By Gill Stewart at
We are proud that Instructors trained by NWUK are now working across the globe ( see the rest of the world link on our search page) so we were delighted to hear that one successful West London Instructor will soon be offering sessions in the Falklands Islands. Peter Young has made the move and is still busy settling in but if his new neighbours want a taste of what he will soon be able to offer in those beautiful remote Islands here’s a lovely story written by Ruth, one of his clients in the UK who miss him and wish him well.
A Valentine’s Day Gift
As Valentine’s day 2011 approached I knew that if I wanted to receive a gift of any value that I would have to give it to myself. It’s not that my other half doesn’t love me or appreciate the 30 years that we have been married but he just doesn’t go in for all that mushy stuff. My bank balance wouldn’t stretch to diamonds, I prefer white roses to red and my hips and waist had no need of more chocolate than they already displayed. Remembering an article I had read a few years previously I decided to go a-googling for “Nordic Walking”.
There was plenty of information to be found and narrowing down the selection of Nordic Walking instructors to those that operated in my area, on days that I was available, I took the plunge and contacted the one who sounded the least like a fitness fanatic. To many of you that may seem like a negative way of choosing an instructor but as someone who as a schoolgirl dreaded the days of the week that contained a gym, netball, hockey. tennis or rounders lesson, then I think you can appreciate why the wonderful Peter was just right for me. Peter had the foresight to start a group called “The Strollers” with sessions starting at a leisurely 1130 on a Saturday morning. Members of the group consisted of people in their seventies, those who were recovering from illness or injury, those who could not take part every week and those who just needed to take things a little slower than others. From the first few minutes of just dragging my poles behind me to get used to the motion required, I knew that this was the right group for me.
If you asked those who were at school with me to bet on me buying a piece of sports equipment then you would have an impossible job getting them to part with their money. Surprise, surprise within a few weeks of starting Nordic Walking, I HAD to have my own pair of Nordic Walking poles before we went away because I couldn’t bear to miss a session. My hubby may not shower me with lavish gifts but he is generous enough not to disown me when I decide to do something like walk everywhere on holiday like a mad pole-wielding lunatic. He even understands that nothing can interfere with, or take precedent over my sacred Saturday mornings. As part of that understanding he is good enough to bring me morning tea in bed to ensure that I am awake enough for my walk. He hands me my mug and delivers a temperature and wetness sitrep to ensure that I am fully prepared for whatever waits outside. Is it my imagination or is rain different when you Nordic Walk? Somehow it isn’t as wet as normal rain and words such as ‘refreshing” and “welcome” burst from our lips. Anyway, in almost a year I think it has only rained two or three times, whereas it quite often rains when it is time to go to work.
Before I met Peter I knew I would be in safe hands because he was a trained instructor, but to my delight I discovered that he was also extremely knowledgeable about history, geography and especially wildlife. Peter knows a great deal about deer and he also points out heron, green woodpeckers and larks. I have learnt about the history of the more architectural features of the park and all the time I have been getting fitter and more enthusiastic. I have learnt more about Royal Bushy Park in a year of Nordic Walking than in the twenty five years that I have lived in this area. In a few months, this friendly set of people transformed me into someone who welcomed a regular dose of physical activity. However, as 2011 drew to a close, a bombshell was dropped to the group. Our beloved instructor was going to move to the Falkland Islands. I was torn between feelings of sadness that this person who had inspired and motivated me to make such a worthwhile change in my lifestyle was leaving the country, and excitement for him and his chance to experience a new far-off environment.
Now if the story so far had been a TV serial this would be the end of the first series. The characters have all been introduced, we have come to know and love them and the places that they frequent and we can’t imagine life without a single one of them and as Christmas approaches we feel slightly downhearted because we know that once the New Year begins, Peter, the star of the show will have moved on to pastures new. But what’s this? The repeats of old Christmas specials are over and we see a trailer about the new series. Remember that petite, pretty ,blonde who covered for Peter when he was on holiday. She is being given a regular part in “The Strollers” and there’s even a spin-off series at 0930 of people who Nordic Walk for 90 mins almost without stopping and still manage to talk and guess what – bubbly blond Kay turns out to be …… Peter’s long-lost …….. …………instructor!
As I approach my first anniversary of Nordic Walking and head into my thirty-first year of marriage I feel really blessed to have a husband who supports me in whatever I undertake, a pair of Nordic Walking instructors who are a credit to their training and dedication and a group of co-walkers with an endless supply of interesting topics of conversation.