Walk On Hebrides

 Health Walks

‘Walk on Hebrides’, develop and deliver programmes of short health walks throughout the Western Isles as part of the physical activity strategy of NHS Western Isles.

The walks are led by volunteer walk leaders who have attended the one day walk leader training provided by Paths for All. The health walks are generally 30-45 minutes in duration and are a great way to meet new people and improve fitness.

Regular walking is the ideal physical activity to remain fit and healthy as it:

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease by half
  • Reduces the risk of cancers, particularly bowel and breast cancer
  • Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Can improve your mood and reduce the risk of depression.


paths for all logoCastle Grounds Walks

During 16th-19th July, Paths for Health are organising another range of FREE fun-filled walks which encouraged individuals, friends and family to participate at, coinciding with the 2014 Hebridean Celtic Festival.  We are planning 4 themed walks in the Lews Castle Grounds on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 16th – Predator and Prey
  • Thursday 17th – Nature in the Frame
  • Friday 18th – History Walk
  • Saturday 19th – 12pm start from Golf Club – Welly Walk and Pond Dipping.
paths for all logoLocal Groups Create Transported Walks Programmes
Our Walks Project is continuing with its transported walks scheme in partnership with several of the established groups.
Both the Westside Group and Catch 23 Group have managed to source funding that pays for the hire of minibuses from Staran. Both groups have put programmes of transported walks together for the spring and summer months of 2014. 

Transported Walk to Lemreway - Westside GroupLemreway Transported Walk

Pictured left are the Westside Group who participated in one of our recent transported walks. The Group’s walk was held at Lemreway in South Lochs, Isle of Lewis.



paths for all logoAvailability of Walking Leaflets

Eight leaflets promoting independent walking are being reformatted into PDF version so that they can be printed out and inserted into walk packs that will be distributed widely throughout the Outer Hebrides.



paths for all logoNorth Uist Walk Leaders

Our established walk leaders in North Uist have recruited several more potential volunteer walk leaders and are planning to deliver walk leader training to these individuals in Balivanich in July 2014.



Ghost WalkStornoway Ghost Walk Success

Last year’s annual Ghost Walk held on Thursday 31st October, and was agreed by all to have been a big success. 

Approximately 70 individuals departed from the Woodlands Centre at 7.30pm and were led round the Stornoway Castle Grounds by torchlight.

A large number who attended got into the ‘spirit’ by wearing halloween costumes.  Some screaming was also understood to have taken place due to the unexpected appearance of ghostly characters (or health promotion staff in halloween costumes) during the walk.  Free hot chocolate and goodies were also offered at the end of the walk to participants. For further information, please contact Chris Ryan, Paths to Health Coordinator, tel. 01851 762017 or 07743 507 982.


Ghost Walk UistsHalloween Walk – Uists

A free Halloween Walk, which consists of a walk round Langass Woods, took place on Thursday 31st October at 11am.  A large number of individuals attended, some wearing fancy dress.  For further information, please contact Kenna MacInnes, Senior Health Promotion Officer, tel. 01870 602588.


Castle Grounds WalksCastle Grounds Walks

During 17th-20th July, Paths for Health organised a range of FREE fun-filled walks which encouraged individuals, friends and family to participate at, coinciding with the 2013 Hebridean Celtic Festival.

Wednesday 17th July- Bonnie Birds and Fragrant Flowers
13 participants took part in this nature walk led by Julie Seivewright, the former Ranger with the Galson Trust, during which the participants learned about the birdlife and plants that can be found living in the Stornoway woodlands.
At the end of the walk a little art competion was held and prizes were given to the winners in 3 age catergories.
We would like to thank Julie Seivewright and Lorraine Gillies for leading this walk and making it a fun event. We would also like to give a big thank you to the Corner Shop in Stornoway who donated all 3 prizes for the art competition. This was yet another example of the great support we received from businesses and organisations throughout the islands.  
Thursday 18th July – History Walk
9 participants, plus 6 historical figures (an Iron-Age lady, a Viking, a Celtic Warrior, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Sir James Matheson and Lord Leverhulme) took part in our History Walk.  Taking the participants on a journey through the ages, the walk was led by Chris Ryan (aka Sir James Matheson), and as the walkers made their way through the castle grounds they were met by a number of characters from Lewis’s historic past.
We would like to thank all those who participated in this walk and those who dressed in costumes on one of the hottest days of the year!! A huge thank you to Morag and the Stornoway Thespians who provided the costumes for our historic characters!
Friday 19th July – Pond Dipping Walk
23 participants (and only one of them actually ended up going for a dip – accidentally, of course!), took part in the Pond Dipping Walk which was led by Chris Ryan.  During the walk, a number of stops were made at suitable spots to use small nets and water-filled trays to discover what tiny creatures live in the rivers and streams within the grounds.
Many thanks to colleagues in Health Promotion and to the volunteer walk leaders who assisted in making this a really fun event. Lots of interesting wildlife was found living in the waters within the grounds and great fun was had identifying them!
Saturday 20th July – From Stone Age to Spage Age
15 participants participated in this walk, the theme of which was archaeology. On yet another fine sunny day our enthusiastic group took a walk along the Shore Road through the Castle Grounds to Creed Island and back to the Woodland Centre.
Thanks again to Bob Ferguson who came along to provide back-up leader on this walk!  All walks started at 11am from the Woodlands Centre and we would like to additionally thank the Stornoway Trust for letting us use the fantastic setting of the Castle Grounds for our walks, as well as to all our helpers, and the participants themselves!


Can you be a Walking Champion?

‘Walk with Me’ is a national campaign to encourage older adults to become more active by walking more.

The main focus of the campaign is to recruit Walking Champions who will then encourage someone who doesn’t currently walk regularly to begin to walk more.  To find out more simply visit http://www.pathsforall.org.uk/walkwithme


North Uist Over 50’s Walking Group

An Over 50s walking group has been established in North Uist and the group meet every Thursday for a minimum of an hours walk in and around North Uist.  To view their list of dates, meeting points and walks being organised please click here.

At the end of every month, the group participate in a transported walk which takes them further afield to Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay.


Walk Route Leaflets

In partnership with Tourism Hebrides a series of walk route leaflets are to be printed to  encourage independent walking throughout the islands. A little generic walk pack folder has already been created which will contain the 8 leaflets that are appropriate to particular areas.


WIAMH Transported Walks

In partnership with WIAMH (Western Isles Association for Mental Health), a programme of monthly transported health walks will be held during Spring to Autumn 2014 (further details to follow).


Survey of Existing Walking Routes

Working in partnership with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, a survey to ascertain existing walks routes throughout the islands is to be undertaken.  The survey will review the condition of, and what management issues the walking routes may have.

This will be done on an ongoing basis, but the priority will be those routes that are most suitable for health walks.


Trained Volunteer Walk Leaders

‘Walk on Hebrides’ has trained volunteer walk leaders on Lewis, Harris, the Uists and Barra and during 2013 we plan to deliver programmes of short health walks at various locations throughout the islands. 


Take 30

Take 30 is the new Ramblers Scotland guide to walking for health and fitness.

The easy to use site has some fantastic information and advice and includes info on the benefits of regular walking and exercise, and a downloadable 12 week walk plan. For further information please visit http://www.take30.co.uk/


Presentation Event for Walk Leaders and Regular Walkers

A networking and presentation event was held on 7th March at the Newton Community Centre, Seaforth Road, Stornoway, to reward some of the walk leaders and regular walkers who have contributed to ‘Walk On Hebrides’, the health walks project.  Photos show some of the walkers and walk leaders receiving their certificates and pedometers from Chris Ryan, Paths for Health Coordinator.

A similar event was held in Uist on 15th March to award walkers and walk leaders certificates and pedometers.


Annual Reports


Further Information

To find out more about health walks in your area contact:

  • Chris Ryan, Health Walks Coordinator, tel. 01851 762016.
  • Lorraine Gillies, Senior Administrator, Health Promotion, tel. 01851 762017.




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