A walk in the park is as good as a run to keep members fit

Walking rugby classes are staged at Linlithgow Rugby Club
Walking rugby classes are staged at Linlithgow Rugby Club

Sports involving walking as opposed to running are becoming ever more popular with people who may not be as fit as they once were.

Walking football has already seen a huge intake of mature men signing up right across Scotland.

But Scotland’s other major sport, rugby, has been a bit slow on the uptake ... up until now that is!

With its reputation for broken bones, cauliflower ears and team drinking sessions, the prospect of taking up rugby might not seem the most relaxing option for retirement.

But the recently launched Memories Club at Linlithgow Rugby Club is aiming to start up regular sessions, enabling rugby enthusiasts to still enjoy the sport, minus the rough and tumble of the traditional game.

A pilot session was held last month at the Mains Road club and it proved so popular, the organisers have now launched monthly sessions which started this week.

As the name suggests, running is forbidden as is passing the ball higher than shoulder height.

There are also no high tackles – or, indeed, any tackles – and, crucially, no scrums, rucks or mauls.

Instead players are tagged and once an opponent grabs hold of one of the two tags each player wears around their waist, they are out of the game untl it is re-attached. This in turn allows the oppositition to gain an advantage and score.

There are no goalposts either –players score a try by walking over the line carrying the ball.

While there are a number of walking rugby clubs in England, Scotland lags behind with only a couple in the Borders.

Linlithgow is the first to launch the sport in the Lothians.

It was set up and organised by Bert Lawson, who also co-ordinates the Memories Club.

Its aim is to get Linlithgow Rugby Club former players and committee members to meet on a monthly basis to talk about the past, take part in rugby-related quizzes and listen to invited guest speakers.

This month’s speaker on Monday, September 25, is former Scotland internationalist and ex-SRU president Alan Lawson.

Bert, a former LRFC president, said: “The Memories Club was launched in April and we currently have around 25 members.

“At one of the meetings, members discussed ways to keep fit. A number of good suggestions were made but we went with walking rugby.”

While the Memories Club and walking rugby are both still in their infancy, Bert is hoping that the numbers will increase.

He said: “There are people out there who were associated with the club in past years who we have lost contact with.

“We hope that if they read this it might bring them back to the club.

“Walking rugby is aimed at the over 65s with the majority of those who attend in their 70s, although there is one in his 80s!”

The group is primarily aimed at those with connections to Linlithgow Rugby Club.

However, Bert (below)said anyone who wants to go along to try a session would be made most welcome.

He added: “All we say to those wishing to try it is that it’s not as energetic as you think. Try it and if you are not sure, don’t come back!”

For more information on the Memories Club and walking rugby email Bert at bert.lawson21@gmail.com.