Nordic Walk Druridge Bay
Mon 12th November 2012
The last Nordic guided walk of the year proved to be another sell out! We had men, women and children, from all different walks of life, join together to take this gorgeous walk side by side. The weather was perfect – blue skies, cold but not freezing, dry and not a wind in the clouds.
So popular was this walk that we started 1 hour early with a training course for quite a few new clients to Nordic Walking. Julie and Jane quickly put them through the steps of the technique and gave them time to practise before meeting the rest of the group. They were fast learners and ready for the off!
After the usual warm up, in front of the visitors centre, we began with a walk around Ladyburn lake. The gravel footpath travels around the whole lake and we walked 2 or 3 abreast, allowing for general banter along the way. 2 of our companions were on holiday from Ireland and found the technique easy to pick up. Half way around the lake, after passing through the nature reserve and over the footbridge, we stopped to re-group and check all was well. A humorous comment came flying ďwhen does the walk start?Ē Hmm, think you are going too slow? Ok then.....
The second half of the lake was taken much faster than the first. This is something I discover the more walks I take. It takes time for everyone to get into the rhythm of Nordic walking and at that point the pace quickens naturally. The humorous comment did not come again!
After passing back in front of the visitors centre, we crossed the car park and out of the park via a footpath. This leads to the beach, but we turned back in land and into the nature reserve. This had been formed from an opencast mining area, allowing for wetland areas which attract wildlife. The path is quite broad and solid, excellent for Nordic walking and most importantly, talking. One of our gentlemen was pleasantly surprised as to how much he enjoyed Nordic walking, another that he really did feel like he was using muscles he hadnít before and was amazed at how demanding it was. Itís lovely to see new friendships made and the children who Nordic skip most of the way!
After a brief stop where the path becomes an access road, we followed the road down to the beach. On this section a few people where surprised to feel their shoulders and arms beginning to ache. That shows they are doing the correct technique and exercising their full bodies, not just their legs, when walking.
One of the ladies who walked with caught me up, concerned that one of her poles was dragging along the ground inside of planting firmly with a Ďtapí. After watching her technique, which was perfect, she informed me that she had a new hip. A ha! I lowered one pole by 5 cm....perfect tap, tap, tap. She was amazed and said she hadnít thought to mention her hip because it didnít affect her walking! One happy lady continued.
On climbing over the dunes, with fingers crossed that the tide had gone out, we were greeted with a beautiful golden sandy stretch of beach. The youngest in our group (12) rolled down the dunes and I am sure some of those who were older would probably have liked to follow him but showed great restrain.
We had a quick chat about how fabulous the beach is for Nordic Walking, talked about the advanced technique for those who had been walking with me for a while, and off we went. The stress here was very much at going at your own pace. It isnít a race and no one gets left behind or feels they have to walk slower than they would like. It really is exhilarating hitting the coast and I must confess to breaking into a Nordic run at one point!
After passing a gorgeous dog, with a ball in its mouth who thought it had died and gone to a doggy heaven where there are sticks everywhere (it ran around our poles very excitedly waiting for someone to throw one!), we reached the end of our beach stretch and reluctantly turned off and back into the country park.
Whilst doing some cooling down stretches all agreed to enjoying this brisk Nordic Walk. Everyone took next yearís Nordic Walking programme and my Irish ladies have vowed to find out about a group back home. No cups of tea as the cafe was closed but what an exhilarating day. Canít wait for next year!