River Carron group on a journey – the challenge is join it

Stenhousemuir primary's i-bike event. Picture: Michael Gillen
Stenhousemuir primary's i-bike event. Picture: Michael Gillen

Could you take up a challenge that will make getting to and from work a whole lot greener and healthier?

Wherever you’re going, CATCA’s Journey Challenge wants you to leave the car at home and walk, cycle, use public transport or car share.

CATCA – Communities Along the Carron Association – would particularly like workplaces to get involved, so why not persuade your colleagues?

You could even decide to work from home to reduce your journeys – it all counts.

It is all part of a bid to cut emissions and reduce congestion.

Everyone is welcome to join and there are prizes in store for the workplace that makes the biggest impact.

A volunteer group CATCA – which ran the challenge for the first time last year – is committed to the regeneration of the River Carron and its environs.

So it is hoped those signing up will take advantage of the fabulous paths that are part of a network across the district.

Running throughout March, there is a dedicated challenge website which allows you to log all the journeys you’ve taken without the car. For those who choose to walk or cycle, it’s also an opportunity to clock up the calories burned along the way.

Christine Bell, of CATCA, believes it’s a challenge many will be happy to have taken up.

“What with traffic lights and roadworks, sometimes it’s actually quicker to get across the district by bike than it is by car!” she said.

“Hopefully, it will also improve their health.

“And we’re really hoping to get a bit of inter-business competition going!”

CATCA has been working hard to restore and promote the path network; this latest challenge is just part of that.

Last year’s opening of the Dorrator Bridge was described by Christine as “the last link in the chain”, completing as it does the 10km loop from Larbert right down to the Helix.

The challenge is part of a year-long project, running in conjunction with SUSTRANS, and administered by Keep Scotland Beautiful, which aims to make lasting changes and get people to move away from one-person car journeys.

CalaChem employees have already signed up. While the business may appear to be in the heart of industrial Grangemouth, it is in fact just a short distance from the Helix.

CalaChem’s Derek Brown said: “By joining the CATCA Journey Challenge, personnel from site can improve their own health and fitness while benefiting the environment.

“We’ve been running health promotions on site over the last three years to measure and monitor general health and in 2015 we ran a series of nutritional therapist sessions to provide information on the benefits of healthy eating.

“This challenge fits well with those promotions and personnel also have the chance of winning good prizes while taking part.”

You may have spotted billboards and posters for the CATCA journey challenge. These were paid for by the Climate Challenge Fund, a government agency that aims to encourage projects making a difference in communities.

The fund also paid for a successful project in the Larbert High School cluster.

It provided an I Bike officer, who has been working with youngsters for the past year, encouraging pupils to make the journey to school by bike.

Many pupils embraced the scheme and Christine hopes adults will now rise to their own challenge.

Last year’s challenge, held in September, saw 152 registered participants logging 2675 journeys and saving 4291.12kg CO2.

If you want to join in and make this year’s challenge even better visit https://catca.getmeactive.org.uk.

What does the Challenge hope to achieve?

It is trying to raise awareness of the benefits of sustainable transportation to your health, your budget and our environment. 
By choosing to run or cycle, or choosing public transport or a teleconference instead of travel, you will save time, money, reduce carbon emissions and congestion as well as boost your energy and burn calories! 
The challenge will also save businesses money and is proven to reduce absence by 2.4 days per year!

Which journeys count?

Any journey where you’re travelling more sustainably counts! This could be for your commute, journeys to meetings or between offices, or leisure journeys such as going to the shops, a night out or just for a stroll. Sustainable transport modes include walking, cycling, using public transport, skating and car sharing. 
If you work from home or join a teleconference instead of travelling to a meeting, this will count too!

Do I have to be part of a team to take part?

No. You can take part as an individual, as well as part of a organisation, team or department.

The Challenge has already started. Can I still join?

Absolutely! You can sign up anytime in March.

Where do I sign up?

Visit https://catca.getmeactive.org.uk (Map of path network used courtesy of Falkirk Council.)