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Ramblers Scotland launches Inverness Young Walkers group to help people make most of the great outdoors

By John Davidson

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Inverness Young Walkers group leader Eve Smillie.
Inverness Young Walkers group leader Eve Smillie.

Young adults are being given a chance to put their best foot forward with a new group set up to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors.

The new walking group has been launched in Inverness and is aiming to help more young adults explore the Highlands together on foot.

Ramblers Scotland volunteer Eve Smillie will host Inverness Young Walkers’ first walk on Saturday, September 26; a seven-mile introductory circular walk around Inverness’s waterways.

It is expected to be the first of several more walks planned in the months ahead.

The new group is primarily aimed at people aged from 18 up to about 40, but all adults are welcome. It will complement Ramblers Scotland’s other groups nearby, including Inverness Ramblers and Badenoch & Strathspey Ramblers.

Black Isle-based woman Eve, who has been instrumental in launching Inverness Young Walkers, said: “Coming out of lockdown, I believe everyone has an appreciation for socialising whilst enjoying outdoor life and activities. Whether you are new to walking or have an established passion for exploring, I’d encourage experienced and non-experienced alike to join us.

“Our inaugural walk will be a journey of discovery around Inverness’s waterways. It will be welcoming, low-level and an opportunity for our group to get to know each other. You will also be able to find out a little more about the Ramblers, the volunteering and training opportunities that members can enjoy and the programme of walking and social events that we hope to host.

“There is an appetite for a group like this in the area and I look forward to seeing it shape and grow whilst exploring the wonderful part of Scotland that we are lucky to call home.”

It is Ramblers Scotland’s sixth dedicated young walkers group across the country, with similar groups already up and running in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Forth Valley, Glasgow and Tayside. They hold walks everywhere from beaches and in towns, to remote lochs and Munros.

Sam Knight, Ramblers Scotland’s youth development officer, said: “We’d been working with Eve to launch the group much earlier this year, but then sadly Covid-19 hit. It’s really exciting to finally get it up and running.

“To keep everyone safe at this challenging time, we’ll keep numbers low on our first walks and maintain physical distancing throughout.

“Our other young walkers' groups across Scotland have grown to be very popular, and we hope that this new group can play an important role in helping Highland young people enjoy healthy days outdoors on foot.”

To join the Inverness walk, which starts at 10am on September 26, register your interest by Friday, September 25, at bit.ly/InvernessWalk

The walk will follow the River Ness to the Ness Islands before heading along the Caledonian Canal towards the Sea Lock at Clachnaharry. The group will then pass through the Merkinch Nature Reserve and be rewarded with views out across the firth and the Kessock Bridge.

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