According to Visit Britain’s own figures, 51% of us now expect to spend more time outdoors than we did pre-pandemic. Undoubtedly this is a collossal and positive shift in our national psyche. But is the outdoors for everyone, and what’s behind this shift?
Teenage kicks in the New Forest
First stop, the New Forest where I found myself nannying teenagers from a safe distance in a coastal campsite near the beautiful town of Lymington. Here the salt marshes were alive with herons, plovers and geese. Exceptional sun rises inspired our walks & rides of discovery following the quiet roads and extensive bridleways that pop-out of the New Forest 40k SplashMap.
SUP boarding is conspicuously more popular this year, and with your elevation above the water, it’s a perfect way to (almost) silently observe the magic of nature on the wing.
90’s rock , prototypes and friends in the Lake District
The Keswick Mountain Festival was the ideal excuse to enter a challenge, test our latest on the outdoor loving public and make new friends. Our team of 3 tested our GPS SplashMap to the unexpected delight of participants.
The events attracted have-a-go first timers and grizzled fell-running veterans. The location was easy to access for visitors from their B&B’s campsites and the more regularly visiting members of the Camping and Caravanning Club at the bottom of the rise.
Our eTextile map literally answers the question ‘what is my location now?’. It wowed everyone as folks realised you don’t need a gadget to benefit from GPS. We’d love your opinion on e-SplashMaps and would love to give you £5 for your trouble!
Inclusion, industry and slow ways in the Peak District
And so to the Western Peak District for a bike ride and run around Shrigley Hall as part of the Outdoor Industry Association AGM. The fabulous grounds and elevated views toward Manchester were inspiration for the brands and beneficiaries of this growing outdoors market.
At the OIA, they’re no slouches! Despite being an entirely voluntary association I have seldom seen lobbying and representation so passionately led.
We have the leadership of the OIA to thank for NOT being trapped inside as much of Europe were last year. Their tireless work assured Boris included “outdoor exercise” as a justifiable reason to be outside. Remember how exercise from your doorstep was possible even at the peak of the pandemic?
From academia, industry and estate management experts we learnt;
- to reduce our industry’s climatic impact through regenerative agriculture and zero emission products
- of the inclusivity fostered at the Peak District National Park through programmes like the “miles without stiles“
- how to embrace diversity and stand strong against the detractors of our efforts and
- to assure that no waste from the outdoor industry be consigned to landfill by 2030.
All laudible practices that need the collective focus and carful guidance from this industry body.
Slow ways to make a difference
So many initiatives encouraged us to go further on foot during lock-down. So it was great to meet the Ramblers and their ‘Don’t lose your way‘ campaign to claim historical rights of way.
Guerrilla Geographer Daniel Raven-Ellison, mastermind behind the project “Slow ways“, aims to join communities at a walking pace. Over 14 000 kms of pathways have already been identified, joining habitations throughout the country. Now he’s looking for people to rate each one. Got a spare couple of hours? Enjoy your place and do your local one here.