Failsworth Walking Group: “My Walking Journey”

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Ann Garside runs the Failsworth Walking Group and shares her story on her walking journey and how it’s helped her fall back in love with exercise.

I set the group up in November 2020 with the intention of getting a few members to do the odd walk with. The group went from strength to strength, and we now have 2500 members who do local walks in the evening around the area, and bigger hikes at weekends. Due to the size of the group, a few of us have even undertaken courses on navigation and mountaineering skills.

Next year we are walking the last stretch of the camino do Santiago to raise money and awareness for SSAFA.

How did I start walking?

After years of playing league netball and subsequently lots of knee/ankle injuries, in my 40s I decided it was time to listen to my physios and consultants and retire. In my 50s I wanted to get back into fitness but gyms weren’t for me and Couch to 5K was too painful.

Then one day a friend asked me to walk from Tesco to daisy nook. Off we set but by the time we reached cutler hill I was exhausted and totally out of condition. But I would not be defeated. Each day I tried the walk and I got that little bit further each time, and eventually I was walking around daisy nook and back to Tesco.

I became obsessed clocking up the miles each day and saw it as a challenge to add 1 extra mile to see just how far can I walk, until eventually I was walking a regular 20 miles around the streets and low levels. I had finally found my fitness bug through walking!

This continued for a while until I realised I wanted someone to share my fitness bug with. So I set up the walking group, not knowing it would start involving hills and mountains, fells, peaks and moorland. The scenery was stunning, and so was the company. Everyone is so different, and whatever your fitness levels the smiles and happy faces make it worth it.

Setting up the group has challenged me and taken me out of my comfort zone at times. When I look at where I started gasping for breath on cutler hill to where I am now, I am really proud of myself. And you can be too!

I am a 58 year old “ganny” and love wandering the fells and mountains. Anyone who fancies walking come and join us! If I can do it anyone can.

Thanks to each and everyone of you for coming on my journey with me!

Get in touch

Failsworth Walking Group welcomes all new members, and you are more than welcome on any walk or social event . please feel free to contact us via email

Find out more about the Failsworth walking group here.

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