"It's easier to open up in nature": Derbyshire delivery driver launches Peak District pork pie club for men to walk and talk

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A Derbyshire delivery driver has launched a new club for men who want to get out into the Peak District and enjoy the benefits of walking and talking in the great outdoors.

UPS courier Steve Roberts, 45, decided to launch the Pork Pie Club after taking part in similar initiatives about 18 months ago, shortly after he moved to Matlock amid a challenging period in his personal life.

Steve said: “I was in a bit of a bad place following a break-up and joined a men’s group I found online, through which I spent a good few months taking walks and doing meditation.

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“Fast forward to now and I’m in a much better place with a fantastic new girlfriend and wanted to do something similar for other men.”

The first outing of the Pork Pie Club proved a great success on Sunday, July 7. (Photo: Steve Roberts)The first outing of the Pork Pie Club proved a great success on Sunday, July 7. (Photo: Steve Roberts)
The first outing of the Pork Pie Club proved a great success on Sunday, July 7. (Photo: Steve Roberts)

He added: “The walking and talking part of it really helped me but whereas that group had more of a spiritual focus, I realised the important thing for me was just being out in nature.

“I know a lot of men feel like that, whether it’s hiking or mountain climbing, and I just want to create a space where they can walk and talk.

“It doesn’t have to be for reasons of mental health, it may just be a way to make new friends and get out to socialise in a group.”

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After spreading the word in local Facebook groups, the first event on Sunday, July 9, saw a fellowship of nine walkers set out from Cromford Mills to Middleton Top and return along the canalside, and found they had much in common along the way.

Steve wants to share his own love of the outdoors with others so they can enjoy the benefits of time in nature too. (Photo: Contributed)Steve wants to share his own love of the outdoors with others so they can enjoy the benefits of time in nature too. (Photo: Contributed)
Steve wants to share his own love of the outdoors with others so they can enjoy the benefits of time in nature too. (Photo: Contributed)

Steve said: “It went really well. I knew a couple of guys beforehand but no one else knew each other. It was a good mix of ages from 20s to 60s, and all from different parts of Derbyshire.

“Even though I’m sure some were apprehensive about spending time with strangers, there was no awkwardness. I spoke to each of them as we were walking round and they all had different backgrounds and reasons for being there.

“For some reason it feels easier to open up when you’re walking in nature. There were some conversations about football, but others were about things people were struggling with, or have done in the past.

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“The feedback’s been really positive. When you finish any decent walk you feel a sense of clarity. It’s almost like the wind rushing through your mind and clearing the rubbish out.”

Those who joined the first expedition are already making plans for next month's walk. (Photo: Steve Roberts)Those who joined the first expedition are already making plans for next month's walk. (Photo: Steve Roberts)
Those who joined the first expedition are already making plans for next month's walk. (Photo: Steve Roberts)

After being battered intermittently by rain and sun, Steve says the highlight of the day was when they stopped to enjoy a snack of pork pies with mustard and chutney at Middleton.

He said: “The pork pie thing started as just a name. The idea came to me on a walk with two friends where we shared a pie for lunch.

“It’s a bit of fun and a talking point but I think the name helps catch people’s attention. Ginger Butchers in Bakewell sponsored the first walk with some pies, and Critchlows will be sponsoring the next one.”

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That walk will be taking place on Sunday, August 4, on a 6.2 mile route taking in Higger Tor and Stanage Edge. According to the club criteria, the terrain has been given a three pork-pie difficulty rating.

Steve is a big believer in the sense of clarity that comes after blowing away the cobwebs on a good walk. (Photo: Contributed)Steve is a big believer in the sense of clarity that comes after blowing away the cobwebs on a good walk. (Photo: Contributed)
Steve is a big believer in the sense of clarity that comes after blowing away the cobwebs on a good walk. (Photo: Contributed)

For full details and queries, go to facebook.com/groups/351351497690417.

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