Author Topic: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking  (Read 1217 times)

Rob Goes Walking

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Was going to post this in the Awning but it gained some length so I gave it it's own post.

I just thought I'd talk briefly about the benefits of group walking over solo walking (of course there are benefits of solo walking over group too). Mel said this has been done before but I wasn't part of it. For me:

Think less.
Watch more experienced people find paths which helps me get better at finding paths over difficult terrain.
Increases my speed over more difficult parts as I don't want to slow the group down.
Less concern over being stuck out in a remote area after injuring yourself.
Bit of social chit chat
Less transport cost

I think it is improving the practical physical skills side of my walking.

Yesterday when scrambling over a nice and relatively safe unexposed bit of ground I was having to slow down to remain at pace behind the leader (though he is many years my senior, he is very fit). I also chose different footholds in places which might seem basic but not having to blindly copy him suprised me. Relatively safe or not the skills are probably transferable to more serious scrambling. It was the longest bit of scrambling I'd ever done and in the wet at that, it did give me some anxiety (and a small thrill for doing it). Injury was a possibility. I'm not sure I'd have attempted it at the start of my walking adventures.

The Wednesday before we went off piste during a steep ascent as the path vanished. The foot placement and speed the leader did the ascent with were superior to what I'd have chosen alone and while I blindly copied them, I think by doing more of this my own foot placement will improve.

In short, it's educational.

richardh1905

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Educational.
Sociable.
Safer.
Confidence building.

Rob Goes Walking

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Educational.
Sociable.
Safer.
Confidence building.

Nice summary Richard  :)

The kind of confidence that comes from doing something and repetition rather than the blind faith variety. Much easier to pick something up when you have someone setting an example.

BuzyG

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Completely agree Rob.  When I started walking again I was a fit surfer.  I soon found out that was not the same as a fit walker.  Took me around 3 years of regular walking before I could easily keep up with the fitter members of our walking group.  I have pushed that on a bit this year with a little fell running.  Long-term I doubt my large frame will be happy or reliable pushing at the current rate.  I am enjoying being hill fit though. O0

Rob Goes Walking

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BuzyG I bet, you've done really well. I'm looking forward to the joys of being fitter, I'm already enjoying being fitter than I was. Hill fit is the dream...

Sleepy

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As a side note, this forum used to be fantastic for getting out with others - always something going on in the meetups but not so much so now, anyone know what happened? I know a lot of the bigger characters on here at the time disappeared as a result of banter going too far (To shorten the story heavily) but it's definitely a bit quieter these days


I led a few back in the day and I'll get organising a few more once I'm back up to speed... I'm near 10kg heavier than I was and only been out walking about 5 times over the last two years! So it'll take a little while but I'm keen to get more involved  O0

Rob Goes Walking

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That's the problem with banter some people don't know where to draw the line or worse do know and use it to mask a bully.

Great that you're getting walking again. If you can make meets happen even more so.

Sleepy

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I don't think there was any bullying went on thankfully, as far as i saw a fairly large group's banter amongst themselves just got closer and closer to the bone until someone got offended and said something even more offensive and it tore the forum in two which was a real shame - I wasn't involved at all but, being friendly with plenty on both sides I felt quite awkward and visited less and less and eventually lost interest  :-\   at the time though, there were still plenty of meets etc going on - I guess there's just less people here as a whole.


I'm doing my best to keep the motivation going though and hopefully I'll be making a positive contribution again soon  :)

Matt010791

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As a side note, this forum used to be fantastic for getting out with others - always something going on in the meetups but not so much so now, anyone know what happened? I know a lot of the bigger characters on here at the time disappeared as a result of banter going too far (To shorten the story heavily) but it's definitely a bit quieter these days


I led a few back in the day and I'll get organising a few more once I'm back up to speed... I'm near 10kg heavier than I was and only been out walking about 5 times over the last two years! So it'll take a little while but I'm keen to get more involved  O0


This surprised me as I thought the meet up sectioned would be busy week in week out with different stuff planned. Shame really as Id try my best to make s few meets a month

Dread

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On behalf of the cantankerous old socialphobes I'd like to say that group walking/learning suits some  and not others. In any group there are those who thrive off the interaction and learn and there are those who go along for the ride and blindly follow, not learning anything. Most of what I have learned about hiking I learnt on my own because I had to. The rest I got from talking to others on the internet and the folk i bump into whilst out. The best advice usually comes from someone on the same walk but coming in the opposite direction. They've just been there.


Sleepy

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #10 on: 18:07:49, 08/09/19 »

This surprised me as I thought the meet up sectioned would be busy week in week out with different stuff planned. Shame really as Id try my best to make s few meets a month


Don't be put off.... please don't- it would be great to see it get busier. And for those less confident - you can always ask for a walk to be planned/lead, or for someone to keep an eye on your nav. I don't think I've ever seen it but we're all friends here so don't be afraid to ask  O0

Sleepy

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #11 on: 18:19:11, 08/09/19 »
On behalf of the cantankerous old socialphobes I'd like to say that group walking/learning suits some  and not others. In any group there are those who thrive off the interaction and learn and there are those who go along for the ride and blindly follow, not learning anything. Most of what I have learned about hiking I learnt on my own because I had to. The rest I got from talking to others on the internet and the folk i bump into whilst out. The best advice usually comes from someone on the same walk but coming in the opposite direction. They've just been there.


Love that last sentence  O0


I've been both, I consider myself as more of a loner really but I asked on here a long time ago for something to work towards and ended up doing my summer m.l. and needed to lead walks to gain experience  (for the assessment I never did). I met a lot of great people (and a couple of not so great people), had at least one near death experience and had a lot of fun. I'm comfortable with my own company but, those couple of years were some of my best and I'd love to revisit them  :)


On the other hand, being in a group can get you the exercise, views and general enjoyment of walking safely with no skill at all - there's nothing wrong with that, if that's what you're happy with  O0

pauldawes

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #12 on: 10:21:31, 09/09/19 »
I agree (of course) with Rob that group walking has advantages...it was my "route" back into walking after a break of many years, a friend persuaded me to join local ramblers group, and we went out with them for three years (before I dropped out).


But in my case, I found my route finding ability increased massively (from super useless to less useless...) when I switched primarily to solo walking.


I found in group walking I just "followed the leader" and didn't take the route in much at all...I would have not be able to do a route solo that I had done with the group. And I think that was probably typical of most of the group members.

Dovegirl

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #13 on: 10:56:42, 09/09/19 »
I can see that group walking has its advantages, especially for a novice, but I think that with solo walking you gain experience from having to think for yourself and by learning from your mistakes.

As a solo walker I feel too that I'm more aware of safety issues than I might be in a group. If there were people behind me I'd feel I'd better get a move on and not hold them up, and this might lead to me being less careful than I am on my own. 

Rob Goes Walking

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Re: Why I think novice walkers can benefit from group walking
« Reply #14 on: 11:20:57, 09/09/19 »
Strange how were all different, while I do follow the leader it sticks out to me how what he's doing doing differs from what I would choose and I'm pretty confident the parts of it that are superior will influence my own future decisions. I'd be confident I could do the walks we've done solo having done them before.

I think some people are naturally better with spacial awareness though, it's not my strongest suit but I find I can sometimes learn processes/systems by listening to and/or observing people who are better at it.

I think you're more likely to be good at developing these sorts of skills solo if your spacial awareness is also good.

Dovegirl you have a point about safety but I've found I can move faster than I was in a way that is still safe - I wouldn't rush anything I thought was really risky. The group would wait for me.