1 Who are the Ferry Strollers?
We are a group of people who live in or around South Queensferry and each Tuesday morning we get together to go for a stroll. We usually walk along the route of the old railway, that used to run from Queensferry to Dalmeny.
How long has it been going?
Queensferry strollers started about 2009. The founders of the strollers were Graham Clarkson and Gordon Wood. They went for training to be Walk Leaders, then put out publicity in the local press to encourage people to come along and join in. There are other strolling groups around Edinburgh and also in other parts of Scotland.
How did it start?
As part of the push to improve the health of Scotland’s population, an organisation called Paths for All was set up, with its home at Alloa. One of the objectives was to run training sessions for residents who wished to set up a walking group or be part of one. The sessions are publicised widely, taking place twice a year. The training equips people to work with others who would not usually walk very far and those who have, perhaps, given up walking outside for many reasons, e.g. fear of falling, not wanting to walk outside alone, worries about health issues.
Who organises the Ferry Strollers?
Graham and Gordon oversee the organisation of the group and the programme. Every 3 months walk leaders meet with them to decide on the programme that includes who will lead each week and where to go for the monthly outings.
Who strolls and when?
The group meet outside Scotmid off the Loan Queensferry at 9.30 and the walks begin at 9.45, once everyone has been checked off on the attendance sheet. Leaders have a check list of all strollers, to list those present on the walk that day. There is an average turnout of 15 people each week and 36 people on the list. There are retired strollers who no longer attend every week but, if well enough, join the group occasionally and attend the social get togethers, e.g. Christmas lunch.
Monthly outing and stroll
Each week 2 people are in charge of the walk, one at the front leading and setting the pace and the other at the back, making sure that the slower walkers are able to keep up. People may need to return to the start earlier if they have physical limitations, accompanied by one of the leaders. Once a month the group, using cars for transport, go to a different venue. These have been checked by the leaders for ease of walking and Health and Safety. Places the group visits include Cramond, the Botanic Gardens and Callander House near Falkirk. The venues are also checked for ease of getting around and, most importantly, provision of tea and cake.
So why do we stroll?
The people who attended training, were told that getting out and walking is a very healthy thing to do. It is especially healthy if people are encouraged to walk slightly faster than they would usually, for a short period during the walk. People are encouraged, if in doubt, to check with their doctor that this is a suitable activity for them.
It is a good social activity as well and in a week or two everyone finds someone, beside the leaders, that they can talk to while walking. Our group includes married couples, people on their own and neighbours.
How does it work?
When the walk begins, it is done at people’s usual pace. Leaders gradually increase speed in the middle of the walk. They check that people can still talk to each other without being breathless, which means they are not moving too fast. The slightly faster pace gives the heart, lungs and circulation a safe “workout”. Towards the end of the walk, the pace slows down again. A walk lasts between 40 and 45 minutes and may be slightly longer on an away day.
At the end of the walk
That depends on the neighbourhood. In Queensferry, people go to the Parish Church, where there is a cafe in the lounge on Monday to Friday 10-12. There is also a cafe at Dalmeny Church hall, which opens on Fridays all year and Tuesday in the Summer from 10-12am. Payment is by donation. When on an outing we use the local facilities.
Want to find out more?
Just come along to Scotmid on a Tuesday for 0930 and join us for a walk.
What is the cost?
There is no charge for the walk. Refreshments are provided by Queensferry Parish Church, or Dalmeny Church by donation. There may be a contribution for fuel for our monthly outings. Refreshment costs for our outings are charged by the establishment visited.