Chatter and laughter as rambling group heads out again

A group of dedicated walkers have strode out again after 15 months in lockdown.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 8:00 am
Les Stakes walking with Dewsbury Ramblers on his 90th birthday
Les Stakes walking with Dewsbury Ramblers on his 90th birthday

Members of the Dewsbury and District Rambling Club were back out last week for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March last year.

The first walk was a relatively gentle ramble from Mirfield to Kirkheaton and back, and the 30 members were delighted to meet up with friends they had not seen for months.

Club chairman Margaret Chamberlain said: “It was great to be back together.

Members of Dewsbury Ramblers on the group's first Halloween walk back in 2018

“We met at the Con Club in Mirfield, who allowed us to use their car park, and whenever someone arrived and got out everyone was busily chatting and catching up.

“Then all throughout the walk there was the sound of chatter, which was lovely to hear.”

The weather was warm and sunny for the first ramble of 2021 and the members who took part – probably with an average age of just short of 80 – soon got over any lingering lockdown anxiety.

“A bit of anxiety had crept in,” said Margaret. “And one or two were a bit stiff but lots of people said afterwards how much they’d enjoyed it.”

All the members have had both Covid-19 jabs and some had kept active during lockdown walking with friends when restrictions allowed.

The club was founded in 1913 and a bench was installed in the grounds of Dewsbury Minster in 2013 to mark the centenary.

The group currently has more than 100 members and three walks are held every week - on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The Wednesday walks are the easiest, while the Sunday ones are for the serious ramblers.

Margaret said the programme of walks that didn’t happen last year has been transferred to this year and there will be a treasure hunt from Roberttown in August and a fancy dress Children in Need walk around Halloween.

The group has also booked its Christmas lunch at the Healds Hall Hotel in Liversedge.

The walks – suggested by members – take in stopping points for comfort breaks and also a nice spot to eat a packed lunch.

Margaret, 68, of Mirfield, is a retired civil servant. She took over as chairman from former journalist and Batley historian, Malcolm Haigh.

She got to know the ramblers as her stepdad Les Stakes walked with the group until he was 91.

The group is now actively seeking new members who want to join them and Margaret said the health benefits were obvious.

“For me the fact we have so many members over 80 proves that walking does keep you fit and well,” she said.

“When you compare those who are fit in mind and body with those who have never done anything there’s a big difference. It’s just good fun and we enjoy ourselves.”

To find out more about the club, contact Margaret on 07884 473073 or email [email protected]