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Voices of the Walk
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Voices of the Walk

Author: Paths for All

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Voices of the Walk is Paths for All’s everyday walking podcast. Our mission is to get Scotland walking; everyone, everywhere and everyday. In this podcast, we’ll be hearing from a variety of Scotland’s walking champions who are helping make our vision a reality.
13 Episodes
Series highlights

Series highlights


To mark National Walking Month, we take a listen back to some memorable moments from the first series of Voices of the Walk.Thank you to all our guests from the last 12 episodes who all believe so passionately in the power of walking.
During our six-week Walking with Nature campaign, we encouraged everyone to appreciate their natural surroundings on daily walks.From listening to and observing birds to performing small acts of kindness that keep our walking routes safe and pleasant for everyone, the campaign aimed to help people unwind and enjoy the small, simple things.In this episode, we talk to University of Derby lecturer Caroline Harvey and PhD student Lea Barbett to explain why we can benefit from connecting with nature.Our guests explore the history of the connecting with nature concept, human beings' innate affinity with nature, and the research behind why it can improve our physical and mental wellbeing.We also find out more about the five pathways to connecting with nature.They also suggest ways in which people can notice and connect with nature every day, either when out on walks or staying indoors.
Joyous, therapeutic, invaluable, connection - just some of the words used by our podcast guests to describe Health Walks.In this podcast episode, we hear from walkers and volunteer Walk Leaders who explain their relationship with walking during a turbulent year.Our seven guests tell us what Health Walks meant to them pre-Covid, what they felt about walking during lockdown, and how it felt to be with others again when restrictions started to ease.We hear from walkers who say Health Walks have enriched their lives, parents who joined Buggy Walks and found vital peer support, and those who lead walks for people affected by dementia.Our guests also share their thoughts on why everyone should consider walking as part of their everyday life as we enter 2021.
Following on from his keynote at the Paths for All 2020 Expert Lecture, we caught up with renowned neuroscientist  Shane O'Mara to revisit the highlights from his presentation and put the audience's questions to him.During this episode, Professor O'Mara explains the ways walking can help protect us this winter, and his thoughts on walking for wellbeing.He also answers questions from delegates who attended our online Expert Lecture including Dr Fiona Wynde, Senior Evidence and Influencing Officer and Life Changes Trust and Sam Evans from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.To listen to the full presentation from 27 October, which also features a short presentation from Dr William Bird and a panel discussion with our Chief Officer Ian Findlay, click here.
We've all felt the effects of Covid-19. Our routines have been disrupted and restrictions have separated us from friends and family. Through our Humans of the Walk campaign, we have been able to shine a spotlight on what the wonder of walking has meant to people across Scotland through lockdown.In this special Voices of the Walk episode, we hear how walking brought solace and comfort to people challenges during lockdown, from job losses to being isolated or separated from family and friends. Listen to how walking alone, walking the dog, walking as part of the Step Count Challenge, walking with family or walking to help others made all the difference during difficult time.We hear from Ann and Ged, two volunteer Walk Leaders who have found new ways to bring physical activity to their local community.Our next guests, Mairi and Angie, both completed our Spring Step Count Challenge, despite lockdown separating them from their respective teams in Shetland and the Highlands.Finally, we welcome Terry and Jenni, who reflect on what making use of their local paths and greenspaces has meant to them over this challenging period.For more stories about how walking helped people to cope during lockdown, have a look at our new campaign Humans of the Walk at
Thanks to video conferencing, we caught up with renowned physical activity champion, Professor Nanette Mutrie MBE.In this podcast episode, Nanette shares with us her how she likes to keep active, her career highlights so far and the new projects she’s involved with.We also learn more about the role she played in the creation of the new Chief Medical Officers Physical Activity Guidelines published in September 2019 and what’s happening now to make sure these recommendations are communicated more widely than ever before.We also discuss one of Nanette’s favourite topics – Strength and Balance – and find out her thoughts on what’s being done to make sure older adults take part in exercises that strengthen muscles and improve coordination twice a week both at home and outdoors.We discuss our own resources - such as our new Strength and Balance panels which can be used in all health and social care settings - and also what Nanette herself has done to make Glasgow park goers more aware of the exercises.Nanette also shares with us her views on why the Coronavirus pandemic could be a “game changer” in terms of physical activity and offer us the chance to find the real barriers facing people trying to be active everyday.
We caught up with Elissa Wilson over Zoom to find out about her role as Volunteer Walk Leader and committee member at Dementia Friendly Prestwick. In this episode of Voices of the Walk, Elissa discusses how Dementia Friendly Prestwick has established a successful Health Walk in Prestwick. Their weekly walk is open to the whole community and makes use of the town’s promenade on the Ayrshire coast. We find out about what makes a walk dementia friendly and the benefits that being physically and socially active have for people living with dementia. Elissa also talks to us about their work to improve the promenade by making if safer, more accessible and enjoyable, not just for people with dementia but the whole community. And we also discuss how the group are working to ensure that people with dementia remain connected during the current Covid-19 pandemic. 
With over 25 years’ experience of coordinating Health Walks between them, Senga McLeod and Heather Macleod have seen first-hand the difference walking makes to so many people.In this podcast episode, they chat to Walking for Health Development Officer Nicole Bell about their roles, the impact that Health Walks have on individuals and the community, and the contribution of their fantastic volunteer network.They also share their views on what makes a great Walking for Health project and reflect on their most memorable and often fun moments over the years.Finally, the pair share their views on why being part of the Scottish Health Walk Network is so important, there hopes for the future of walking, and explain why they are pleased Paths for All are continuing to push walking further up the political and social agenda.
In this episode of Voices of the Walk, Paths for All’s Communications and Marketing Officer, Deborah Fox, is joined by Professor Jeff French, thought leader in the fields of behavioural influence, Social Marketing, social communication and citizen focused programme planning and evaluation – and keynote speaker at Paths for All’s 2019 Expert Lecture.Jeff is a visiting Professor at Brighton University and a Fellow at Kings College London University. He has published over 100 academic papers and five books as well as numerous guides and tool kits on Social Marketing, social communication, behavioural influence and other related topics. He was previously Director of Policy and Communication at the UK Health Development Agency and a senior civil servant in the UK Department of Health. In 2009, Jeff became the CEO of Strategic Social Marketing. Strategic Social Marketing’s aim is to directly contribute to programmes that will improve the quality of people's lives. It is passionate about working with and alongside people to improve the programmes, interventions and services they commission or develop to promote health and wellbeing.Deborah caught up with Jeff while he was in Edinburgh for our Annual Expert Lecture to find out more about Social Marketing, co-production for social good and the challenges and opportunities facing us as we look to create a more active nation.
In this episode of Voices of the Walk, Paths for All’s Technical Officer Graeme Anderson talks with our Community Path Volunteer of the Year Gillian Craig. Gillian joined Ayrshire Coastal Path three years ago to carry out maintenance work on the 100-mile walking route from Glenapp to Skelmorlie. Since then Gillian has gone on to recruit new volunteers, increase awareness of the path through social media and leading organised walks and has become a member of the group’s management team. Alongside her volunteering with Ayrshire Coastal Path, Gillian also documents and shares her walks through her website and encourages people to litter pick through ‘plogging’. Graeme spent some time with Gillian in her Dad’s shed in Kilmarnock to find out more about what drives her passion for walking, the outdoors and the Ayrshire coast.
Alec Finlay is an internationally recognised artist and poet. Alec's work crosses over a range of media and forms including poetry, sculpture, print and digital media. We were lucky enough to have Alec run a workshop at our recent Scottish Health Walk Network Conference, which was hugely popular, so we thought it would be great to hear more about his work and how it links with Paths for All’s mission to get Scotland Walking.In this episode, Alec describes how walking and landscape inform his work and everyday life and how we as a culture relate to the landscape and ecology around us.
Dr Jenny Lim worked as a GP in Grangemouth, Falkirk, for over 20 years and developed a strong interest in working with young people to promote health and wellbeing.Working with 11-year-olds from local primary schools, colleagues and Falkirk Community Trust, Jenny was behind the first Big Fit Walk, a series of 30-minute walk for all ages and abilities.In this episode, Jenny talks of her pride at being so heavily involved in the development of an event which was fun, free, inclusive and accessible.She also recalls the moment she learned about the power of physical activity and explains why she believes walking is "the solution to health challenges we must face".The Big Fit Walk is now proudly managed by us. It sees hundreds of short walks running across the country each June and is now in its 16th year.
In this episode of Voices of the Walk, we talk to Mary Allison. Mary is currently half way through a PhD at The University of Edinburgh's Physical Activity for Health Research Centre looking at the impact of Paths for All's workplace Step Count Challenge. We find out about Mary's findings so far and her reflections on walking, the workplace and the importance of accessing greenspace in helping us all cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life. The Step Count Challenge has been running since 2011 and aims to get people more active in and around the working day. Mary's research has been looking at how the challenge has helped people to walk more, as well as some of the challenges of trying to fit a bit more physical activity into our daily routines. Mary has spent the past thirty years working in a variety of roles in strategy, policy and research for NHS Scotland, Scottish Government, sportscotland and latterly as the director of Breast Cancer Now, a medical research charity.
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