Welcome everyone to the August news from WARM. We are starting to think about the new season of walks which we hope will start in mid to late September.
As with many parts of life, we are having to cope with requirements of the ‘new normal’. We have been studying guidance and are developing an advice sheet to help reassure our members. We will probably be walking in smaller groups and using simpler routes where social distancing is possible.
We are also planning our AGM and will have two new committee members: Karin Van Houten, our new Treasurer and David Hayden our new Vocal. They replace Fiona Still and Steve Still who were inaugural members of the WARM committee and a huge thank you to them for their work developing WARM.
This month I thought we might stay in South America and talk about a walk in Ecuador. In 2008 I retired from a very stressful job in the NHS and decided to do something completely different.
I organised a trip to Ecuador and I was based in the capital Quito, living with Rita and her family. There was two weeks of Spanish tuition in a language school and a four week volunteer placement in a nursery, called Villa Ticca. It was an incredible experience and my first long haul destination; a bit different from solo travel in Europe.
I saw a very different life at the nursery. Most of the children were previously on the streets while their families struggled to make a living. The project helped the mothers to find accommodation and work, and the nursery provided free childcare and food.
One weekend I went on an ‘organised walk’ to Cotopaxi, which is an active volcano 50km south of Quito. It is a stunning snow-capped environment and we started our walk part way up and walked up to the refuge. We travelled together in a pretty beaten up old minibus for about 90 minutes on a very bumpy road. We set off to walk on a cold, but sunny day. The ascent was only 300m, from 4,500m (14,764 ft), but at altitude that feels much more. We had been walking about 30 minutes when the cloud descended and it started to snow and Talya, a fellow volunteer and I lost sight of the main group. Luckily we could see footprints in the snow so just kept following them! It was quite scary and we got to the refuge to find our ‘leader’ completely oblivious to how far behind we had been and promptly announced it was time to leave for the next section!
One of the golden rules of leading a walk is to always have a ‘back marker’ and Talya and I were just thankful we made it.
The new WARM season will start in September. We send details of the next walk to our WARM mailing list, normally about a fortnight ahead. If you are interested in joining us on a walk and want to be on our mailing list then contact Norma on Warm2005@gmail.com