Walking to Health at the Scottish Parliament 

From left to right; David Clyne (Recreation & Access Manager; CNPA); Alan Melrose (Walking to Health Co-ordinator; COAT); Patsy Reynolds (Volunteer Health Walks Leader COAT; Ballater Group); Dr Aileen McLeod MSP (Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform); Murray Swapp (Senior Access Projects Officer; COAT) at Scotland's Outdoors - Our Natural Health Service. A Parliamentary reception at the Scottish Parliament, 12th November 2015. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

From left to right; David Clyne (Recreation & Access Manager; CNPA); Alan Melrose (Walking to Health Co-ordinator; COAT); Patsy Reynolds (Volunteer Health Walks Leader COAT; Ballater Group); Dr Aileen McLeod MSP (Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform); Murray Swapp (Senior Access Projects Officer; COAT) at Scotland’s Outdoors – Our Natural Health Service. A Parliamentary reception at the Scottish Parliament, 12th November 2015.
©Lorne Gill/SNH

The Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust (COAT) was recently invited by Scottish Natural Heritage to have a Cairngorms Walking to Health stand at the Scottish Parliament for a Scotland Outdoors ‘Our Natural health service’ event.

A number of outdoor organisations promoting Health and Wellbeing across Scotland attended the event to highlight and discuss their initiatives with invited guests who took a keen interest in the projects.

The Cairngorms Walking to Health Project has been managed by COAT for seven years sourcing funds to develop over thirty volunteer led Health Walk groups in villages and towns in the Cairngorms and Aberdeenshire. Currently the Cairngorms Walking to Health Project is supported by SNH; CNPA; Paths for All and the NHS.

During the event the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr Aileen McLeod MSP introduced the ‘Our natural health service’ theme of the evening and talked about the important contribution the outdoors makes to improving health and well-being and its links to the Scottish Government’s strategic priorities. COAT were pleased to hear Dr Aileen McLeod’s reference to the Cairngorms Walking to Health Project in her speech where the Minister said:

“The outdoors has a key part to play, not only in treating health conditions, but in supporting an approach focused on preventing ill health.

“We need to maximise the potential of our outdoors by using it to encourage prevention of illness through healthy lifestyles, regular physical activity and contact with nature.

“Partnership working is key to this and it is great to see collaboration between the environment and health sectors, with SNH and other partners within the Rural Affairs, Food & Environment portfolio engaging with the health and other sectors. In the Cairngorms National Park, for instance, the ‘Cairngorms Walking to Health’ project is a highly regarded programme of health walks aimed at getting communities more active.

For more information on the Cairngorms Walking to Health project please contact COAT’s Walking to Health Co-ordinator, Alan Melrose Tel: 013398 87777 e: alan@walkdeeside.com