In these pretty dark times, I can finally share the ‘bright’ news I’ve been sitting on for weeks – I’m donning my finest orange to join the ranks of Ordnance Survey’s amazing Get Outside Champions!
I’m proud and privileged to be one of 100 champions enlisted by Ordnance Survey to help people explore outdoors happily and safely. Regular reader(s) of my blog know that I’m rather partial to 50 shades of blue when it comes to my clothing, but the future of my outdoor kit’s looking bright as I step into my new role!
It’s not quite the launch we were planning, with our communities looking very different as coronavirus keeps us all a lot closer to home than usual. While we remain absolutely passionate about the outdoors, we all need to ‘get outside’ in a very different way for the time being, which could involve spending more time in your garden or exploring routes from your doorstep that you may not have noticed before.
I’m very blessed to have a quiet footpath leading straight from my back gate to the trig at the top of our local little hill, where I can walk Lionel once a day (and, distinctly less than once a day, my teens) without seeing another soul. I’m also enjoying my own back yard and getting lots of inspiration from my fellow Get Outside champs and the amazing people I follow on social media on how to stay fit, healthy and motivated at home.
In the strangest month I’ve ever known and amid a great deal of anxiety, it’s a relief to finally share the news! I find out I’m part of the team on a supposed walking weekend in the Cambrian Mountains; I say ‘supposed’ because Storm Dennis is swirling ferociously up the Doethie Valley and there’s not a lot of walking going on (although the log fire in the Ty’n Cornel hostel is roaring along nicely, which is quite apt as the first rule of getting outside safely is always: ‘Be prepared to turn back in the face of improbably-named storms’).
We do manage a brief foray along an old drovers’ track, where I try to put my hand through my waterproof trousers pocket into my proper trousers pocket, but the pocket’s facing the wrong way. “I think I’ve put my waterproofs on back to front,” I say to my walking companion, suspecting, not for the first time, that the confirmation of champion status has been delivered to the wrong person.
This is shortly before I decide it’s time for some trail mix, all too late remembering that said mix has been mixed in a paper bag – which is now a soggy, chocolatey, nutty pulp in a jacket pocket I forgot to zip up. “I thought you said you’ve done this before,” says my companion, just as I slip perilously in the mud.
So although more of an imposter than an influencer – especially lined up alongside the other 99 awesome champions – I’m looking forward to helping people make some positive changes while keeping their community safe, in these difficult days and beyond.
Being outside in nature has the most wonderful, calming impact on our mental health and wellbeing. You don’t have to go far, you just have to go. So start getting outside, and may you never be afraid to turn back, eat soggy trail mix or wear your waterproofs the wrong way round, whether in our glorious countryside or in your own back yard. Stay safe, stay local and stay happy in our Great Outdoors! x