Step It Up Highland

What do we do?

Fortrose and Strathpeffer groups on a joint walk in Cromarty

SIUH sets a model of encouraging the uptake of health walks to enable people in the Highlands to achieve better physical health, improve mental wellbeing, attain a healthy weight and encourage interaction by socialising with others while enjoying the beautiful natural environment we have in the Highlands.

How do we do this?

We do this by recruiting local volunteers to become trained walk leaders, enabling them to share their own passion for walking with others who are less likely to walk regularly and so to encourage joining a local SIUH walking group. We have 30 groups spread across the Highlands, with more in development. All walks are free to attend and are led by trained walk leaders who will welcome and encourage new walkers.

What are our walks like?

Here at SIUH we enjoy regular health walks – mostly weekly and in ways that are accessible to those who perhaps haven’t walked for a while, are limited by health concerns or who simply wish to progress through our model of walks and then eventually move on to a local walking group, join the gym, take up other excercise or even join a mountain walking club! All walks can include an appreciation of local flora, the environment and the ever changing seasons.

Our walks can offer progression from inactive to active via our model of health walks as follows:

  • Step Out – Low level walks from 10 minutes upwards. A starting point for those who are not used to regular walking, or not able to do a lot of physical activity – perhaps due to health constraints or low mood and depression. Our pace will be matched to the abilities present. There is potential to be linked into a small group, or individually to a walk leader, to encourage and support your first steps to a healthier you. Walk, enjoy the scenery, a blether and then a chance to socialise after the walk.
  • Step It Up Highland (SIUH) – Moderate health walks – up to an hour in duration. Beginning with a warm up, moving on to a brisker pace (but still enjoying a chat as we walk!), and then to a slow down before stopping for any socialising that is on offer that day!
  • Step It Up Further (SIUF) – In April 2012 we introduced slightly more challenging health walks that can last up to 2 hours. There will be an increased opportunity on these walks to tackle some more challenging terrain or distance and increase fitness further. That welcome cup of tea or coffee will draw everyone in afterwards!


How can I become involved?

If you want to walk but are a bit unsure of your capability, we recommend checking the idea out with your health professional (GP or practice nurse) and if they agree it would be beneficial, simply give us a call either to the main office (contact us) or to your local walking group in our
Current Walk Directory March 2017 Then come along and register for your first walk. Our walk leaders will ask you to fill in a new walker form. Most of our walkers find that with regular friendly led walks they soon enjoy better health and often this leads to an increased awareness of other ways to improve health. So, at 6 monthly intervals, if you provided an email address, you will be asked to comment on how things are improving for you. You may be quite surprised at what you’ve accomplished!

Many walkers themselves become walk leaders and so continue the cycle of helping others. We welcome new walkers and potential walk leaders alike, especially in areas where at present there is less activity in health walks.

So what are you waiting for? Come along and join in the fun and fun it is, just have a look at some of our photographs from our walks in our Gallery enjoying their time out together…….


Some inspirational comments from our walk leaders follow – I think the comments show the range and variety of the positive experiences that can come from belonging to a health walking group, not only for the excercise but also influencing mental wellbeing and for the socialising aspect.

Click here to see the comments

Click here to see Snapshots/Case Studies

Our webpage is starting to become more interactive with areas for contribution and discussion threads being developed for all with an interest to contribute.

With this in mind, we suggest you have a look at the Step It Up Highland Area of the Links Page, for wider information and blogs.

Thank you for checking us out!

Kindest Regards

Lynne Bannister

Step It Up Highland Co-ordinator








Logo: NHS Highland Logo: Highland Cross Logo: Scottish Natural Heritage Logo: Paths for All Logo: Common Good Fund