Walking has played a renowned role in 72-year-old Kelly Sagar’s life since being hospitalised and diagnosed with the lung condition pulmonary fibrosis last year.
At the start of his recovery, Kelly was only able to walk the length of his living room however has rebuilt his strength to the extent that he has since been able to come off steroid treatment following doctor’s advice. Now, Kelly can manage the condition himself, and credits his recovery to regular walks with a local Health Walk group, Wee County Walkers.
Since retiring as a maintenance engineer in 2009, walking became my main hobby with unrivalled physical and mental health benefits. Following my diagnosis, walking now plays an even bigger role in my life – which I never thought was possible!
I started walking with the Wee County Walkers group which is a local Health Walk group in the area and it increased my enjoyment even more. It has given me a chance to share my love of the activity with others while finding new routes and socialising.
The Wee County Walkers run daily Health Walks around Clackmannanshire, organised by dedicated volunteer Walk Leaders like Kelly, who became one of the first Walk Leaders. Established in in 2010, their Health Walks have quickly became popular in the area, with 40-50 people participating every week.
The group offer opportunities for local people who are feeling isolated or lonely to come together, make friends and explore beautiful walks in the area. The group is going from strength to strength, with the age of group members ranging from the mid-40s to 93.
One of my favourite local walks is around the Black Devon Wetlands between Alloa and Clackmannan. The walk is in beautiful setting, and away from cars, so it’s a very peaceful route where you can just enjoy being out in the fresh air and lose yourself in the scenery.
Another favourite walk of Kelly’s is around the Ochil Hills, in particular Alva Glen. With main roads out of earshot, the walk boasts a waterfall and stunning views which help to improve mental health through building positive relationships and connections with local nature.
Kevin Lafferty, CEO of Paths for All, said:
Kelly’s commitment to the Wee County Walkers is fantastic and his passion towards walking locally plays an important part in showcasing that you don’t have to go to popular hotspots in Scotland to enjoy it and experience scenic routes.
Walking can bring a magnitude of benefits. Not only can it have instrumental improvements to an individual’s health like it has with Kelly, but it also provides an opportunity to get to know local areas better, help make new social connections and positively impact the environment.
Health Walks like the Wee County Walkers group are free and welcome those of all abilities, including wheelchair users and those living with disabilities. Taking place regularly all over Scotland, Health Walks support the most inactive people to take their first small step towards enjoying physical activity.
We have a selection of exciting prizes up for grabs for those who take part, including one of 10 available £100 Blacks vouchers on offer. Winners are selected twice a week, every week of May.
If you are interested in learning more about our National Walking Month campaign ‘Walk everyday this May’ and would like to take part, visit our dedicated page here.