For those of us who enjoy the great outdoors, the news about having to go into lockdown would no doubt have been met with dread and some level of reluctance. However, the terms of the current lockdown are that you can go outside for one bit of exercise per day, as long as you are following government guidelines for social distancing, and are not undergoing unnecessary travel to get there. These restrictions have directed me towards rediscovering what my local area has to offer and I would like to share with you my suggestions with how you can have some local adventures whilst doing your bit to keep yourself and others safe during the current pandemic.
I want to be very clear on this – the one exercise per day is not an excuse to ignore the lockdown. It would be irresponsible to take this as meaning that you can get together with your mates to go mountaineering for the day. Not only would you be putting yourself and whoever you’re out with at risk, but also any mountain rescue operatives should you get into any trouble. What I am suggesting is short walks that can be done daily, either by yourself, or with people you live with, and that can be accessed without the need of a car or public transport. Whilst out and about, make sure you’re keeping at least 2 metres apart from anyone you meet, and, to that end, try and avoid areas that tend to attract crowds like small local parks. And, of course, do not go out if you are showing any COVID-19 symptoms. For more details on getting out the house during this time, have a look at this BBC article about self-isolating and social distancing.
This past week, I’ve had a nice 6-day holiday – originally booked for travelling to London and attending EGX Rezzed, but with the lockdown, I’ve focussed on having a much more local holiday. With the beautiful weather, I was keen to get out at least a little bit each day, so I thought rather than going on a big walking trip, why not do part of a walking trip each day to make up a full route by the end of it? Which is why I’ve decided to circumnavigate the immediate area around my home town of Todmorden by doing part of the loop every day.
I was taking inspiration from Alastair Humphreys and his concept of Micro-Adventures. Micro-Adventures are kind of what they sound like; small, manageable adventures that can be done without driving for miles or jumping on a plane and without specialized kit. The type of Micro-Adventures suggested by Humphreys may involve spending the night camping out in your local woods, but for our current situation, I’d recommend a short chunk of time in the middle of the day, rather than an overnight adventure. It could be few hours, or even just 5-10 minutes! Follow the link above to browse Humphrey’s blog for more details about Micro-Adventuring and perhaps some inspiration in planning your own.
Even though these hikes have been relatively short, I’ve found them hugely valuable. I’ve been getting regular exercise and been able to be out in some beautiful places, some quite familiar and some completely new to me, despite being pretty much right on the door step! I think you’d be surprised what your local area has to offer if you really have a look. If you’re not sure where you can go, or how to plan your route, I’d recommend getting a map. The smartphone app; ‘maps.me’ will allow you to download a map of most of the routes in your region, but I’d also recommend getting hold of an Ordinance Survey (OS) Map for your area for the extra landscape detail and the names of all the local areas to help you contextualise your adventure as you discover new areas!
For those of you who need to stay inside at all times for whatever reason, there are various organisations who have got you covered. The Canal & River Trust now has an escape page on its website allowing you to enjoy beautiful sections of Britain’s waterways without having to go anywhere! Meanwhile, the Wildlife Trust have a list of activities you can do in and around your home. whilst Chester Zoo have been uploading videos of many of their animal enclosures onto YouTube for home viewing! This is just to name a view, there are so many organisations getting creative about how they can benefit the public remotely.
The take home message here is to make sure, first and foremost, that you are helping to stop the spread of COVID-19, but also making sure that you are looking after your own health and wellbeing by allowing yourself a little taste of adventure here and there. Rest assured, we will be able to get together for that full-blown adventure you’re planning one day. One day…