Walkers' ranks swelling

Taieri Recreational Tramping Club members  (from left) Fred Deans, Judy Knox and Ian Fleming love getting out and about in the fresh air. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Taieri Recreational Tramping Club members (from left) Fred Deans, Judy Knox and Ian Fleming love getting out and about in the fresh air. Photo by Linda Robertson.

The opportunity to explore the great outdoors with like-minded people is attracting greater numbers of keen walkers and trampers to the Taieri Recreational Tramping Club.

Since January, the club has noticed an increase in the number of people taking part in its Wednesday walking groups.

The club offers three levels of participation - tramping, hiking and rambling - and its members are mostly retired.

Club secretary Ian Fleming said new members had swelled the hiking group by about 15 to 35 people.

''We're getting new people joining every month or so.''

The 26-year-old club was popular in its early days but membership started dwindling in recent years as members got older.

''We've got several octogenarians. As the hills get steeper and the tracks longer, you have to decide judicially which tramp to go out on. Some are drifting down to hikers.''

He put the recent resurgence down to word of mouth, advertising and people's keenness to get out and see some of the district.

The club had about 160 to 200 walk options from Palmerston to Milton, including the Silver Peaks, Middlemarch, Maungatuas, coastal walks and even walks through Dunedin's Town Belt.

Trampers headed out for day trips, while the hikers' trips returned by afternoon tea time and the ramblers took to the streets of Mosgiel, Mr Fleming said.

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