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Highland online hiking challenge has circled the globe

By Neil MacPhail

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Hike the Highlands milestone map.
Hike the Highlands milestone map.

PEOPLE taking part in the Hike The Highlands virtual challenge have completed more than 72 million steps, further than the 24,901-mile circumference of the earth, in less than three months.

The walking challenge was created by Think Health Think Nature, one of four Scotland wide pilot projects aiming at supporting individuals and communities with improvements to their health and wellbeing, all while engaging with the natural environment.

Ailsa Villegas, NHS Highland said: “Staying active and connecting with nature on a regular basis is important for everyone’s health and well-being. We hoped this virtual challenge would allow participants to experience the natural beauty of the Highlands, while exercising close to home during the current pandemic.”

The challenge is a 369-mile long-distance route, virtually covering some of the most magnificent beauty spots in the North of Scotland. Participants take part by "banking" steps during their day to day routine or exercise which are recorded via phones or pedometers before using these as credits along the route.

The challenge is hosted by World Walking, a small Greenock-based charity who are passionate about encouraging people to take steps towards fitness and reap the benefits of a healthier, active lifestyle.

World Walking’s founder Duncan Galbraith said: “We are delighted to be partners with Think Health Think Nature on their excellent Hike the Highlands from Home initiative. Motivating people to walk more for health hand happiness while promoting the best of Scotland. What could be better?"

He urged others to join for free at http://worldwalking.org/thinknaure

So far, the challenge has around 625 participants.

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