On 13th December @ 9.30am they are running their Christmas walk followed by a party. They will also be running a St Stephens day walk @10am. All details will be posted on the Facebook page (details below) and whatsapp group.
On setting up Ballinasloe Walks and Trails two years ago the aim was to bring awareness to the beautiful walks available on our doorstep and that has been far exceeded. As a group of friends walking for fun many friendships have developed.
People who would have found walking a kilometre daunting are now walking up to 15km three times a week. The environment of the group lends itself to walkers having a community where there few rules or regulations only to take full responsibility for their own safety, comfort and support their fellow walkers.
The benefits of walking are not just physical, mental and emotional, it certainly does your spirit good as well. Walkers chat along the way and there is always a stop for refreshments.
A favourite for many is along the banks of the canal. Even if you walked the length and back everyday there is such a diverse natural peace and grace to be found in the changing colours of the plants and vegetation, the insects and animals. This aliveness can truly invigorate and motivate the shyest of walkers to new levels of excitement and adventure.
The group enjoy preserving and patrolling these areas with efforts of clean-ups where some have yet to see the value in these walks and instead dump their rubbish. We will prevail and be guardians until they learn to stop destroying are their children’ s future.
“Ironically, in the year that we were all forced apart and disconnected from each other, I found a space to connect with others, ground myself, and find a new personal confidence. I have found social groups and meeting new people as many of us have sometimes daunting. With growing children though and more available time, loneliness can easily creep in. On the first morning of joining Walks and Trails despite my unusual anxiety a stronger desire took over my world. The warm welcome I received, the surprising beautiful scenery and the genuine fun had buoyed me along from walk to walk in the early days. “, states Sabrina Harvey who joined the group this spring.
She continues “ There is a soothing of my mind that occurs on the walks as I chat and connect with so many different people who have a variety of life experiences and knowledge. Interesting, kind, generous folk who share a curiosity in nature and each other. No matter what worries I may be carrying prior to the walks I certainly feel lighter after leaving them somewhere in the bog, forests, fields along the canal or within another's compassionate response. Ballinasloe Walks and Trails have given me a space and community to ease the aches of the heart. It is to borrow Oprah's phrase, of 'Soul Sunday'.
Some stand out walks for member Liam Kenny include Ballinasloe to Shannon Harbour, a long ramble starting at the canal in Poolboy across flat bogland and well defined paths all the way to Shannon Harbour. It was a long hike but a fabulous sunny Sunday finishing with well deserved refreshments in the village before getting the bus home.
Clonmacnoise, another beautiful loop walk starting at the monastery and progressing uphill with beautiful views of the monastery and river. After about 9 km we turned back and I think it was downhill all the way home.
Woodlawn Woods, is a little treasure of a walk, tracking all the way through the woods and around by the house and other interesting buildings, is to be highly recommended .
“Walking can reduces stress, helps to ward of depression, gives you more energy and a great nights sleep after a good hike, Liam explains . “ For me, not the most social of people at the best of times I find I have developed a great circle of friends through walking and I can happily spend time in their company chatting and listening to their expertise on anything from trees, birds, plants and indeed butterflies, more should join “, states Liam
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