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  • Small Biz 100 2019 – exciting news!

    SmallBiz100

    We are delighted to announce we have been chosen from thousands of small businesses across the country to be one of the SmallBiz100! 

    We feel honoured to have been chosen by the judges to be a part of #SmallBiz100 and the Small Business Saturday UK initiative championing small businesses across the country!

    small biz 100

    Whalley Warm & Dry has been selected as one of 100 trail-blazing small businesses in the official count-down to Small Business Saturday, which takes place across the UK on 7 December 2019. 

    In the 100 days running up to Small Business Saturday, the campaign will spotlight each of the Small Biz 100, as part of its mission to celebrate small business success and encourage the nation to 'shop local' and support British small businesses.

    Director of Small Business Saturday, Michelle Ovens MBE said:

    Each year this campaign has grown in support from government, business and communities alike, and so we can’t wait to begin the annual 100-day countdown to Small Business Saturday with the launch of the Small Biz 100 2019.

    “Small Business Saturday’s increasing popularity means it was harder than ever to choose just 100 of this country’s incredible 5.6 million small businesses to showcase, but we believe those we have chosen are true representatives of the diverse, creative and inspiring heroes at the heart of our communities.”

    In its seventh year, Small Business Saturday is the UK's most successful small business campaign, which last year saw an estimated £812 million spent in small businesses across the UK on the day, according to research commissioned by founder and principal supporter American Express.

  • The North West Way – Frequently Asked Questions

    The North West Way - Steve Garrill

    We interviewed author of The North West Way, Steve Garrill to discover more about this wonderful route and why you should give it a go!

    What is the North West Way? 

    The North West Way is a long-distance path linking Preston and Carlisle railway stations, utilising a combination of existing paths, it was designed to include some of the most scenic and inspiring walking in the north of England.

    North West Way Route

    How long does it take to complete the route​?

    It was written to be completed in 13 days but Brigantes offer itineraries to complete it in anything between 9 and 23 days.

    How hard is it?

    Designed to be doable by anyone of average fitness.  

    By using existing public rights of way, the route is well maintained because it is regularly checked by the author and rangers.

    North West Way landscape

    How easy is it to access the route on public transport?

    The route both starts and finishes at mainline railway stations.  

    The first four days could be completed as day walks using public transport with the remainder in chunks.  

    Like all long distance walks it is the opinion of the author (shared by Alfred Wainwright!) that a walk is best completed in one go.

    Where can I stay on the north west way?

    Details of B&B, pub and farmhouse accommodation are included in the book.

    All have been tested by the author (as have all tearooms and pubs en route!)

    Can I get my bags carried or my accommodation booked?

    Brigantes have a huge amount of experience in this field and have a specific page on their website for the North West Way here.  

    What would people be surprised to learn about the north west way?

    Possibly the sheer amount of history along the route, that along with the fact that every day offers a different type of walking.  

    I didn’t get into walking until I was 40 when my GP told me I would be in a wheelchair within 5 years.

    Having got the bug I completed most of the long distance walks in the north of Britain but was never fully satisfied with most of the routes or, in some instances, the quality of the book accompanying the route – hence the North West Way was born.

    What are your personal favourite highlights of the route?​​​​

    Almost impossible to answer that one!  

    Hawes to Keld is beautiful, Baldersdale to Langdon Beck offers fantastic big sky walking, I love the sense of remoteness on the Langdon Beck to Dufton section along the Tees (that is the photo on the front cover of the book).  

    Every day is gorgeous!

    As a trained history teacher, what is your favourite historical highlight?

    Great little Roman museum at Ribchester, Dales Countryside museum at Hawes, lots of Roman history on the last 2 days, great churches. Again hard to choose, but I could spend hours in The Hub transport museum at Alston.

    North West Way 5

    What sets this long-distance route apart from the others?

    The sheer diversity of the types of walking and scenery plus the amount of history and points of interest. As a book a huge amount of work went into checking the detail and simplicity and accuracy of the instructions.

    and finally, What key advice would you offer to anyone thinking of completing the North West Way?

    Plan it well in advance, book your accommodation months in advance.  

    Make sure your boots (always Altberg from Whalley Warm and Dry for me!) are really well worn in.

    Don’t carry too much and make sure your rucksack is correctly adjusted.

    There is a section at the front of the book on planning and kit recommendation.

    Hopefully this has answered your questions and inspired you to walk the North West Way, if so we have signed copies of The North West Way available in store.

    Do you have more questions? Please ask them below!

  • Free socks for Father’s!

    To celebrate Father's Day, we are offering Father's a chance to get a FREE pair of walking socks when purchasing footwear.

    All you have to do is book an appointment for our multi-award-winning Specialist Boot Fitting & Customisation Service by Father's Day evening and quote the code 'FATHER'.

    The fitting can take place anytime in the next 4 months, so you get to choose a time that’s convenient for you!

    Booking an appointment couldn't be easier! Click on the button below or give us a call on 01254 822220 and we will be more than happy to make an appointment for you!

    Terms & Conditions

    • Father’s get a free pair of socks when purchasing footwear following a Specialist Boot Fitting appointment
    • All appointments must be requested by Sunday 16th June 2019 at 23:59 and quote the code ‘FATHER’
    • All appointments must take place by Sunday 20th October 2019 and during normal shop opening times
    • A ‘Free Socks’ voucher will be included in the appointment confirmation email. This voucher must be presented to the fitter during the fitting or at the end of the fitting when purchasing the footwear.
    • One pair of free socks per Father
    • This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer
    • This offer is available whilst stocks last
    • We reserve the right to amend or withdraw this promotion at any time
  • A Lap of Lancashire

    We had the pleasure of meeting and fitting walking boots for Blackburn Rovers Community Trust's deputy CEO David Dunwell, who set off today on a 120 mile trip around Lancashire in aid of men's mental health.

    From Monday 3rd June to Friday 7th June, David will be walking across the county visiting much-loved football clubs along the way in the hope the football community will back the cause.

    From start to finish, David will be completing this challenge (including camping every night) on his own to raise awareness concerning the social isolation and feelings of loneliness that so often accompanies mental health issues. 

    Inspired by his efforts to raise awareness and money for such a worthy cause, we wanted to find out more. We asked David how he has been preparing for the challenge, if he's picked up any walking tips, what he hopes to achieve and more. 

    What inspired you to do A Lap of Lancashire?

    First and foremost I felt there was more provision needed to support middle-aged men at high-risk or currently suffering from mental health issues. Some of the statistics around suicide in men are crazy and I feel there needs to be more done to improve the current situation and challenge the status-quo.

    In my current role I spend a lot of time completing funding bids to support new projects, but on this occasion I felt that I could generate some good awareness whilst raising money and the idea just stemmed from there.

    I’m not a cyclist or a runner but I do love the outdoors and walking and it’s one of the things in my life that helps me de-stress, so that mixed with my football background led me to this challenge in particular!

    I know it’s going to be really tough but I am hopeful that the money raised will really change some lives.

    How have you been preparing for the lap of lancashire?

    Walking, walking and more walking.

    I’ve been trying to get as many miles in as possible but it has proved difficult having a demanding job and an even more demanding little boy.

    In the 52 days running up to the walk I have planned to try and cover 500 training miles and I am pretty much on track to do so. Where I’ve not been able to do as many miles I’ve been trying to carry a bit of extra weight in my back pack.

    I’ve been learning how to take care of my body to ensure I can cover the mileage and the new boots have definitely helped my feet!

    The dog has been loving how much he’s been out and about exploring beautiful rural Lancashire!

    What do you envisage being the most challenging aspect?

    It has been tough getting the sponsorships in to try and reach my funding goal but something that has been overcome with a bit of time committed.

    I think there is a difficulty in the fact it will be quite a lonely experience, which is purposeful to replicate the social isolation people struggling with mental health face.

    I think the toughest part will simply be covering the miles with the weight, particularly around the hilly areas. Some days I will be covering up to 30 miles with a roughly 10kg load which is a lot of time on my feet and pressure on my leg/back muscles.

    Have you picked up any walking tips?

    I’ve definitely picked bits up and also learnt a lot from trial and error.

    Learning how to make sure my body doesn’t get to sore or rub or managing my kit in different weathers (and I’ve seen them all during this training period!). I actually found the experience of getting my boots fitted fascinating and learning about how wrongly fitting shoes can make such a difference!

    I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more as I stumble through the real thing!

    Lap of Lancashire Fitting

    What do you hope to achieve?

    Most importantly I hope to raise awareness of mental health, particularly for middle-aged men.

    Secondly, I’d like to raise at least £2,000 to kick-start a new regularly attended project (hopefully more!) to be hosted at Ewood Park and give the opportunity for like-minded men to ‘chew the phat’ and socialise to de-stress and improve their mental health.

    How can people donate to the cause?

    They can visit my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/David-Dunwell or if they’d like to get in touch they can do so on David.dunwell@brfctrust.co.uk or 01254 508133.

  • Forest Bathing

    The name may conjure up some unusual images in your mind but Forest bathing does not require you to wear a swimming suit, unless you fancy it!  

    The only requirement for Forest bathing is to spend time in a forest, wood or park. By reconnecting with nature in this way you can reap the physical and mental benefits.

    What is forest bathing?

    The term Forest Bathing comes from the literal translation of the Japanese term Shinrin Yoku, Shinrin means “forest” and Yoku translates to“Bath”. In practise it means to spend time in a forest or woodland and to be mindful of all the sights, sounds and smells of nature. 

    Forest bathing is taken very seriously in Japan. In the 1980’s the Japanese government conducted scientific studies into the physical and mental health benefits of spending time in forests. The positive results of this research led to the Japanese government introducing Forest bathing as a national health programme and it is now considered an integral part of preventive health care in Japanese medicine. 

    Whilst the term Forest Bathing may sound like a new craze here in the UK, the principles behind it are not. The practice of prescribing time in nature for the betterment of health predates the research supporting it. Since the 1600’s, people suffering from nervousness or somatic illnesses were offered the opportunity to spend time in a natural environment to help improve their condition. Even the Ancient Romans realised that contact with nature helps people to cope with urban noise and congestion.

    With the increasing amount of time spent indoors, in urban environments and distracted by electronic devices, Forest bathing represents a welcome return to the outdoors and an opportunity to reconnect with nature.

    Image courtesy of Andy Pritchard

    What are the health benefits?

    A growing number of studies have found positive associations with spending time in green spaces, such as forests and a host of physical and mental health benefits, these include;

    • Reduced levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress.
    • Reduced risk of health problems attributable to chronic stress
    • Decrease subjective stress and negative emotions such as depression, fatigue, general anxiety, uncertainty and tension
    • Improve mood and attention
    • Strengthening of the immune system through contact with nature
    • Lower blood pressure and pulse rate
    • Positive changes in cardiovascular risk factors as a result of stress recovery
    • Reduced exposure to noise and air pollution

    "In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks"

    John Muir

    Why is forest bathing good for you?

    We all have our own reasons for why spending time in nature help us to deal with the daily stressors in our lives and make us feel better but scientists have sought to delve deeper into understanding why this might be.

    When analysing the research in this field, scientists discovered that much of the literature on forest bathing and it’s positive effect on wellbeing can be explained by plant chemicals known as phytoncides.

    It is believed that when we walk through forests, we are exposed to phytoncides (natural oils) released by the trees. These natural oils are part of the plant’s defence system against bacteria, insects and fungi. According to Japanese medical doctor and researcher Qing Li, breathing in these substances can have measurable health benefits for humans. Walking in forests with evergreen trees such as pine, spruce and conifers would seem to be the most beneficial as these trees produce the largest amount of phytoncides.

    Two theories that focus more on the psychological processes underlying the benefits of spending time in nature are Stress Reduction Theory (SRT) by Roger Ulrich and Attention Restoration Theory (ART) by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan.

    According to SRT, spending time in natural environments helps with restoration and recovery from stress. Looking at natural elements or being in an unthreatening natural environment activates positive emotions and feelings such as interest and calm which in turn decreases feelings of stress and reduces elevated physiological responses such as heart rate and blood pressure.

    Attention Restoration Theory also believes spending time in nature has a restorative effect by helping to clear your mind, focus your attention and facilitate reflection. According to research the process of reflection whereby one “takes stock” of life is considered crucial for resilience in times of adversity.

    Whilst there has been a lot of research which supports the health benefits of forest bathing, the precise mechanisms are yet to be fully understood and more research is required to improve our understanding.

    How do I practice forest bathing?

    The great news is Forest bathing is easy, anyone can do it.

    Put simply, Forest bathing is spending time in a forest, wood or park.

    You don’t have to hug the trees, unless you want to of course, then by all means go ahead!

    The aim is to slow down, take your time and reconnect with the sights, sounds and smells of nature.

    Choosing a quieter time of day to visit a natural environment can really help to encourage a sense of relaxation and calm.

    Whilst the recommended time of two hours for a forest bathing session may seem unachievable for some, it is possible to make a difference to your sense of wellbeing after a shorter period of time.

    You could easily incorporate Forest bathing whilst out on a walk by going a little slower through areas of woodland or forest and taking in your surroundings along the way.

    No forests nearby? No problem! Whilst going to a forest has the strongest beneficial effects, you can practice Forest bathing in any green area such as an urban park. Research conducted by Yoshifumi Miyazaki, a professor at Chiba University and author of a book "Shinrin-yoku: The Japanese Way of Forest Bathing for Health and Relaxation" has found that similar beneficial effects can even by achieved by keeping indoor plants on your desk at work.

    Give Forest bathing a go and see how you feel afterwards!

    Resources

    The National Trust has a page on their website dedicated to Forest bathing, with suggestions on forests to visit - https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/a-beginners-guide-to-forest-bathing

    Forestry England have teamed up with Kate Humble (as shown in the video above) to promote how the nation’s forests can benefit you - https://www.forestryengland.uk/wellbeing

    Lots of useful information about the health benefits of forests - https://foresteurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Forest_book_final_WEBpdf.pdf

    Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr Qing Li

    Shinrin-yoku: The Japanese Way of Forest Bathing for Health and Relaxation by Yoshifumi Miyazaki


     

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