Editorial: On Being Mud and Routes

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I was recently asked on an online chat that it must be great being able to Get Outside whenever we want as part of our role for Mud and Routes. The inquirer was a bit surprised when I replied, “wish I knew, I work 40 hours a week in a professional job before Mud and Routes even gets a look in”. While it would be awesome to literally be paid for being out there, Mud and Routes has never been that sort of project for any of those involved.

Mud and Routes is a lifestyle, not a business.

It does come as a surprise to those we tell – we don’t work full time on Mud and Routes. We don’t get paid. We do it, because we want to. We do it, because we just love being outside and sharing our experiences with others in the hope that it inspires someone. And if it doesn’t? *Shrug*.  We haven’t got a book to sell, or any other services to peddle (other than a few ad slots on Walk up Snowdon if you’re interested) – just as many free routes, articles and tutorials as you can read from a site that’s independent.

It can often be a fine line between inspiring people with the great outdoors and becoming a full part of the ‘look at me! Me! ME!’ circus on social media, which can be quite off-putting. Certainly, there are real extreme adventurers out there – look at our local Lowri Morgan and the incredible events she’s completed. They’re extreme and deserve the word Epic, not an art installation 100m from a main road.

Epic? Or a vapid gimmick?

That’s not us! We’d rather be making popcorn next to a lake than tackling a rainforest. We’re not wild camping every night, we’re always struggling to balance work, family and finding precious time to get outside. That’s both us at Mud and Routes and what we assume of our typical readership. If you’re a person of independent means who can get out there when they please (or one of our retired Mud and Routes walking buddies!) then we’ll admit to being incredibly jealous!

Though great as unfettered access to the outdoors would be, it would distance us from the reality of getting outside. It would, I think, make life far too easy! This ongoing battle with time actually makes me feel much more grateful for my time on the hill when I finally get there, hard earned as it is. The hunger to steal some time between work and sleep makes it all the more special to sit atop a summit after a hard days’ stress of staring at mind numbing data all day. When the trip involves some imagination – some new angle on a familiar area- then all the sweeter.

Of course, we’re also lucky in where we’re located, within a short trail run’s distance of Snowdonia National Park (exactly 6.2km as it happens, and that’s surprisingly along a bridleway we’re yet to run – so there’s always something new to discover!) That really does make life easier for us, but even if you live elsewhere you can still enjoy the outdoors. Alistair Humphreys coined the phrase – Micro Adventures to describe these in his inspirational book –  Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes – so location is no excuse! Though we must say, there’s never anything micro about adventures in Snowdonia!

It’s all about the experience of being out, in the great outdoors. Be it a short local trail run in the mud and rain, or walking up Snowdon at night to try and photograph the stars / clouds; it’s all part of what makes being part of Mud and Routes worth the effort. That, and the obligatory after walk pint!

So what’s the point of this editorial I hear you ask? Obviously, it’s bit cathartic as we’re shouting from the rooftops that we’re amateurs, we’re proud and we don’t care. Though we like to think of ourselves amateur with a professional outlook. It’s also got us thinking that we can’t be the only ones with this outlook on the great outdoors and that we’d welcome an email from people who’d love to contribute to Mud and Routes.

Contribute to Mud and Routes?

The hours are lousy, the pay’s even worse, but you won’t care! You’ll appreciate that adventure isn’t a camping pod sponsored by national tourism quangos, but a tent somewhere inspiring. You’ll get what we’re about at Mud and Routes, though sometimes we’d really like someone to explain that one to us. You’ll make your own path, not follow others (though obviously not directly beside it as that causes erosion). You’ll also appreciate that deadlines are there to be missed and that ultimately, it’s all got to be part of the outdoor experience. If you’ve reached this far then, you’ll be wondering why I’m even explaining this; you’ve read the site, you know what we’re about and you’re in.

Use the Contact Us form and choose OTHER!

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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