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#OutdoorPeople, adventure, Diary, snowdon, Wild, Wildtime -

Busyness. Life. Zen. Living in East London I, like many others, live what I often think of as a madly busy life. We are surrounded by the constant noise of traffic, shops, people. Competing imagery, sounds, smells, sensations.  And that's before the usual human noise of friendships, relationships, maybe children, parents, family, work colleagues and the aquantance who suddenly tells you how her life is going down the toilet. Constantly watchful. Always worrying. And often simply worrying we are worrying too much. I'll take a wild stabbing guess that this holds true - maybe with some substitutions - for most folks most places. And of course that is life in all its rich, varied messiness. But it can take concentration and effort to be calm and ordered. And especially if one of the magic pillars of our lives - family, home, work - gets damaged. Well I just saw Wild - the film about Cheryl Strayed who ran away from her life, and found herself along a three month hike.

This is a beautiful film. Quite literally beautiful as she walks through some of the most gorgeous landscapes and wild places. But also emotionally beautiful as she figuratively picks up her overloaded life and then quietly sheds it and learns to use it properly over the following three months. She had some really big issues to deal with, but on the human scale this reminds us of the power of wild. When reviewing the Hackney Wild Walks one statement from every participant was loud and clear. That simply having a walk through the park, along the canal, a few minutes to smell lavender and see the sky through the trees cleared the mind and lifted the heart. And we all reflected on how important this is on a day to day basis for all children. A few days ago I saw this photo on Facebook: IMG_7277 It made me stop and think. Is it true? Well yes, of course. Cheryl is still Cheryl even when she's walked for eight days on muesli... And I don't become a different person on top of Stac Pollaidh, or walking in the park. But the space. It just makes it easier to strip away the noise. To feel more in control. To reconnect with our spaces inside. And every time we go wild - whether for five mutes or five months - we can help bring that back into our daily lives. These are some of my favourite wild places, places I want to get back to, places I think of when my head starts spinning, places I can go to by closing my eyes. And walking out my front door. [caption id="attachment_1680" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Snowdonia Snowdonia (credit Richard Outram)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1676" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Achiltibuie, NW Highlands Achiltibuie, NW Highlands (Credit Jim Downie, Achiltibuie Appreciation Society)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1673" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Stac Pollaidh Stac Pollaidh (credit Jim Downie, Achiltibuie Appreciation Society)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1674" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Chapel Porth, Cornwall Chapel Porth, Cornwall (credit Cath Prisk)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1677" align="aligncenter" width="640"]London Fields, Hackney London Fields, Hackney[/caption] We bring our zen with us, but sometimes we need to walk a spell to find it right here... I'd love to hear about your wild spaces. Where do you go and why? *Thanks to the Achiltibuie Appreciation Society and to Richard Outran Welsh Landscapes (both links Fb groups) from whom I borrowed the Scottish and Welsh images. And to Charlie and his friends for endlessly modelling in London Fields, my nearest bit of 'wild' if not really actually wilderness!

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#OutdoorPeople, Christmas, Diary, Exhale, newsletter, Online Shop, Shop, snowdon, sustainability -

Phew. What a  year 2014 was. I can't believe Outdoor People is now over seven months old! I must admit on stepping down from Play England back in March, and leaving the NCB in May, setting up my own company was a very scary step to take. And to try to build it as a 'social enterprise' an even scarier one. Most people don't even know what a social enterprise is, and frankly even those that do have many different definitions! Could I cope with the drastic change in income? Could my husband? Could I cope without a great team around me? Where on earth would I get stuff to sell and could I cope with not just giving stuff away??? How could I keep ensuring what I do benefits children? So anyway  after a very blustery launch in May I set out with a clear mission:

To Make the Outdoors Easy - especially for families and children
IMG_0618 And with a lot of hard work, building on existing networks and backing from friends and family, and the many fabulous customers, it does indeed seem to be working! So I want to use this first blog of 2015 to say Thank you To so many folks...
  • Everyone we've worked with over the last year:
    • The lovely people who have commissioned work from us;
    • all the wonderful customers and folks that have come to the stall;
    • the folks behind Exhale festival;
    • and most definitely the families that came camping!
Big thanks too to the great folks at the Tornado Boiler Company (the Storm Kettles), Kairaasi (the tiffins), Cake Club Clothing (the hats) and Whitby & Co (who distribute Klean Kanteen and Niteize) for being the first to back the rather weird idea of a high-end design-led outdoor gear market stall! So what next? The Board of the 'social' bit of the 'Social Enterprise has just expanded and I'll be introducing you to the new board members soon. Fingers crossed we'll have some projects to make a practical difference locally and further afield soon. Nationally I'll continue to be supporting The Wild Network as a board member, to lobby, campaign and shout about the critical importance of kids being outdoors, not just for their own sake (and the sanity of their parents/teachers/families!) but for the future of the planet... I'll also be doing what I can to support the London wide campaign to get us named 'Greater London National Park', as well as continuing to help other locally based organisations that get kids outdoors. We've just completed the first phase of Hackney Wild Walks and I'll be discussing with the new board - and the council - where to next on that. And what about the 'Shop'? IMG_6047 I'll be spending part of the next four weeks revamping the website a bit and thinking about where the 'shop' will go as the seriously 'enterprise' bit of the social enterprise. We'll be back in the Schoolyard of Broadway Market on Saturday January 17th, and folks can order online, first post out will be Monday 5th. The 'shop' has really done as well as I could have hoped - and far, far better than my mum expected!! - so what next?? Do I just consolidate and build up the stall and online? Or do I look for a concession or a shop? Or do some pop up shops? Thoughts from you as Outdoor Peeps are very welcome! So here's wishing you many fantastic Outdoors Adventures for 2015, and hoping they are good ones!
Happy New Year 2015 original
Happy Outdoors New Year 2015!

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adventure, camping, Diary, Launch, mountains, National Trust, Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor People, Outdor People, Plas Y Brenin, snowdon, Wales, Wild Network -

Outdoor People celebrated our launch and National Children’s Day UK with a wild screening of the documentary film Project Wild Thing on an expedition to Snowdon.  OP Launch 3 - Wild Screening As part of National Children’s Day UK, we took a group of families from Hackney and beyond out into the wild, on an expedition to Snowdon, Wales’s highest mountain. The group, joined by Andrew Denton leader of the Britain on Foot Campaign, enjoyed a ‘Wild Screening’ of the acclaimed documentary Project Wild Thing on a jury rigged screen on the mountain-side at the base of Crib Goch, just a few hundred metres below the summit. Our adventure was part of a whole 'Wild Weekend' of screenings organised by The Wild Network, with other groups scaling Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis and then loads of others simply screening the film trailer on iPads and mobiles in back gardens and wild spaces across the UK. This was all in celebration of National Children's Day UK 2014,  to help promote the new Children's Outdoor Charter and Project Wild Thing as a vehicle for helping communities think about the importance of getting outdoors.   IMG_9761 Our expedition was initially planned by my niece, Phoebe Prisk (15), who is an experienced mountaineer thanks to her dad. She's been going up mountains in all weathers since before she could walk, and as long as she can chat about Supernatural, has the right gear on and a pork pie in her backpack she just loves it.

“The best thing about being outdoors is the freedom. It doesn’t matter if it’s the park or up in the mountains. I just like being outdoors” Phoebe Prisk (15) from Frodsham, Cheshire
We did indeed set off on her chosen route up the Pyg track, but when we got to our screening place it was a bit windy... [wpvideo kYqg6MWh] Nothing deterred we watched the Project Wild Thing trailer, roping in a passing Snowdon Ranger to take the photos proving we'd done it! Andrew Denton, who is also the Chief Executive of the Outdoors Industry Association and a fellow Wild Network member, then helped us out and together we all agreed to shorten the walk with a fun cross country adventure down to the very well marked Miners Track. IMG_9902 As an aside I have to say that the National Trust does an amazing job maintaining the walking paths around Snowdonia.  It seems to be a little known fact that over three quarters of their land holdings are completely free to visit, and they make it ten times easier to get to see those wild places by simply building lovely, often wheelchair and buggy accessible, paths into them. The Snowdon paths aren't suitable for those with poor mobility, but are just fine on a good day for children with a bit of stamina who are with adults who have a basic idea of what they are doing and some common sense. Our kids were certainly not the only ones braving the winds and rain that day, and Phoebe's cousin Annabel Arden (11) made several other young people smile as they met us by handing out chocolates... Phoebe,  Annabel and the rest of us were of course a bit disappointed not to get to the top this time, but there will be another time. And when we do, we hope the Hackney and Liverpool children that were going to join us, the ones who had never been camping before, can come too! Annabel Arden, 11, from Stoke Newington, Hackney, said:
“It’s been such a fun day! Being outdoors just makes you feel so wild and your imagination can just go further. I love going outdoors, even if it’s just playing in the street. The best thing about the walk, despite the weather, was the views. We could see for miles!”
[caption id="attachment_237" align="alignnone" width="665"]Credit: Richard Outram Credit: Richard Outram[/caption] After our mountain top adventures we went to find other random outdoor places we could show our Project Wild Thing trailer, using a mini projector kindly provided by the lovely East London Design Store. First stop was the fabulous Welsh National Slate Museum... (who did great hot chocolate!) [caption id="attachment_210" align="alignnone" width="665"]Credit: Richard Outram Credit: Richard Outram[/caption] And then at Dolbardon castle, an amazing spot with a bloody history and glorious views only a few minutes walk from the car park. [caption id="attachment_213" align="alignnone" width="665"]Credit: Richard Outram

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britain on foot, Diary, snowdon, wet weather, wild weekend -

Well we've discussed the right shots with the photographer, and apparently the Sunday Times are interested... We just need to get up the mountain!! Weather today just fine so far. The camp is half up and Outdoor People has it's first volunteer - 21 year old Philip being amazing.

20140509-054749 pm.jpg Although half way here he said "I miss wifi..."! Unfortunately given the forecast several of the wonderful families of first time campers from Hackney with kids under 6 are no longer coming. It would not be the best introduction! But though he's no longer coming here, the lovely Urvesh from Gujurati Rasoi of Dalston gave us an amazing curry to enjoy later. His son Jai I know was very much looking forward to his first trip - we will plan another very soon! So we will be a party of experienced teens and adults tomorrow - though at least one of my friends is new to mountain hiking, and a couple haven't done much. We have done our risk benefit assessments and have back up plans for if it's dire! This is the forecast...

20140509-055958 pm.jpg And add in mountain forecast of high winds... Hmm. I'm glad my brother and fellow Wild Networker Andrew from Britain on Foot are joining us! They will know for sure I'd it's just too dangerous.. So we've got a mini projector loaded up with Project Wild Thing trailer, our PWT TShirts, our Outdoor People hats and waterproofs and cheese sandwiches. And the route has been chosen by 15 year old Phoebe, leading us as it's in celebration of National Children's Day UK!

20140509-061336 pm.jpg Wish us luck everyone!! There are still places to come join us in the evening for the screening of a Project Wild Thing at Plas Y Brenin, booking handy but not essential. Enjoy some outdoors everyone!

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Diary, llyn Gwynnant, National Children's Day, Outdoor People, snowdon, Wildtime -

It's all go here at Outdoor People corner, trying to pack up to go camping at Llyn Gwynnant campsite, taking some friends, family and their friends and family off to Snowdonia to swap some screen time for #wildtime. I'm also very much looking forward to being joined by lots more for a chilled night at the public bar at Plas Y Brenin to watch Project Wild Thing, though the folks with littlies will have their own wild night round a fire instead. So I made a 'making it easy' list of everything I could possibly ever need for camping. I won't take EVERYTHING, but the hammocks are in. And lots of wet weather gear. And some fairy lights. And a huge pot for making rice and curry over the fire. And extra tarps and brollies and stuff so kids can make wet weather dens. And my brand new storm kettle for making tea and hot chocolate. And my Outdoor People hats. Won't miss us in these beauties.... IMG_0456 You can download the camping 'Making it Easy checklist' pdf here. And when I blog again we'll be an official organisation, with a mission of making it easy for families, kids and communities to get outdoors. How exciting is that?! If you'd like to join us, please do! Click here to find out more, and to book. Have a wild weekend and enjoy National Children's Day!  

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