of course that I went on that group walk was because I walked over with my best friend, would I have done it without her or she without me? probably not. It softens the stress levels to have a friend at your side.
We get a lot of messages from people who would love to join our walks but the idea of walking in alone is just not an option, often they don't attend the meet and we don't hear from them again. If this sounds familiar, you are not the only one. If it really is stopping you, message us, we will meet together and you will get to walk in with friends as we did. It is possible.
Forget the 'what ifs?'
Anyone who's never been on a group walk will have the same question running around their head..'What if I cant keep up and hold everyone back?'....Its never happened!
Everyone walks at their own pace. For some, when faced with a hill prefer to power up and get to the top as soon as they physically are able to (you can see the steam rising from their heads) others like to saunter up at a leisurely pace taking in the views (or as we call it, trying to breath at a normal rate), either way you are out in the hills, enjoying your surroundings and taking it in your own stride, believe us NO ONE CARES what pace you are going. The longer it takes you the better for those who've just power walked up like Rambo, because they are now at the top, trying their best not to collapse and embarrass themselves (you know who you are).
We take to the hills as a duo, its our lifeline, the adventures are always so much fun with your partner in crime by your side. People seemed surprised to learn that we also enjoy our solo ventures, the solitude of hiking to a summit and the silent achievement is sometimes all that's needed to clear the head, don't we all know that feeling? Even the hardiest solo hikers (the ones that always declare they hate people) are surprised by the enjoyment of other humans by adding an occasional group walk to their calendar.
Your vibe attracts your tribe. When you find the right group for you, in an area that you want to explore you will only be met with people that share your love of our great countryside. Without a doubt they'll appreciate that same feeling of joy when you step out into the fresh air. They'll hold you steady when you're are sliding like Bambi on a muddy path, you'll be offered a biscuit when that flask of tea gets opened, and the moment you hit that view and you all stand taking it in, you'll feel that same inner elation and triumph as your new found friends are feeling at that same moment.
How does it go? 'You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain'.
Watch what happened on the last herd meet below..