Last Thursday at an awards ceremony for six hundred people our club was voted Bristol’s best health business. That’s right, against a very strong shortlist of health businesses including the likes of The Whitely Clinic and Nuffield Health, Bristol Nordic Walking came top. It was an unbelievable night and the awards hosted by Bristol Life magazine were full of glitz and glamour, and even an after-party.
There’s always a number of factors why any one business stands out above the rest. The summary from the judges was ‘Bristol Nordic Walking is such an innovative business that’s great for people who don’t like the gym. 2016 has been an amazing year for BNW and proves what a brilliant organisation this is”.
For my part, I think we won because we are all fitness trailblazers. Not just Ros, myself and the instructor team, but all of us. Together we are showing Bristol and the rest of the UK the health model of the future. One which isn’t so much about managing health but creating and owning it.
Your testimonials (we sent in three pages of them!) consistently showed how much difference Nordic walking has made to your physical and mental wellbeing. Your voice has been heard and it's telling people that there is a fitness revolution out there - an outdoor exercise that is sociable, effective and fun. An exercise that makes walking harder for those who find it too easy and easier for those who find it too hard. An exercise that can help you manage, and even banish, chronic health conditions such as asthma and back ache. An exercise that gives you a reason to explore our magnificent parks and countryside. An exercise that you can do for the rest of your life, for as long as you can walk. Either with others or by yourself.
In short this award is proof that you’re never too old to make a difference. It also has the potential to be a potent catalyst for the growth of Nordic walking in both Bristol and the rest of the UK, helping to get the message out there. Thank you again for your support.
Catch them whilst you can
The bluebells are mostly fully out and even going over in some places, so now is the time to get out and enjoy one of Britain’s most spectacular shows. Leigh Woods, Ashton Court and Tanpit Wood have some stunning bluebell sections, but my number one place for bluebells in Bristol is Prior’s Wood in Portbury. This has to be one of the best bluebell woods in the country. Every year we put on a special Priors Wood circular walk and this year it’s on Friday 5th May (this Friday) so book now if you’d like to join it.
Where the bluebells are you will most likely also find wild garlic. There is a particularly excellent display in Bourton Combe and you can join us on a walk through this very accessible and local walk on Friday 12th May. In the meantime here are a few facts about bluebells which might interest you:
- They are a member of the lily order (Hyacinthoides non-scripta is their latin name) and spread very slowly. Because of this they are considered to be an indicator of ancient woodland sites, even if there are no longer trees there.
- Bluebells are steeped in folklore. People used to believe that their bells rang out to summon fairies to their gathering and that any human who heard a bluebell ring would die within a year.
- The bluebell is a symbol of constancy and as such could be the origin of the ‘….something blue…’ that a bride should wear on her wedding day.
- Bluebells are poisonous but their sap was used in the Bronze Age as a glue to attach feathers to (fletch) arrows and the Elizabethans crushed the bulbs to provide starch for their ruffs.
- Bumblebees are the bluebells’ primary pollinator, but some have learned to ‘steal’ nectar by biting the bottom of the bell, thereby getting the goodness without pollinating the flower.
- The bluebell’s Spanish cousin is now invading our native bluebell woods, having been first introduced into the country in 1680. They are far less elegant with wider leaves and paler, starrier flowers. They also don’t have the beautiful delicate sweet scent – if they smell of anything it’s apparently old onions!
Next week it’s all about our new walk starting in the Royal Victoria Park, Bath plus some technique tips for your hips and core. In the meantime have a great week’s walking and don’t forget to shout out loud and proud about our award!