The Park will be celebrating the best short local walks from next Saturday with the aim being to encourage many people to pledge to get out and enjoy a walk with friends, colleagues or neighbours.
Initiated by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) through its Active Cairngorms campaign, the idea behind Wee Walks Week is to help people discover the health benefits of being active daily.
Wee Walks Week isn’t a walking festival with organised, ‘led walks’ – it’s much more informal than that and the CNPA hopes that people who take part will feel the better for it and make it a regular part of their daily or weekly routine.
Adam Streeter-Smith, one of the CNPA’s Outdoor Access Officers said: “Wee walks are a great way to get outdoors – they are fun, free and help you to feel great. A wee walk can be as short as you like, but usually under four miles on good paths and gentle slopes.
“You don’t need special equipment so it’s easy to head out on your own or with others.”
Peter Argyle, CNPA Convener, said: “The Cairngorms National Park is the UK’s biggest and has the best wee walks by a mile! Wee Walks Week is all about helping people discover the health benefits of being active daily.
“Through Active Cairngorms we would like residents and visitors to enjoy and use the National Park for physical activity on a daily basis and in doing so improve their general health and wellbeing.”
The CNPA’s Recreation and Access Manager, David Clyne added: “The Cairngorms National Park attracts 1.7 million visitors per year with 44 per cent of them enjoying low level walking while they are here – the Park is also home to 18,000 residents.
“With the excellent path network we have in and around communities, the Cairngorms National Park can definitely help prompt active lifestyle changes for people.
“We were delighted with the response to last year’s Wee Walks Week, with the total miles registered equalling two and a half times round the boundary of the Park – it would be great if we could collectively go even further in 2017.”
Studies show that walking is an effective form of exercise – just 30 minutes a day is enough to make a significant difference to a person’s health.
It reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, and type two diabetes as well as keeping the musculoskeletal system healthy. Just as importantly it also promotes mental wellbeing and can help tackle issues around social isolation.
To take part in Wee Walks Week, simply pledge your walk on the CNPA website, where there is also information on Health Walks and access to community path leaflets.
Share your Wee Walks Week photos on social media using #WeeWalks or you can email to [email protected]