Ralph has been a WALX Guide for WALX Derwent and Dales since November 2018, having been introduced to Nordic Walking with Sam in March earlier that year.
Initially a Primary School Teacher by profession, he chose to take a period out of teaching through a 5-year Short Service Commission in the Royal Marines, which subsequently extended to a Full Career Commission lasting 28 years, having specialised as a helicopter pilot although a lower spine operation in 1980 had ended the flying aspects of his career; there was to be no return to the classroom.
With such an active profession, he not surprisingly maintained his fitness throughout his years of service, but subsequently found this less easy on retirement from the Corps, leading to an increase in weight which was not helped by the need for medical procedures, firstly for bowel cancer and later for the replacement of both arthritic hips.
Having been brought up very much in the outdoor environment through hiking and birdwatching with his father, Nordic Walking has enabled him to return to these country pleasures, hopefully to the ornithological benefit of his fellow walkers, whilst at the same time leading to a reduction in weight and a return of much of his lost fitness and stamina. Whilst he has had to accept some limitations in speed and uphill capabilities following his back and hip operations, this has enabled him to concentrate more on the Wellbeing aspects of Nordic Walking which he thoroughly enjoys, along the social side of Nordic Walking in general. “Where would I be now without Nordic Walking in my life? I hate to think!”