Enjoy a wee walk in the UK’s biggest national park

Wee Walks Week is back again next month, encouraging us to get out and about in Scotland.

Walking is the best form of exercise – and completely free – and walkers are being encouraged to get active in the UK’s biggest National Park.

From the 9–15 September the Cairngorms National Park is celebrating and promoting the best short local walks with the aim being to encourage as many people to get out there and enjoy a walk with friends, colleagues or neighbours, join a ranger-guided walk or try out one of the park’s many health walks.

Studies show that walking is an effective form of exercise – just 30 minutes a day is enough to make a significant difference to a person’s health. It reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, and type two diabetes as well as keeping the musculoskeletal system healthy.

Just as importantly it also promotes mental wellbeing and can help tackle issues around social isolation.

Initiated four years ago by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) through its Active Cairngorms campaign, the idea behind Wee Walks Week is to help people discover the health benefits of being active daily. Wee Walks Week isn’t a walking festival with organised, ‘led walks’ – it’s much more informal than that and the CNPA hopes that people who take part will feel the better for it and make it a regular part of their daily or weekly routine.

Xander McDade, the CNPA convener said: ‘The Cairngorms National Park is the UK’s biggest and has the best wee walks by a mile. Investment in local path networks over the last 15 years has thoroughly enhanced that offering further with all abilities paths too. There are so many options for people to enjoy a nice walk and feel the restorative benefits that come with it.’

Through Active Cairngorms, residents and visitors are encouraged to enjoy and use the National Park for physical activity on a daily basis and in doing so improve their general health and wellbeing.

Adam Streeter-Smith, one of the CNPA’s outdoor access officers addeed: ‘Wee walks are a great way to get outdoors – they are fun, free and help you to feel great. A wee walk can be as short as you like, but usually under four miles on good paths and gentle slopes. With the excellent path network we have in and around communities, the Cairngorms National Park can definitely help prompt active lifestyle changes for people.’

Find out more information about Wee Walks Week on the CNPA website and to help you decide where to walk, check out the community path leaflets.