Broch walking group take part in two-day conference

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Two members of the Fraserburgh West Walking Group have participated in a two day conference to celebrate nearly 20 years of walking in the Aberdeenshire area.

Shelia Catto and Mabel Deans attended the event at the Marriott Hotel where they joined 100 others from Aberdeenshire, including fellow members from the Fraserburgh 50+ group, Shelia Erridge, William Hewitt, Chris Ritchie and Brian Torrance.

The Fraserburgh participants said they were delighted with the two days in which they were involved in talks from experts in a range of outdoor activities, including Cameron McNeish, wilderness hiker, author and broadcaster.

Commenting, Mr Torrance said: “Mr McNeish was the key note speaker who got the conference off to the perfect start.

“It was then over to us to take walking forward for the rest of the two days, inspired by some thoughtful contributions from the experts. It was a great experience.”

But while Mr McNeish was the star turn of the event, it was Oldmeldrum member Jennifer Leys who won the hearts of delegates when she told them of her battle back to fitness after being diagnosed with bowel cancer two years after joining the Oldmeldrum Ramblers.

Mrs Leys told an attentive audience that she was at first: “shocked, angry and terrified, but decided to squeeze in what I thought might be my last walk with the group. On the walk I was inspired by a lady walker who had been through a similar ordeal 10 years ago.’’

Lifted by the chat Mrs Leys went off to her treatment. She added: “I was very positive, but greatly helped by all the messages of support from the group.

“Nine months later I felt well enough to re-join the group. The first walk at Forvie was a real struggle. I had to decide between talking and walking, but that was over two years ago, and since then I have done many more miles,’’ she told the conference.

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