Julia Buckley discovers how walking with a group can be such an enjoyable way to make friends and find love...
Sarah Wise and Sean Doel have lost count of the number of walks they’ve been on with London’s Metropolitan Walkers group, but the couple will never forget the outing that first brought them together.
“It was a sunny day in Hampshire in June 2009 and it was only my second walk with the group,” remembers 34-year-old Sarah.
It was very much a case of ‘he looks like someone I’d like to talk to, but oh, he’s disappeared’.” But on later walks, Sarah and Sean talked for hours.
The couple have both since admitted they took such a shine to each other that they started going out walking with the group as often as possible in the hope of bumping into each other.
Three months after that first meeting, the couple got together.
“I had a spare ticket to see a band and offered it to Sean,” says Sarah.
“It might have been our first date but for the fact that my friend had also come along and felt like a gooseberry all evening.” As well as finding love at the group, Sarah and Sean have formed firm friendships with many of their fellow members.
“I can’t recommend Met Walkers enough as a way to meet people – both friends and partners,” says Sean, aged 42.“Some of my closest friends are people I’ve met through the group and I’ve lost track of the number of couples there are now.We are going to two Met Walkers weddings this year alone.” Fifty Metropolitan Walkers went to Sean and Sarah’s own wedding in October, which was rather appropriately walking themed.The tables were named after English peaks they had climbed, and their wedding cake was crowned by a walking boot made of icing.The couple even had hen and stag walks where the girls went off in one direction and the boys in the other, meeting up at the end.“Walking is a great way to meet people,” says Sean.