Fellwalking with CSSC

We catch up with a CSSC volunteer from Central and East Lancs to hear about a favourite local activity.

Man holding a red heart made of paper over his chest

CSSC is supported by a dedicated group of volunteers, from all across the country and from all walks of life. Assisted by a head office team, website and knowledge base, these 1,200 volunteers help run, host and administer many of CSSC’s local and regional associations, events and activities. They are responsible for bringing so much joy to so many, through thousands of activities and local interest groups – and are affectionately referred to as ‘the beating heart’ of CSSC.

Central & East Lancs Fellwalking Group

John Taylor helps look after the fellwalking group in Central & East Lancs. He and the dedicated team he works with host about 10 organised walks a year from March to December, usually on the first Sunday of the month. By day, John is happily retired from lengthy careers in the Post Office and BT. Having been a member of CSSC and a volunteer for many years, John is passionate about walking and the health benefits that come from getting out and about in the beautiful Yorkshire and Lancashire countryside. So sharing his hobby with others is a natural fit.

Best foot forward

John tells us more… “We travel by coach to beautiful countryside locations which are easily accessible from Preston in Central Lancashire. With a varied programme of walks in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and Lancashire, we fully appreciate just how lucky we are. Our previous walk (at time of writing) was on Sunday 8 May, around Old Langho in Lancashire, and was seven and a half miles long.

“All our walks are planned and reconnoitred in advance and are led on the day by various members of the group, all experienced walkers. All that the other walkers have to do is turn up with suitable boots, waterproof clothing (just in case) and a packed lunch. Where circumstances allow, we will try to provide two walks on the day, one of up to 10 miles and one of perhaps six to eight miles. At a cost of just £10 to CSSC members it’s regarded as great value, even more so considering recent increases in fuel costs, which mean you couldn’t even travel to our destinations in your own car as cheaply.

“A typical day will begin with the coach journey, usually taking up to one and a half hours, departing at 8.30 in the morning so that we can begin our walk around 10am. The walk is conducted at a reasonable pace, making it as inclusive as possible, covering up to 10 miles over a period of around five to five and a half hours, including stops for drinks in the morning and afternoon as well as for lunch. The company is convivial and there is much chatting and catching up during the walk. It has even been suggested that we should describe ourselves as a ‘talking group’ with a bit of walking thrown in.

“During the walk, even though our walkers range in age up to 85, the question ‘are we nearly there yet?’ can sometimes be heard – and the walk leaders will usually patiently reply ‘just another mile’, regardless of the distance remaining. You may also learn specific walking terminology: for example, if, having been told that there were no more hills to climb, you query why you are labouring on an upward gradient, you will be gently advised that this isn’t a hill, just an undulation.

“At the end of the walk there will usually be a pub or café where walkers can enjoy a well-earned rest (accompanied by a beverage of their choice) for an hour before the coach departs for a return journey by 4.30pm. This is often accompanied by the sound of gentle snoring.”

If you’d like to join John and the team on their next outing or just want to know more about events in the North-West region, email us or check out walking at CSSC via the link below.

Walking at CSSC

Decades on the Dales

Believe it or not, the walking group has been running, or rather walking, for at least 47 years! “We began life as a section of the Preston Post Office Sports and Social Club but were orphaned when that parent organisation ceased to operate,” John explains. “In 2012 we joined the CSSC, who adopted us as the fellwalking group for the Central and East Lancashire area, and saved us from going the way of the dinosaurs.”

And as one might expect from a group that’s already demonstrated such determination to survive, this one has lived through the enforced hiatus when Covid prevented coach travel and generally gathering in large groups – and it is now back in action. “We consider ourselves very fortunate as the coach company we use tells us that not all groups who use their services have been able to continue. We put this down to the commitment and dedication of our members, and the organisation by our volunteers,” John says. “Our members have always been keen to get their walking boots on and get back in the open air. Some were naturally apprehensive about being in the confines of a busy bus again, but normality now seems to have returned, with the associated benefits to our physical and indeed mental wellbeing. “The next walk we have planned is on 2 October, when we hope to welcome many new and returning members of the walking group and introduce them to all the amazing health and social benefits of hill walking in a friendly group that we all enjoy so much.”

He concludes: “Since we joined CSSC, our members have embraced the many other benefits of CSSC membership, taking part in other trips and activities such as spa days, Christmas markets, theatre or railway trips.” It seems that members who actually get out and do one thing are the ones most likely to take advantage of other offerings too.

Check out loads of great walking partners, offers and opportunities via the link below!

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