SLWF 2016 will see the return of lots of familiar walk leaders from 2015, but we’re also welcoming some new faces! Here’s a guest blog from Ales and Trails UK who are leading a ‘Tides and Tulips’ walk on 29th October:
A few weeks ago, after submitting a guided walk to the South Lincolnshire Walking Festival (SLWF), they asked me if I’d like to write a blog post explaining who Ales & Trails UK are, the walk we’ll be undertaking and why we want to be involved in the SLWF. I was only too happy to oblige!
Firstly, let me introduce the A&T team; my name is Chris Fearnley, I’m 29 and I live in Stamford, Lincolnshire. The other (and arguably better half) of the team is my partner of four years, Sharon. We first started walking together about 2-3 years ago; it was a free day out and gave us the opportunity to get some exercise while still being able to spend time together. In the early days, as Sharon wanted to go on longer and longer walks, she discovered she could often coax me out of the armchair and into my walking boots by telling me there were one or more pubs along the route and I would be permitted an ale half way around! We soon realised from many of the existing walking routes and guides out there that instructions were often poorly-described, or in some instances, completely wrong! So, we started out by creating an online blog, where we would publish our walking routes. Soon after, we realised there could be potential to upscale this concept… and so Ales & Trails UK was born. We moved to a new website, added a bit of aesthetic design to our walking routes and began promoting ourselves via social media.
So what makes Ales & Trails UK unique?
- We actually walk all of the routes ourselves, so you know the instructions will be reliable and accurate.
- We include an optional GPS ‘trace’ of the walk, which you can download onto your smartphone and follow, to provide you with an extra level of reassurance that you’ll never get lost, should you wish to have it.
- Every one of our walks also includes at least one ‘proper’ country pub (often more than one) so you can add an extra dimension of enjoyment to your day out. We also don’t recommend any pub, local ale or Sunday lunch without first trying it ourselves.
- We enrich our walking routes with details and photographs of historical or culturally-significant locations along the route, as well as images to assist with navigation and details on the wildlife you may be able to observe while on the route.
A few weeks ago, Bev from the SLWF approached us and asked us if we would like to lead a walk as part of the festival. This was our first real opportunity to share what we do with an audience that shares our passion. So, on 29 October at 10am, the ‘Tides and Tulips’ (click to view the Facebook event page) walk in Surfleet will set off along historical footpaths, on riverside trails, through beautiful horticultural fields, past Lincolnshire’s ‘wonkiest’ church and over the Surfleet Sluice and Reservoir, where the fresh waters and tidal waters of the River Glen meet. We’ll finish with an optional pint of real ale and pub lunch at the riverside Ship Inn, who have been very kind and allowed us use of their parking facilities for the day.
The A&T team think the SLWF, and its sister events, like the Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival, are fantastic events to be a part of. As Sharon will tell you, planning an interesting, safe, circular, engaging walking route can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Having an event with in excess of 70 walks where all this has been done by for you removes the tedious task of planning a route, while still providing maximum enjoyment and the opportunity to meet and socialise with fellow walkers. The festival also provides the perfect platform for families, couples and individuals to explore the great British countryside with a group of sociable, like-minded people.
So, if you’d like to join us on our ‘Tides and Tulips’ walk, please do register your interest on our Facebook events page, where we will publish all information in relation to the walk. Similarly, you can take a look at our entire library of free walking routes and ‘ale trails’, and follow us on social media, using the links below.
The A&T Team