By: Blonde Two
The team at Ordnance Survey and some of their Get Outside Champions worked very hard to get the UK’s first National Get Outside Day up and running/walking/swimming/cycling/exploring… and didn’t they do well! Pats on backs are deserved and, if you look back at social media comments, there are were a lot of very happy, very outdoors people enjoying the fresh air all over the UK last Sunday.
Did everybody enjoy National Get Outside Day?
Amongst all of the happy noise, we picked up only two negative comments about the day and would like to respond to both.
‘Surely every day should be Get Outside Day?’
Well of course! It is great for all of us to get outside for a bit of time each day. Both Blonde One and I really feel it if we don’t do so. There is nothing wrong however with getting together on one day to celebrate the outdoors and, more importantly, encourage other people to give it a go. We (hopefully by now) hear the ‘get outside’ message all of the time but sometimes we need (Blondes included) that little push to put the suggestion into action. What better push than a Get Outside day?
‘Stop being busybodies, I want to stay inside!’
Entirely up to you! However the first National Get Outside Day saw people with even the most tricky of circumstances sharing their outside messages with us. One lady was working night shifts but took the time to photograph the sunrise and her appreciation of even a couple of moments outside.
Why are some people reluctant to Get Outside?
It is important to remember that a lot of people in the UK feel the outdoor life is beyond their reach, knowledge and comfort zone. A study recently commissioned by Ordnance Survey revealed some of the reasons people don’t get outside as much as they might. The sad thing is that lots of these worries can be answered by a bit of education and experience, there are maybe a few questions that anyone promoting the outdoor lifestyle should be asking themselves in response to these worries,
‘I am worried about getting wet or cold’
Think about how you share your outdoor experiences… do you give tips on keeping warm and dry, how to kit yourself out on a budget or even what to look for in a weather forecast?
‘The travel distances to are too long’
As my and many other Get Outside Days revealed, you don’t have to be up a mountain, in a Dartmoor bog or on a beach to enjoy the outside. I was in Bristol that weekend so on Sunday we went for a bit of urban exploration and had a great time walking a fair distance and exploring all kinds of historical and natural spaces. I am not a city girl but I am beginning to realise that cities offer far more outdoor opportunities than I first thought. Are we outdoorists unwittingly portraying the outdoors as ‘elsewhere’ and ‘unaccessible’ rather than ‘nearby’ and ‘for everyone’?
‘I might get lost’
Yep! The chances are that someone setting off into the wilds without a map and compass and the skills to use them will end up getting lost if they do it enough times. There are two approaches to this, the first has to be to encourage those skills, the second to promote well way-marked paths and trails. Do we have the right balance between saying, ‘look what I have done’ and ‘you could do this too’?
‘I won’t have internet access’
There is no doubt that the internet, even in an outdoors situation, has benefits. Even without GPS and mapping technology, the ability to find out information about your location, be it the nearest pub, the history of the ruin you have just found or what the weather is about to do can be an advantage. According to Ordnance Survey’s research, 3 out of 10 people in the UK find it difficult to be without internet or phone signal for more than an hour. This is understandable but information about planning and how to deal with emergency situations can help to allay fears. Do we talk honestly and realistically about our own outdoor dependence on technology?
1 in 10 people in the UK say they never get outside
1 in 10 people in the UK feel that they can’t, for whatever reason, get outside. This has obvious ongoing implications for the both the health and natural environment of our nation. The message is clear about the mental and physical health benefits of the outdoors, what we who understand the message first hand need to do now is focus on encouraging and educating as well as enticing.
You have our permission to tell us if we are not doing this!