The Christmas Walk – 7th December 2019

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Us at the tree

The Christmas walk is a very special walk for us for a few reasons. The first and most important one for us is that it marks the anniversary of the first Strolls with Poles walk in 2017. If we look back at the photographs from the 3 walks we can see a lot of the same faces, most we see regularly during the year however there are a few we don’t see as often as well as those who are new to Strolls with Poles. Everyone regardless of the frequency of them joining us are always assured of a warm and friendly welcome.

The second reason is that it is “usually” our last walk of the year (this year we had an extra one in December). Regardless, this is a great time for us to thank everyone for their support throughout the year.

The third reason is that it is one of the few walks that is repeated every year. As such it is known as our Annual Christmas Walk. The walk always takes us up to the Christmas Tree on Simonside.

The start

We met in Cowhaugh Car Park, Christmas cards were given out and Ruth gave everyone a handmade angel for their tree. I also distributed all the goodies which I had brought so that my rucksack wasn’t too heavy.

After the warm up, we headed along the road and up Whitton Bank. We take a photograph at the kissing gate every year and this year was no exception.

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At the kissing gate

The Walk

After Whitton Bank we made our way to the historic Sharp’s Folly. I gave them a little bit of history about the Folly, Kirsten was very impressed until she realised I was reading it off the plaque on the wall.

On we went, I was leading and as is usual, we took a detour, after missing a left turn we ended up reversing the route.

We walked through the wood before climbing the side of Simonside, which sounds worse than it is since large stone slabs were laid.

The group split as people were going different speeds but all met up at the Christmas tree.


Martin always makes mulled wine, mince pies and brownies for this walk. However, Martin was poorly this year and not able to attend the walk. He very kindly still made them even getting up early on the Saturday morning to make the mulled wine!

Ruth made her “award winning” lemon drizzle cakes, Sandra brought chocolate topped clementine cake (which I was devastated not to get any of), Rob provided pumpkin pie (again I missed out), Chris A got adventurous and brought something new, barnet biscuits as well as shortbread. Kirsten came along with Akvavit (a Danish spirit) to reflect her Scandinavian roots. (Apologies if I missed anyone out)

Christmas hats donned and goodies passed around the group. Kirsten taught us how to say cheers in Danish and there were shouts of Skål.

New Friends

Simonside was busy and we offered to share our goodies with other walkers. We were amazed to find we were talking to a couple who lived in Budapest (they weren’t Hungarian though), their son who is at University in Newcastle and his girlfriend who was from Boston, USA.

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New friends

They very gladly joined us and the American girl shocked us all by telling us she had never had a mince pie! So she really tucked into one of those and thoroughly enjoyed it. We asked her to rate Rob’s pumpkin pie as he was slightly concerned about it, no worries though she agreed it was delicious! Well done Rob.

We then went to get our group photo at the Christmas tree and our new friends very kindly took the photograph. We wished them Merry Christmas and went on our way.

The return

We came down to the car park at Lordenshaws. This is one of my favourite parts of the walk, although everyone was very pleased we were walking in the opposite direction.

Jane and Sara decided they wanted to try and walk backwards, this is not a Nordic walking technique. They agreed quite quickly it was not the safest way to walk down the hill. This was very quickly reiterated by Anne, who slid onto her bottom, as it was extremely muddy. No harm done, just a muddy bottom.

We got back to the car park and everyone disappeared off shouting Merry Christmas as they left.

I hope you enjoyed the walk and the goodies and I hope you had a fantastic Christmas.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Julie x

If you liked the Christmas walk why not take a look at our other walks.

Gallery – Christmas walks

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