By: Blonde Two

Have you got plans to get outside this weekend? Perhaps you’re off running, walking, outdoor swimming, or even getting in a bit of wild camping (I’ve just had my first wild camp for 2022).

Whatever it is you’re doing, have fun and stay safe!

The National Outdoor Expo – 19th and 20th March

This weekend’s going to be a slightly different one for me. For once I’m not going to be outside. I’m going to be meeting, greeting, and generally wandering around at the NEC in Birmingham, playing my part in the National Outdoor Expo 2022.

As it turns out, I have many parts to play so you might find me acting as an National Outdoor Expo ambassador (black bobble hat), running demos on the Ordnance Survey stand (orange t-shirt) or helping the fabulous team at The Outdoor Guide (plain clothes). Whatever I’m wearing, do please feel free to come and say ‘hello’.

One thing you might notice when we meet is that I’m not Blonde anymore. I’ve embraced the grey and am these days more of a silver tone. Don’t worry though, the Blondeness is still there underneath.

If you don’t believe me, take a close look at the photo above. Only a Blonde could pose in a dripping wet swimsuit after a chilly February swim for a publicity photo… With her bobble hat inside out!!!

National Outdoor Expo 2022 Exhibitors

When (if) I do get a bit of time to myself at the National Outdoor Expo, my plan is to meet as many of the exhibitors as possible, and get a good look at all the exciting gear and innovations that are going to be on show.

Below are a few of the exhibitor stands on my ‘hope-to-visit’ list (and some of the outdoor gear I’d really like to try). I’ll be focusing on gear to support my existing activities but I’m also really keen to meet brands that are making consistent efforts towards sustainability.

Helinox – the Chair Two for high-backed van life comfort

Above Below – to extend my wild camping into swim adventures

Biolite – because a wood stove that can charge your phone has to be worth investigating

Bridgedale – because I haven’t yet managed to outwalk a pair of Bridgedale socks!

Cotopaxi – because of their ‘gear for good’ approach (I already have one small item)

Firepot and Wayfayrer – because I have a lot (and I mean a lot) of camping coming up!


Related post: Alternatives to wild camping on Dartmoor

Flapjackery – just because they’re based on Dartmoor!

LayBakPak – because the idea of a backpack that’s also a bed is just fascinating!

Mink Campers – because I would love to sleep in one of those!

Runderwear – because chafing just isn’t funny

Rubbastuff – because everybody loves a picnic

As you can see, that’s quite a list. But I feel I’m the girl for the job.

Best pack my most comfortable shoes, I’m going to be running to get round all that lot!

Walking home – the Worcester and Birmingham Canal

I have to put in a special mention here (and will definitely be visiting) the Canal and River Trust who look after 2,000 miles of waterways, many of which make wonderful walking routes.

I’m keen to chat with these guys because, instead of hopping back on the train to Devon after the Expo, I have a cunning active travel plan.

I’m going to walk home!

Not back to Devon you understand, that would be too far (this time) but I am planning to walk from Birmingham to Worcester (where I was born) along the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.

It’s around 30-miles. Not quite a long distance walk but I’m looking forward to it.

I’ll be walking from Gas Street Basin in Birmingham to Diglis Basin in Worcester. On the way I’ll pass waterways made of chocolate at Cadbury World, the longest lock flight in the country, and a stained glass window and lectern created by one of my female ancestors at Tardebigge.

I’ll definitely be happy to accept a boat ride if anyone’s available!


The Stover Canal

On the topic of trouser pockets.