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Highland Council Step Challenge Winners

13th July 2017

Photograph of Highland Council Step Challenge Winners

Teams from The Highland Council have been walking back to happiness and feeling the benefits of more active lifestyles following completion of the summer Step Count Challenge, run by Paths for All. The 8 week challenge, which attracted 968 teams of 5 from across Scotland started in May and finished on 25 June 2017.

24 teams from various Council services across the region took part and were regularly updated as to how well they were doing compared to rivals, whilst also participating in internal challenges. The challenge was supported by Directors and Senior Management throughout the organisation.

Derek Yule, The Council's Director of Finance took part as a member of the Blazing Sandals team and achieved 821,047 steps over the 8 weeks He said: "Being part of a team in the step count challenge incentivised me to get out for a walk whenever I could and it was amazing to see how my step count increased over the course of the challenge. It certainly made a major difference to my overall fitness and the added bonus was I lost weight. It was fantastic to see the level of uptake of this challenge by Highland Council staff and the positive outcomes it is having on health and wellbeing throughout the organisation."

In total, Council teams walked the equivalent of 35,577 miles over the 8 week challenge, which is the same as walking completely around the Earth once and then onto Melbourne in Australia!

When compared to the summer challenge in 2016, Council teams walked an average of 662,500 steps per person over the course of 8 weeks, which is approximate double the average of last year. Many individuals walked over 1 million steps, which is the equivalent of almost 18,000 steps per day.

Gena Falconer, Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Manager at The Highland Council said: "I have been very impressed with the number of teams who participated in the step count challenge, and that the friendly competition between teams has led to an overall increase in steps. This is really encouraging in helping the Council move towards a more healthy, active workforce whilst promoting teamwork and camaraderie amongst staff."

The Council's top team - Fallen Arches based at Osprey House in Alness made the top 40 teams in the UK, with a team effort of 5,421,536 steps. Team Captain Marsela McLeod said: "For each challenge we have a virtual goal and this summer it was to visit all the whisky distilleries in Scotland, marking our daily progress on a large map. We reached this with time to spare so added the North Coast 500; a grand total of 2,500 miles. We are all quietly competitive and tried to stay in the top 30 each week; the regular Highland Council updates really spurred us on."

She added: "Although the team was already active we upped our step count by cycling to and from work, walking as an office group at lunchtime, climbing Munros and taking long walks at weekends."

Another successful team in the challenge was DCARB, based in the Development and Infrastructure service at Glenurquhart Road. Team captain Caris Pittendreigh summed up her team's challenge:

“The Challenge started off on a high with lots of sunny weather and longer nights - Drew was clocking up the steps on the golf course and Brian out for long walks at lunch and in the evenings, so we were flying ahead with our step count. Robin and Alithea did really well getting extra steps when they could and boosted us ahead of other teams. It was really encouraging seeing the Leaderboard and knowing we were in the top 100 for most of the Challenge. I think with it being the run up to summer, everyone was in the spirit to get outside more and get a bit healthier!

She added: “A bit of gloom slowed us down over a few weeks where it was rainy, we all have families and social lives, and work was busy - you can't always get out and about in the mornings/at lunch and after a busy day the last thing you want to do is hit the gym! In our case it was definitely a case of ‘every step counts’, and each individual team members’ steps made a difference. Overall the challenge was a great push to get outside and be a little less lazy, and a bit of office rivalry is always an incentive! “ (DCARB team rules have been included at the end of the article.)

The Autumn step challenge starts on 30 October for 4 weeks, and is open to teams from across the country.


Fallen Arches

Alness (Osprey House)



Manic Street Steppers

HQ (Finance)




HQ (D&I)



Skipping In

Central Primary School



Ten To Steppers

Inverness Town House



Warburton's Wanderers

HQ (European Team, D&I)



The Easy Striders




Walk the Walk

Caithness House, Wick



Klaasy Lassies

Dingwall (Ross House)



Road Ramblers

The highland council



Living the dream

Nairn Community Base



No Hopers

HQ (Finance)



The Green Team

HQ (Environment Team, D&I)







Mairi's Mile Munchers

HQ (Finance)



skipping out

Central primary school



Sole Sisterz

Dochfour (H,S&W)



Blazing Sandals








Team Dave Moreton




Kinmylies Knock-outs




Murisons Minions




Muffin Tops no more!

Wick (Finance)



Ross Ramblers

Highland Council



Pictured are the top Council team - Fallen Arches - Donnie Louttit, Rory Waugh, Ken Wiseman, Alasdair Donnelly and Marsela McLeod who all work in the Structures Section in the Project Design Unit based at Alness Point.


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