North Lanarkshire may not be the first location you might think of if you are planning to go out walking, but an extensive path network of nearly 500 miles the area has a great deal to offer.
From easy strolls around parks to longer rambles through open countryside - there’s something for everyone at this year’s North Lanarkshire Walking Festival.
The 2019 programme offers walks for families with young children and those new to walking as well as ramblers looking to go further afield.
Running from Monday, August 5, to Sunday, August 11, this week long event includes 33 walks taking place in different locations across North Lanarkshire.
Jim Cassidy, chairman of the North Lanarkshire Outdoor Access Forum, said: “North Lanarkshire has a wide variety of areas to walk in, from canal and riverside walks, to parks, moorland and hillside; which is why North Lanarkshire Council are holding a walking festival to encourage people to get out and use what is on their doorstep.”
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.
Jim said: “The physical health benefits of walking are well documented, but many people aren’t aware that going out for a walk has mental health benefits too, and these are massive issues which affect many people across the whole of Scotland.
“Walking is also a great way to spend time with the family, to see wildlife and learn about nature, and the programme of walks which has been laid on this year aims to appeal to all ages and abilities, from tots and teens right through to more mature walkers, there is something for everyone.”
Now in its fourth year the festival has been successful in encouraging not only local people to use their own greenspace, but brought people from across Scotland to North Lanarkshire to see it has to offer.
Jim said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity to introduce the area to people who wouldn’t otherwise think of visiting and I’m always immensely proud when visitors remark on how lucky we are to have such an amazing landscape on our doorstep.
The walks are led by members of the council access team, members of the Access Forum and other organisations such as local ramblers clubs.
Jim said: “It’s a real community event. Our walk leaders have a real interest in the local environment and are so enthusiastic.
“Last year’s awful weather was a real test of that though, so we have moved the festival to early August where we should have some kinder weather.
“Our main priority is to get people out and enjoying the surroundings for themselves and to inspire them to do it again-and again!”
All the walks are free, but booking is essential by calling 01236 632838 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The view the full programme visit www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk and search for ‘Walking Festival 2019’.