By Gill Stewart at
What could be more heartless than telling a woman from a remote back water of North Yorkshire, that she can’t drive for 6 months? That was the outcome of my medical consultation in October last year following a sudden black out. Shell-shocked, I tried to make sense of the situation, the black-out happened on the eve of my first walk, having just delivered my first ‘Learn To’ series. What now? Should I fold the business for 6 months? Should I try & run a skeleton service for 6 months or should I try & work through it, taking one day at a time?
Mid April will see the end of my 6 month sentence and I will be 7 months into my Nordic Walking career. By word of mouth my walkers have trebled, as have the number of classes that I run. I have battled with memory lapses in order to pass the Level 2 Fitness exams and one of the positive aspects to the driving ban has been the 2 extra hours I gained each day (previously spent on the school run) now utilised for on line learning & business development. I am now starting my first advertising campaign which was put on hold in October while I negotiated this unexpected hurdle.
I couldn’t have done it without my clients, they are a really special bunch. What tremendous support and dedication they have shown to their weekly walks. Every week bar one (when the flu virus annihilated them) they pulled together in planning a rotor of drivers and they actually transport me each week. I’ve shared so many giggles on those car journeys, as have I luxuriated in private walks with individuals who offered to chaperone me and pre-walk many routes.
The fly in the ointment were the chilblains! They developed that week of the flu virus after waiting for the local bus at 7:30am in blizzard conditions while trying to circumnavigate North Yorks to reach a 10am session that was just 5 miles away as the crow flies. The outcome was swollen, burning toes that resembled sizzling Walls bangers!
Despite having been a keen cyclist for 15 years and covering anything from 40 to 220 miles a week, I was astounded to find, during a recent health check, that my fitness has soared since September, as has my lung function & upper body muscle bulk. This happened despite reducing my time in the saddle, walking everywhere & using my 2 wheels purely as a means of transport. My tissue therapist wants to take an anvil to my steel like abdomen & the migraines have been sliced to a minimal level with the improved spinal alignment.
Nordic Walking really does work, it has helped me get through an extremely cruel 6 months. My self-confidence has blossomed and my ‘joie de vivre’ has returned for the first time since I married 24 years ago! Bizarrely enough, despite all the set backs, this winter is the first in ten, when I have not resorted to antidepressants. I am passionate about this sport & next month I will really put my fitness to the test on a gruelling week of ski touring in the Engadine valley in Italy
Having always been phobic of buses (I was sure they would never stop & let me get off!) I have now perfected the technique of traveling from A to B and relish that time for R&R. And do you know what? Given the choice, I would now take a bus & Nordic Walk rather than a car any day!