Tales from the Purbeck Challenges…..

The 2 challenge events at  the PURBECK NORDIC WALKING FESTIVAL are not out and out races but rather timed distance routes. Last we saw people of all levels, take up the challenge and push themselves to complete their selected distance.
Sue from Bromsgrove completed the tough 27 mile challenge – she says “The Nordic Walking Marathon 2017 is an event I will never forget. I had never entered a challenge before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and also, what I would be capable of. I registered in May and closer to the date had regular emails from NWUK with all the information I needed. There was nothing else to do apart from turning up!
The challenge was very tough but that was part of the fun. Once you get started that competitiveness takes hold and although you are only challenging yourself, that feeling when you overtake someone is great! The focus is on achieving your best possible time. Twenty seven miles in 7 hrs 45mins – I still can’t believe it! The icing on the cake was to finish 3rd fastest female!
I only achieved that time because of the fantastic motivation and support given by Ian, my Instructor, who walked the marathon with me. The steeper inclines were the hardest part for me, making me feel nauseous. Although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I’m glad Ian didn’t show me any sympathy. He simply made me dig deep and get on with it!!
If I do it again, I would definitely do Ian’s Marathon training and a hill climbing course to be fully prepared. To go to this event as a large group would be fantastic and i am glad several of my group are booked in already for 2018.

I’m still buzzing from this experience and to be cheered over the finish line by my hubby and friends was a fantastic feeling. I really would encourage you to give it a go!” 
Meanwhile lots of nordic walkers completed the shorter 16 mile challenge event fpr a host of reasons including motivation for weight loss. Emma on the right of this picture is a busy Mum of three who suddenly realised she was leading a sedentary life. At the end of 2016 she took up NW and this is a picture of her in a Workout Walk (having climbed her very first hill) She fet she needed something to focus on in order to keep her walking every week so the Team at Dorset Nordic walking trained her up for the 16 miler. Emma took part in workout walks during the week and every sunday from July, the team took her out on the Sunday training walks which gradually got longer and tested parts of the actual route. (these are happening again this year folks so check out DORSET NORDIC WALKING if you fancy joining them!)
Now Emma walks twice a week and is 5 stone lighter (see second from the right in this picture) In fact she loves Nordic Walking so much she even works at HQ and is on the Festival planning Team “Only problem is I will miss the 16 miler this year as I will getting things ready for the Satuday Night Feast with live music at the HUB. However, I can definatley recommend the atmosphere on the event, everyone was brilliant.The other participants, marshalls, back markers and team giving out medals at the end made it something I will always remember” she says.


Age is but a number!

Meet Bleddyn a keen Nordic Walker from Cheshire who is pictured celebrating his 90th Birthday with his Instructor Kerley and the group.

You may be forgiven for thinking he could be the veteran of the group but this amazing wellbeing group are proof that walking with poles keeps you young!

Bleddyn is actually six months younger than Gwilym Jones who joined the group in April 2014, originally to recover mobility after a road traffic accident and spinal surgery. Kerley says “Despite undergoing major surgery  and a fractured hip in November last year, he is keen to recover in time to make my next longer adventure walk up Moel Famau. He enjoyed the pictures of my recce walk as his Family have farming connections there and he recalls running up Mountains when helping his Uncles’ there as a boy. This is possibly why he can manage the hills which had me puffing for sure!”

All very impressive BUT Ron Cheesebrough pictured is actually Kerley’s oldest member at 92! He started walking with the group aged 89 in September 2015 having heard about Nordic Walking at a talk for a support group at Leighton Hospital. He tells us he really appreciates the friendships he has made in the group as he finds he has outlived many of his friends.  Ron initially wanted to achieve more mobility and balance, improved breathing and weight loss. He had a heart attack in August 2016 but recovered enough to get back walking again, attending walks both in Frodsham and Chester.

In November he even had keyhole surgery for an aortic aneurysm and the Surgeon commented that it clear that If it hadn’t been for his excellent Lung and Heart Test results and the well received report from his Walking Instructor, there was no way that he would have contemplated that procedure at his age” Kerley’s husband, Ted who is also an Instructor had timed Ron over 100m and told him to let the surgeon know it was 1 min 30 secs!

Whilst Kerley’s Wellbeing group is specifically designed to cater for those with medical conditions, it is certainly not the only group with more senior polers! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking its an activity for the slow or frail either as many of them are far fitter than the majority of the younger group members too.

When we asked our groups if they had any members in their Eighties, it became clear that its actually the norm. In fact many Instructors reported that spritely octogenarians were often amongst the more active of the group too. Helen Richardson who runs the All Seasons NW group in South Gloucestershire told us about Ann Triner (pictured) who at 83 walks regularly. Whilst in Shropshire, the aptly named Barbara Walker is apparently a stalwart at the age of 84 according to her Instructor Beverley.

Here at NWUK HQ we have a brilliant local Instructor, John Challis (pictured) who is also the main route planner for the Purbeck Festival at the tender age of 79! He can be found out in all weathers either testing out routes or teaching technique and many of our younger group members struggle to keep up with him on the hills!

Once we move to Nordic Walkers who are only 70 plus, there are so many inspirational folk out there that we could go on forever. Instructor Ashley Sandy in Wiltshire told us she had 2 extraordinary walkers in this age bracket  – Alan, a 72 year old who Nordic walks 30 40 miles a week and is thinking of tackling the 26 mile Purbeck Challenge in September and Sue Worthy  who just before her seventieth Birthday attended a ski fit course and pictured performing this explosive drill! News has it that Alan wont be the only person over 65 to do the 26 mile challenge either. In fact we have quite a few entries in the senior category, including Eileen from Bromsgrove who at 73 also completed the Cotswold 24 hour challenge last year)

But before you assume that all Nordic Walkers are in the retirement age group…..THINK AGAIN because in the next issue we will be featuring some of our younger regulars and you might be really surprised.

Top technique Tips from our experts

Like when driving, it is really easy to fall into bad habits when out pole walking (especially if you are chatting!)

Some Instructors are very strict on technique whilst others will only ‘nag’ you when you are taking part in workout walks or if you are seeking maximum results FAST but are not putting in the effort. However there are three simple drills which you can do at any time to check if you are letting things slide or taking things a tad too easy!


  1. The key to getting a good Nordic Walking action is to engage the major upper body muscles and not just the upper arm. This means you have to concentrate and swing a straight arm until the hand is at handshake height.

If you then plant the pole at a backward angle and use your strap to push forward – you will have made use of all those powerful big upper body muscles. Next time you are out with your poles, pop a sticker on the inside of your elbow and if it disappears when you are poling…….you are bending the arm too much and therefore only using the arm muscles!


Another common ‘lazy technique habit’ is to go through the motions of Nordic walking but without actually putting mush power through the poles. The best way to test for this is to walk using the poles and then stop using them but still swing the arms as if you are (simply keep the tips off the ground). If you do not slow down much and/or feel heavier on your feet, the chances are you are not pushing hard enough on the poles to propel you forward. Remember, you should push hard enough onto the poles to really engage the upper body, take the weight off your feet and PROPEL you forward. This drill works really well on a slight incline too.


This literally is a tip (well photo of where one goes into the ground anyway) If you are swinging form the shoulder and lifting the poles forward slightly before you ‘plant’ them into the ground, they should leave a clean hole in the ground as shown in the picture on the left.

However, if you do not swing far enough forward to take the hand high enough to lift the pole it may engage with the ground too early causing it to drag along (which reduces your power) and the tell tell signs will be a drag line before the plant point which is usually less marked and deep as a result. If you can’t find ground where you leave the signs try using a hard surface for this drill and simply listen to the noise your pole tips make as you use them. You should hear a clear tap and not a scrape and tap. If you are using rubber paws a lot. another sign of poor planting is uneven wear to the front or back of the paw. Wrongly sized poles can cause poor planting so if you are finding it hard to master this drill – ask your local NWUK to check out your pole height and technique for you.

Have fun and remember………… don’t take it too easy if you want to really experience the power of your poles!

Tips provided by Gill Stewart Author of the Complete Guide to Nordic Walking and the UK HQ Team.



Do you fancy a new career in Outdoor Fitness?

Are you a current NW Instructor ready for the next step?

This might be the opportunity you have been waiting for.


In 2018 we will be concentrating on areas of the UK where it is not easy to find a NWUK class or gain your FREEDOM passport and we are looking for the right people to represent us. If you are a Team player who cares about other people and have the energy and enthusiasm to make things happen …WE WANT TO TALK TO YOU!

Our unique EXERCISE ANYWHERE DIPLOMA is NOT just another training course – it’s a business in a box and we can help you to launch a programme that works for you. Be part of the fastest growing Health Club in the UK and join other NWUK Instructors, to benefit from support, workshops and proven programmes plus a huge amount of PR from an experienced, motivated HQ Team

Call us to discuss how we can help you to develop a satisfying career which will keep you fit and help others to achieve their goals too.

We offer two packages depending on your ambition and lifestyle. Both will enable you to be part of our National network and deliver our award-winning FREEDOM programme. Click here to find out more about the programme.

Areas we desperately need cover NOW are:-







Our packages are aimed to work around your lifestyle and ambitions…………….

  1. BRAND AMBASSADOR  Ideal for somebody who wants to develop a part time programme with less focus on business or growth (or to support an existing Instructor). Typically our Brand Ambassadors are those who want to deliver a couple of classes a week or possibly integrate NW into a current wellbeing or fitness business. NWUK offer constant support and everything needed to set up classes, promote them and take bookings plus FREEDOM passports and a host of benefits for clients.


Our delivery partner Instructors are more focused on building a comprehensive programme that can be a full time job or generate significant income. They work with NWUK to build a ‘club’ that will often include a range of class levels such as wellbeing, ski fit and even eating plans. They will manage a much wider programme with the use of walk leaders and will typically offer several sessions a week for all levels. To help them launch and grow quickly, we offer a more comprehensive training and support package which includes business, sales and marketing training, an on line marketing tool kit and optional personalised website. As we appreciate the pressures of setting up a new venture, we spread the cost of this additional support into 12 monthly payments. This enables our Delivery partners to be generating income immediately and to spread the cost of setting up over their first year in business rather than before the start!.

We are seeking TEAM PLAYERS who want to make a difference and have the drive and enthusiasm to make things happen! Apply now for more information. Still not convinced – Come to meet us at our HQ in Dorset or call us to book into one of our regular REGIONAL DISCOVERY DAYS in 2018. E mail training@nordicwalking.co.uk or call 0333 1234 540





Famous 5 go live on TV!

We are so proud of Instructor Ian Northcott and his band of brilliant Nordic Walkers from Bromsgrove. Apart from Nordic walking at every opportunity, these Guys have also adopted a section of their local Canal as part of a wider programme launched by the Canal & Rivers Trust.

This led to them being filmed for an ITV programme with Julia Bradbury which features Britain’s best walks which was aired on 30th Jan. To add more excitement, a call came into NWUK HQ on Tuesday  23rd Jan asking if Ian and his group would like to join Julia promote the programme on the BBC One show…………. on the followingThursday!

Ever resourceful Ian sprang into action, arranging cover for his classes (he has sessions seven days a week) and asking for people to accompany him on the trip to the BBC studios in London. He had lots of offers and eventually had to narrow it down to 4 at the request of the One show team. So it was that Paula, Geoff, Kathy and Eileen became the Famous Five!

Their adventure kept us chuckling all day as they got kitted out in purple and headed off to London for their LIVE appearance on the show. Sending us pictures from the rehearsals and green room and then Nordic walking onto the Live show to chat with Matt Baker, Julia Bradbury and Angela Scanlon.

As you can see from the pictures, they had a ball but it was a really long day in order to fly the purple flag for a couple of minutes! Within seconds of their enthusiastic appearance, people were booking in to Tasters, keen to give Nordic walking a try and here at NWUK HQ, we know it wont be long before they are telling their friends they were glad they saw the Famous 5 on the One show!

Their appearance on Britain’s best walks was equally well received and we even spotted NWUK Instructor Nic Sproson in the opening titles of the show as an added bonus!


NWUK Malaysia in the news

Nordic Walking UK Malaysia are going from strength to strength thanks to the dedication of their founder Toh Ee Siew who learned to Nordic Walk in London and loved it so much she trained to be a NWUK Delivery Partner so she could introduce the concept in her home Country. 

This business article outlines her passion, the amazing trips her group experience and her approach to charitable causes. Toh Ee is truly an inspiration and we are looking forward to seeing and her and her group (pictured here at their Project Pyjamas event) again at the Purbeck festival in September.



Dates for your Diary

Team NWUK have a busy schedule of events planned for 2018 as well as our own Festivals

We love meeting up with our members so come along and see us

If you bring your Membership card you could also be in for a special treat too!

POP these dates in your diary and come to say Hello – watch out for competitions and discounted tickets in your members area too!


The original 10k Nordic Walk event organised by the National Trust and a great way to join in with 200 or so pole walkers of all ages, shapes and sizes – Simply a lovely friendly event, full of Purple!


Make the most of your trip to the Lakes and join the NWUK team at this iconic event in Keswick. Again, we will be offering TASTERS and PASSPORT REFRESHERS but we also hope to add some walks and enjoy the music too of course!


We will be offering TASTERS and on hand to chat through everything Nordic Walking throughout the whole event.


NWUK Delivery Partner Instructors will also be representing us at other Challenges, Walking Festivals and Events around the UK – Look out for the Purple banners and make sure you say Hello

Pewsey Downsaround Sun 22nd April

International Waendel  Walk  Fri 11th – Sun 13th May

Wotton Walking Festival Fri 11th – Sun 13th May

Women Can Marathon Sun 27th May Devon

Longest Day Challenge in Warwickshire 21st June

Race to the Stones Sat 14th – Sun 15th July

Jurassic Coast Challenge Sat 21st – Sun 22nd July Poole Harbour to Bridport

Cotswold 24 Hour Race Sat 4th –  Sun 5th August

Chichester Half Marathon Sun 7th Oct


See you there!


Walking poles for WEIGHT BEARING – a Physio’s View.

Pam Jolliffe, an extremely active Physiotherapist who was a keen Nordic Walker – outlines how she trialled the Urban Poling Activator poles following a dramatic change in her health and mobility

June 2017 just 5 days before my 70th my life was disrupted by a stroke and despite a moderately rapid recovery the immobility caused a final rapid deterioration of my hips allowing only about 10 strange steps without support. Following replacement of both my hips in the new- year a new life should begin. In the meantime I am thrilled to have found the Activator poles -originally introduced to me as Physio or rehab poles.

In 2013 I attended Nordic walking sessions to see if I could recommend the training and the poles to my Physiotherapy and Pilates clients. Climbing and mountaineering have been my love and I had previously used trekking poles, so I learned the benefit of using the Nordic strap to take some weight and lighten the grip.

The physics of using walking sticks has been etched in my mind since a brilliant physiotherapy lecturer brought the ergonomic principles of the remarkable weight relief given by using a stick in the opposite hand to the affected leg. Simply the distance from stick rubber on ground to foot is about four times further than if held on the same side.

The physics works incredibly – very little weight goes through the stick. We can picture the person with a stick next to the same foot leaning heavily. Now visualise a runner the right arm and left leg reaching forward. This trunk and pelvic counter rotation improves power and efficiency.

Nordic walking uses these principles but add a new element by creating a driving or propulsive force forward while giving some weight relief. This force is by virtue of the Nordic glove, the steep backward angle of the poles and the remarkably shapes pads – the “paws”- for hard ground.  Excellent technique requires training and encourages the posture which has been my mantra as a therapist encourages a powerful and efficient walking pattern. The Nordic method uses the link between upper and lower body diagonally across the core muscles reducing joint stress from rib cage through lower spine, hips, knees, ankles and feet.

However if like me joints are so severely worn that poles are required in the house your major need is weight relief and the propulsive force is not quite so important. The solution is Activator poles. These have a weight bearing ‘shelf’ built into the handle (see image). This clever shelf  takes a great deal more body weight than the Nordic glove and is also  more practical when poles are constantly being put down to do a task when in constant daily use in the home.

The “ulna” or little finger side of the hand rests on the shelf while fingers lightly hold the pole. The poles have less spring than my old travellers, feeling solid and supportive while remaining light. The technique remains similar with the pole angled backwards but to a lesser degree than Nordic and the extra large pads (paws) give really secure contact on the ground. I have found that they hold me more upright and generally improve my posture. I can see that they will be used right through my rehabilitation until I have recovered muscle strength and bulk which will once more support my joints and I can get back to thinking of more speed and power with my faithful travellers.

If you have been advised to be partial weight bearing you should be supplied with crutches designed for this job and taught by a professional.

I can see that as a professional these poles fit a much needed gap in the market and I can think of so many clients who could have benefitted.  Personally I think they are wonderful and I hope you can see how excited I am about them.


Purbeck in Dorset is the home of the aptly named Purbeck Nordic Walking Festival, a NWUK event which attracted over 700 pole walkers from a host of Nations in 2017.

This iconic event is now entering its third year and is about to GROW! This year, the festival goers enjoyed a choice of 120 walks, workshops, keynote presentations and a lot of fun. There was also a Marathon and 16 mile challenge event which included the new sport of speed hiking (a mix of running and walking with poles)

The unique themed walks included campfire suppers on an RSPB reserve, Literary walks, Geographical and Historical walks plus fun workout walks along rugged coastal paths.

Our festival team have listened to the feedback and suggestions from those who attended and and are now busy planning an even more fantastic event for 2018! Festival 3 will include a lot more social activity (including a range of Friday night ‘supper’ walks in amazing locations and a music event on the Saturday in an iconic setting.

We are busy training Festival Hosts and Leaders and would welcome applications from anyone who wants to be involved. E mail Emma@nordicwalking.co.uk if you can help in any way.

More information will soon be available on our NEW Festival website (launching soon) and we will open registrations for booking by the end of December.


The Festival is booked by the day and there are 1, 2 and 3-day packages to choose from. When you initially register, all you need to do is select your preferred days in order to secure your place. It is possible to change those days and there is no need to do anything else until the full schedule is released in June. At this point, we will enable those who have registered the opportunity to choose which walks and workshops they would like to do, in order of the date they registered. We will also be simplifying group bookings in 2018 so make sure you let us know if you are coming with others.

Most of the walks and workshops are repeated to make them available on ALL 3 DAYS although the Marathon and 16 mile events are on the SATURDAY only and some specialist sessions may depend on the availability of an expert! A Day ticket will mean you can enjoy a choice of circa 30 activities from Dawn to Dusk and gain access to the HUB and social events. You even get a T shirt and Goodie bag!

All you need to do now is be ready to choose your dates as soon as we send the invitation out. It might also be an idea to book some accommodation –  we will have lots of ideas for you but the best locations are Wareham, Swanage and Corfe Castle – click here for some ideas. Bear with us as we build the new interactive Festival website which will make booking and changing walks really easy. In the meantime… the 2017 website is still live so you can see the type of things we have planned for 2018 plus a whole lot more! See 2017 website here

Can’t make it to Dorset or for that weekend in September?


Come and join the HQ Team and the local Instructors for two days of walks, workshops and fun in the wonderful setting of TISSINGTON!

Come for the day or make a weekend of it – more info to follow but save the date

4th and 5th May 2018! 




Highlights from 2017


It’s been a busy year again at NWUK – here are just a few of the highlights

The NWUK trailer hit the road this Summer and was seen in Scotland, the Lake District and even Blenheim Palace. Packed with equipment, goodies and information about Nordic Walking, watch out for it at an event near you in 2018!

NWUK Instructors Tracy and Sharon from Watford NW group visited the Royal National Orthopaedic hospital to work with Orthotic & Prosthetic Users earlier this year.

read more in the RNOH newsletter here 

The South West Coast Path is close to our hearts at NWUK as it features in many of our local walks and the Purbeck festival. That’s why we were so delighted that 37 Nordic Walkers from a range of groups and as far away as Watford helped us raise vital cash for its upkeep by taking part in the final leg of the SWCP challenge.

NWUK Instructor Bart from Lytham St Annes spread the NW message far and wide when he met lots of keen walkers on a recent trip to Japan. He even inspired some of them to book into the NWUK Purbeck Festival too which was lovely! Hopefully their trip will inspire more people to join us again next year?

We love this picture of Bart with his poles but wish the cloak had a touch more purple!!

Dame Kelly Holmes joined NWUK Instructor Janine Lewis (and her team which includes her flamingo Flo!) to help promote physical activity in Reading. Dame Kelly even had a go at Nordic walking by all accounts. Janine is one of many NWUK Instructors who flew the Purple flag this summer – well done to you all

Team NWUK entertained the crowds at the Countryfile Live show in August and had a ball introducing the thousands of visitors to the marvels of pole walking. We will be back in 2018 so come and see us (wear purple and be prepared to sing along!)

Hazel Smith, a NWUK Instructor from Hertfordshire managed to get 231 people to take part in a NW tuition class for a world record attempt in aid of the charity CHIPs. The event in September raised over 1,000 and a lot of fun was had by all.

Great effort Hazel and all involved!

SKY NEWS visited NWUK at one of their favourite partnership and festival sites, the RSPB reserve at Arne in Dorset to interview Gill and some amazing local walkers for a feature about Women in Sport

The piece aired twice on 5th Dec