The year of the rambler
As he prepares to lead the first of a new series of
walks around Kent – in partnership with What’s On – Geoff Rambler
explains why you should swap your trainers for boots this
Forget expensive gym clubs that pound your ears with loud music
as you pound your body to submission. Get out into the fresh air to
improve your health and sense of well-being. All you need is a
sturdy pair of walking shoes or boots and some waterproofs.
Pack a flask as well as there is nothing better than supping a
hot drink, sitting on a log and enjoying the sights and sounds of
the Kent countryside.
Join a walking group if you’re not confident about going out on
your own. You will be relieved of the anxiety of getting lost and
will meet up with like minded people.
Do not fear if you do not have a partner to go trekking with
either. In my experience, the majority of people on the walks I’ve
led are single and its not long before the air is buzzing with
Walking also brings considerable health benefits. Research has
found that activity can reduce cholesterol and improve brain
functioning. Scans of walkers show that the memory part of the
brain can be as much as two years younger than a more sedentary
Walking can help you lose weight too.
As a rough rule of thumb, to lose a pound of fat you need to
burn off 3,500 calories. As walking a mile roughly burns 100
calories, a five mile walk – which most people can undertake –
makes a useful contribution to achieving a weight target.
Walking is also a great stress buster. During my working career,
I had a number of stressful periods. Although it took considerable
effort to get away from my desk, I invariably returned home feeling
better after a walk, with my thoughts in better order.
So, if there is such a thing as a wonder-drug, I would suggest
walking is it.
Walking with a group helps us connect with others and beats
Physically it brings many health benefits and it can improve
memory and help you cope with stressful situations.
Can you imagine how much a pill that can do all that would
That’s the thing. Walking is free.
can follow in Geoff's footsteps
Geoff Rambler is, in fact, Geoff Ettridge but as a walking
leader, his nickname stuck.
Geoff has led walks for more than 10 years and introduced a
series of special interest walks for the KM Group last year, to
commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 200th anniversary
of Charles Dickens’ birth.
He now also leads walks for the National Trust around Knole
Last year Geoff published Heroic Yomps, a book of walks that
link more than 20 Shepherd Neame pubs.
Using more than 100 miles of footpaths between Rochester and
Faversham, all proceeds go to the charity Combat Stress, which
supports military personnel who have experienced psychological
problems as a consequence of their service.
THIS WEEKEND’S WHAT’S ON READER WALK
Five-mile circular trek from the Robin Hood pub, Common Lane,
Blue Bell Hill.
Saturday, February 2, 10am.
The walk includes great views of the Medway Valley, a visit to a
Bronze Age bell barrow and the opportunity to hear something about
what made Medway Mud so valuable. Hear how the River Medway may
have been the forerunner of Heathrow. Meet in the car park of the
Robin Hood pub (TQ734 628/ME5 9RJ).
The walk is free but a collection will be held at the end for
the Kent Air Ambulance.
2013 WHAT’S ON WALKS DIARY
All What’s On readers are invited to come along and join Geoff
for his guided walk. There will be more info on each walk closer to
the event in What’s On and at www.kentonline.co.uk/whatson
FAVERSHAM Saturday, March 16.
Six miles. Lewson Street to Painters Forstal
HOO Saturday, April 27
Six and a half miles. St Mary Hoo out to Egypt Bay
ADDINGTON Saturday, June 1
Three and a quarter miles. From Addington, near West Malling,
taking in three neolithic barrows
BLUE BELL HILL, Saturday, July 6
Four and a half miles. Blue Bell Hill taking in another three
FARNIGHAM Saturday, August 24
Six and three quarter miles. Farningham and South Darenth
STODMARSH Saturday, September 28
Seven and a quarter miles. Stodmarsh Nature Reserve to
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