STRESSED-OUT Scots are being urged to get their walking boots on and take to the great outdoors to combat winter anxiety.

Charity Ramblers released survey results showing more than half of those who ever feel stressed reported they had gone for a walk, either by themselves or with a pal, in nature to help them deal with feelings of stress.

More than 90per cent also agreed that walking in nature or green spaces helps them to relax or unwind.

The statistics were released ahead of the Festival of Winter Walks, where Ramblers Scotland’s 54 walking groups prepare to give everyone a chance to enjoy a winter walk in good company, with volunteers hosting more than 80 group walks which anyone can take part in for free.

Brendan Paddy, Ramblers Scotland director, said: “During the festive season, many people can feel overwhelmed, stressed, isolated or disconnected from the outside world.

“But as our survey results show, more and more of us are discovering the health and wellbeing benefits of getting off the sofa, getting out and walking, and reconnecting with nature to lift our mood.

“Whether or not you’re already a Ramblers member or an experienced walker, we’re really looking forward to welcoming you on a Ramblers Festival of Winter Walks group walk.”

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven walkers can find information on the walks as follows: The Dougnut and Lang Crags walk will take place on Saturday, February 8 with a meet time of 8.30 and a start time of 9.30 and will cover 5.6 miles over track paths and open ground. The Hill of Standing Stones walk will begin at 10am with a meet time of 9.30am on Sunday, 26 January and will also cover 5.6 miles of gradual path climb and forest track before a very short but fairly steep climb to path through forest.

Further walks will take place in Balloch on December 28 and February 6.

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