We all need a good kick up the backside every now and then, and outdoor apathy can strike at any time and any one of us. So here’s some ideas to get you out there, doing something a little different perhaps, but out there none the less.
Camp differently – Why not bivvy, tarp or hammock camp? Totally different proposition to a tent, and allows you to make the most of the next three inspirational ideas. A Bivvy tent’s a nice compromise if you don’t fancy just bivvying, and you can still lie with your head out and enjoy the view.
Full Moon Walk – get yourself up them hills on a full moon. Take a bivvy, walk up in the dwindling daylight and get moving again as soon as the moon rises. Magical. You don’t really have to camp, you can return to the warmth of civilisation afterwards if you want.
Star Gaze – You probably won’t see many stars on a full moon, but you’ll see them before moonrise if you’re lucky. If you’re in a bivvy, you can fall asleep under the stars. You may be able to pop your head out of the tent, but it’s nothing compared to laying out and letting your eyes adjust to the stars. Over the coming months, it’ll be dark earlier and so this makes an interesting end to a walk if you’ve the confidence to navigate safely in the dark.
Sunset and Sunrise on the mountain –Wild camp and get up early enough for the dawn. Of course – you also get the sunset the previous night! You can bivvy or camp, it’s up to you. This one’s a freebie with reason no1 and yet another reason to get out there next weekend. If you’re not into your camping, get up early or walk up late for the same effect!
Walk in a new area – Fed up of the same old same old? You can jump on a train to many of the main walking areas of the UK, including Snowdonia (largely ringed by a railway!), The Peak District (Edale) and the Highlands of Scotland that is arguably the easiest of the lot to get to by train as you can do so overnight on the sleeper. There’s no better feeling than catching the midnight train at Crewe, downing a few strong beers to help with the sleep, quickly as the bar closes soon and then getting off that train in Corrour in the middle of nowhere the following morning.
Walk with a purpose – Get an idea, as small or large as you like, sensible or even daft and just get out and do it. Link two hills or towns, two county tops or walk from coast to coast. Bag all the tops in one range, cross from one side of an OS map to the other. Bag all the landmarks shots in one area (Adam And Eve, Cantilever and Crib Goch anyone?) The possibilities are endless. You could even re-create a historic walk, such as Borrow’s Ascent of Snowdon, walk from castle to castle, or I’ve even considered walking from my doorstep to the English border (over 100km away, easy!) Walk between railway stations; in Snowdonia it could be between Barmouth and Blaenau over the Rhinogydd or between the East and West coast sleepers in Scotland.
Take up another outdoorsy hobby. No, I don’t mean giving up, but something that compliments your walking. Photography is the most obvious hobby, with geo-caching a close second. The more keen might want to learn a bit more about the natural history of the outdoors, while others might choose to take on the mantle of walking group baking guru. Make cakes, flapjacks and biscuits for your walking group and you’ll become strangely in demand for all walks.
Become a Bagger – I don’t know if I fully agree with ‘bagging’ as it can be seen as an activity that overshadows the route. You can take on the Munros, Corbets, Marilyns or myriad other hill-lists out there. Here’s one we prepared earlier if you want to bag the Welsh mountains – The WaSHiS – Welsh and Six Hundred in Stature, as we didn’t like the idea of a combined England / Wales list, the lack of metric and the utter mundanity of some of the peaks included in some other lists.
Inspiration isn’t easy to come by, but imagine if you weren’t in the hills. Would you be dragged shopping by a ‘loved’ one? Bored to death in a family do? Dragged down by the screaming offspring of your relatives? Or stuck watching some meaningless telly? If that doesn’t get you out there, you’re beyond help!