How the Ramblers saved my life!

Ok, perhaps a slightly exaggerated “click bait” title, but I thought I would share what drew me to walking and the Ramblers, why East Cheshire and how the group has become a home from home.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting me in person (or perhaps the misfortune), my name is Richard. 42 years young at the time of writing and live in sunny Sheffield but hail from Alderley Edge.

I have been lucky to move around the country with my career from London to Birmingham and now Sheffield. Slowly returning north albeit not the side of the peaks I had planned! But then what is life

By day I run a successful small datacentre looking after networks and servers for customers across the UK. So, most of my day I can be found stalking the data aisles fixing issues for customers. A self-confessed geek perhaps yes! but my passion lies out in the hills and finding the next adventure. without adventure?

As children me and my sister were fortunate enough to enjoy family walks in the Lake District and the Peaks with a New Year’s Day walk being the highlight of the year.

As for most of us, life got in the way, and my career took over and it wasn’t until my late thirties that I found walking again. I’m not ashamed to say that the extra food, beers and mostly desk work had taken their toll and my first walk from Edale over the great ridge was almost my last! It was only about 6 miles and quite possibly almost finished me off! But considering what I can only describe as a day of suffering! the views and the other people walking and of course the constant encouragement of my sister to keep going paid off.

The obsession began and I spent every day I could in the Peaks walking alone and most of my time at work planning routes (let’s perhaps keep that to ourselves and not the office). Walking alone has always been a special thing to me, I can move at my own pace for as long or as short as I wish and use the countryside and nature to recharge my batteries after a busy week in the office.

This all culminated by picking up my bag last April and walking from my flat in Sheffield over to Mum and Dads house in Alderley Edge. It took me three days to cover the distance and I opted to carry the kitchen sink, aka my tent, for some shelter. Now what I can say is there is nothing like a can of ale from the Buxton Brewery whilst watching the sunset from the tent on Shining tor!  

I do not think there is anything better to lift the spirits than being in the outdoors. The amount of people I meet wrapped up in city life and chained to the laptop or iPad looking thoroughly miserable could gain so much from what these outdoor spaces have to offer.

If you have made it this far well done for putting up with the it’s all about me section!

So why the ramblers? Well, I decided that whilst walking on my own or with family was rewarding enough, perhaps I was missing out on these “Hiking groups”. Social media is currently teaming with photos of groups out walking and having what looked like a fantastic time.

My father, Peter had joined the ramblers and after a read of the website and some fact-finding, I decided that this would be the group for me and snapped up my membership joining the Sheffield group being my closest suggestion.

But this is the East Cheshire Group and hear you say. Well, yes, I did what I’m sure many a member does and carried on walking my solo walks. As those of you who have met me know I am a super shy reserved person …. Well perhaps that’s not entirely true but I do find making the first step to something new somewhat of a challenge and put off the unknown.

It was on a wet winter’s morning when I received an email from Dad saying the East Cheshire Group was looking for walk leaders and why doesn’t he offer my services. As always Dad has always been there to encourage me to do more and to always improve myself. So perhaps it’s him to blame now for my presence on the walks and I leave you to complain or praise him as you see fit next time you run into him on a walk.

I guess the rest is now ancient history, but I led my first ever ECR walk on a crisp February morning from Gradbach out to Luds Church and the Roaches with the moral support of Dad to take away the nerves. I’d like to thank Andy Davies here for showing me the ropes! Thanks, as always Andy.

At this point, I cannot thank the members of this wonderful group enough for how welcoming everyone has been and especially Anne and John for keeping the Midweek and Weekend walkers in check!

I have now transferred my allegiance to ECR full-time and aim to be on as many walks as possible over the coming years.

If you are thinking of joining the Ramblers, why not come along for a walk and say “hello”. Like me you will probably never leave!

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of my adventure walking and camping the Great Glen Way the other year for inspiration to get out there and enjoy the trails!

Hopefully see you on a walk soon. Richard.