Saturday, 6 April 2013

Rambling with children

As a child we did lots of hiking as it was a) cheap b) fun c) something we all enjoyed (well maybe not getting soaked on Eskdale moor!). Now I live up in one of the most popular walking areas I want to get my children up on the fells and get myself back into walking too. 

My daughter on top of Loughrigg
My mum is in the local Ramblers so we have joined in a couple of walks over the last few years including the Lancaster Canal, around Crook (without the children) and this week near Underbarrow. Its a lovely group to walk with but mine were the only children walking each time. I know that I always had more fun when we were with friends who had children when I was little. Also children want to stop and look for things and not just keep on walking...

I know from talking to friends online that they too struggle to find walks that are family friendly from local walking groups. Often the members of existing groups have got walks that work well for them i.e. short mid week walks with a pub lunch at the end and then long walks at the weekend. These are fantastic if either you don't work or you have children old enough to do long walks.

A rough rule of thumb is that a child should be able to hike as many miles as their age. Of course some can do a lot more and some struggle to get that far. This makes it hard for groups to cater for families. 

So I am contemplating setting up a families walking group either through the Ramblers or separately to cater for families in the south of Cumbria and north of Lancashire to get out walking. I may be completely mad but it seems the only way to get walks to suit on a regular basis! But I need to know what families want from an organised ramble:

  • plenty of play stops
  • things to spot en route
  • den building
  • tree climbing (may not sit well with the insurance!)
  • buggy friendly
  • closeness to toilets
  • anything else..
So I am opening this up to my lovely readers for your ideas and suggestions! Meantime we will sound out the ramblers as to the feasibility of starting a specialist group for families in this area. Watch this space..

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