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Scottish charity launches new walking initiative

hikers on stepping stones
Walkers cross a river on stepping stones (Image credit: Getty Images)

A Scottish charity has launched a hiking initiative to encourage more people to connect with nature every day.

The Paths For All six-week programme, Walking with Nature, aims to encourage people to enjoy and appreciate the natural environment all around them by showing them how to tune into sights, sounds and scents on daily hikes.

Throughout February and March, the project will explore bird song, forests and weather and share activities and knowledge on how best to connect with nature.

Walking with Nature will also look at micro volunteering and encourage small acts of kindness. such as moving a branch blocking a path, or saying a friendly “hello” to a passerby.

walking with nature banner

Join the Walking With Nature project  (Image credit: Paths For All)

The campaign comes as a UK-wide Office for National Statistics survey shows happiness and life satisfaction are at their lowest levels since the start of the Covid pandemic last March.

It also builds on a NatureScot report that found more people reported health and wellbeing benefits from time spent outdoors connecting with nature during Covid restrictions. 

The Enjoying the Outdoors: Monitoring the impact of Coronavirus and social distancing Wave 2 survey revealed 70% pf participants indicated that outdoor visits and engagement with nature between August and September helped them to de-stress, relax and unwind. This represents an increase from 63% in March to May. 

Ian Findlay CBE, Paths for All chief officer, said: “All too often when people go out walking they are still attached to their phone and forget to take in the surroundings that we are graced with in Scotland.

“We hope this campaign will help people unwind and begin to enjoy the small and simple things in life, like spotting a wild animal, hearing a new noise or just generally feeling relaxed when out in the fresh air. 

“We believe that by encouraging people to walk everyday they will experience many positive physical, social and mental health benefits and in turn we will move forward from this pandemic as a healthier, greener, safer and happier nation.”

See Paths for All for more information.

Fiona Russell

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.