Since taking on WalkingWomen with my sister in August 2021, we have been thinking of the type of holidays we offer. This is our first year, and we decided to have a test year – to keep WalkingWomen classic holidays going and introduce a range of new places and experiences.
Areas that we know well and give various options to suit different guests. We use Goats to grade our walks with the idea that we provide guidance but let’s all use our own ‘goat’ instinct to know what feels right. We just need help to find it!
Three months in and the calls we get are often with women questioning what they can do and feeling apprehensive about travelling and being too challenging. So far, Goat 4, our higher walks, are not being booked!
I think back to a few years ago when I started to holiday again after my partner died. I didn’t want to go on lazy beach holidays that we enjoyed. I wanted to be active and try unknown places and meet new people. A friend invited me to Switzerland to walk in the Alps near Zermatt in the shadows of the Matterhorn. “No way”, I said. I only walk on the flat streets of London with the odd bit of walking up escalators! “You will be fine”, she said. There is a small group of us, and we go slowly. We are all over 50, and we rest a lot and go slowly. One woman hunts for mushrooms whilst she walks. The joy is being together and walking outdoors on the long summer days.
“No way, I only walk on the flat streets of London with the odd bit of walking up escalators!
I didn’t think I could do the high Alps. I’d never been, but I returned the following year, and I will be going again this year. It is now a firm favourite of mine.
We added Switzerland to our holiday programme to share this with others. We hope women will feel that they can do it. Once you are up(and it is a slow up), the views are breathtaking, and you can walk for hours enjoying the spectacular scenery. Of course, you need a certain level of fitness, stamina and not too dodgy knees, but we can help assess whether this is for you.
We have other mountain ranges like Mourne and the Alpujarras, and we will add more as many of our guests said they wanted to have more opportunities to walk high and stretch themselves. The fear is often exposed ridges, and we avoid those! We want to build confidence and support women of all ages to take steps to climb high with us, safe in the knowledge that this is a slow pace and doable. On our recent Norway trip, we had a 71-year-old who wanted to get her cross country ski legs back. Our guide helped her to do just that.
We will give guidance to help prepare. My prep involves swimming to build lung capacity and walking or strolling daily, a good motivation knowing the summer mountains are calling!
If you have any concerns, get in touch to speak to us or our guides.
Alternatively, try one of our day walks to get a feel for the activity before committing to a more challenging hike.
More info on our goat grades can be found here