trail walkers

The group started in 2011, originally to train for a walking excursion in the Camino de Santiago network of walking paths in Europe, and now boasts over 30 members from across the Island. Back row, from left, are Helen Smith, Kathy DelGaudio, Karen Lavoie, Dino DelGaudio, Lise Buote, Debbie Murphy, Pat Langhorne, Bernie Doiron, Debbie MacDonald and Frazer Smith. Front: Helen Buote, Charlene Duffy, Pat Power, Carol Anne Duffy, Carlene Peters and Beryl Doiron.

David MacDonald photo

The Island Tramps walking group has kept a low profile since forming in 2011. Even so, you can’t miss the bright orange t-shirts some members sport as they make their weekly Wednesday morning trek along one of the many scenic routes across the province.

The group was recently spotted walking over the red clay of the County Line Road, as part of their 11.9-kilometre walk that included the Dalmaney, MacRae and South Montague Roads. There are roughly 30 members in the group, many based in the Charlottetown and Stratford areas.

Carlene Peters of Rusticoville, one of the original members of the group, explained the group started after one of their friends “really talked up” the Camino de Santiago, a network of walking paths in western Europe leading to the shrine of Saint Peter, and a major tourist attraction there. The group of friends decided to train for a future ‘pilgrimage’ and, in 2013, a group of eight calling themselves the Wandering Soles took part.

“We walked 850 kilometres in 35 consecutive days,” Ms Peters said. “It was an absolutely wonderful experience.”

Since then, members have trained for events in England and Tuscany, Italy. But, most of the time, the crew gets together every Wednesday morning in a different area of the Island. And at one point, they changed their name to the Island Tramps.

“We tramp around the Island, and we tramp on each other as a joke,” Ms Peters said, describing the good-natured teasing that takes place when the gang gets together.

Their chosen routes are sourced from a book of maps compiled by Frazer Smith, a member of the group and a retired engineer. The book contains over 200 detailed maps with information on distance, route numbers, and whether the road is paved or gravel. They even state the elevation gain, the amount of uphill on the walk and the hill index, the elevation gain divided by the route distance. The maps can be found at https://www.sites.google.com/site/peislandtramps/

Ms Peters, 68, says the walking group is a great way to remain active in one’s later years.

“We’re all seniors, there’s no one under 55,” she said.

And while the group is fairly low-key, Ms Peters said anyone can join. A few new members, mostly friends of other members, have joined in the last couple of years.

“The thing I enjoy the most is the friendship, getting together with everyone who is walking,” Ms Peters said. “It’s just a social thing, but you’re getting exercise as well.”

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