Ramblers Scotland has welcomed Shona McMillan as their newly appointed Promoting Walking Coordinator. Her primary role will be to help get people active as a key legacy benefit of the 2012 Olympic and 2014 Commonwealth Games.
This new post will develop a range of projects as part of the Ramblers' 'Walk the Path to 2014' initiative to encourage a massive increase in walking, as well as other outdoor activities, as part of the physical activity legacy benefits to flow from the Games. Encouraging physical activity lies at the heart of the Scottish Government's 'Active Nation' programme for the 2012 and 2014 Games. While efforts will inevitably be concentrated at the beginners' end of the spectrum a greater emphasis on walking may bring long term knock-on benefits to walking in Scotland more generally.
Director of Ramblers Scotland, Dave Morris, said:
'We must use the impetus of these iconic sporting events to get Scotland active. Far too many people do too little physical exercise. The easiest, most cost effective way to change this is to encourage more people to do more walking. Our business plan identifies a series of projects that will help people get more active, from sofa to summit. We are delighted that Shona will be able to apply her extensive experience in the delivery of cultural and environmental projects in Scotland's public and voluntary sectors to lead our 2012/2014 work.'
'In 2003 the Scottish Parliament passed land reform legislation which delivered world class rights of public access to land and water. Now we should set the world standard to show how a country which is hosting iconic sporting events like the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, as well as the Ryder Cup in 2014, can stimulate its citizens and visitors to lead more active, healthy lives. The Olympics do not belong to London, the Commonwealth Games do not belong to Glasgow and the Ryder Cup does not belong to Gleneagles. These are events of nationwide significance and, like the Olympic Flame, the benefits should travel to all parts of the Scottish mainland and islands.'
Shona McMillan said:
'This is a great opportunity to use the Games to help create a fit and active Scotland with huge environmental, social and economic benefits. We will be working with many other organisations and individuals over the years to 2014 to raise the funds and deliver all our legacy aspirations. We will establish an advisory group of individuals with expertise from sporting, business, health and media backgrounds to help guide our plans. Alongside this will be an expanding role for our Ramblers members and volunteers. With over 50 local groups in Scotland we are well placed to ensure that Scotland's Active Nation programme delivers benefits from local community level to city wide.'
Dave Morris added:
'Legacy is much more than building splendid new facilities for a few sports. Scotland's Active Nation programme will deliver benefits from the 2012 and 2014 Games to all communities. At its heart is increased commitment to physical activity, especially walking and cycling, and transforming the lives of most citizens across the whole country.'
You can't fault his ambition.