Lockdown 3

So here we are again, and to us outdoor enthusiasts, we face the onset of another frustrating time. As we view pictures of pristine snow conditions on mountains in Scotland and Wales posted (presumably) by people living in the shadow of those summits, many of us are limited to the immediate area of our homes and probably getting under the feet of our “nearest and dearest”. So what can we be doing rather than staring out of the window all day?


Lockdown is a good opportunity to rejuvenate all your kit. Wash and proof your waterproofs, replace overstretched elastic where need be and perhaps repair pockets or resecure loose buttons. If you are capable, maybe fit new Velcro or press studs where needed. Look at your boots, give them a deep clean with some boot cleaning gel, maybe use some conditioner, then give them a good re-proofing. Sharpen everything that needs sharpening, oil everything that needs oiling, replace old batteries or re-charge them all to keep them ok, and replace out of date first aid items. For the really nerdy, open up a spreadsheet, take out your scales and weigh every item of kit you have. Enter them on the spreadsheet and then produce a second that adds up the weight of any kit list you make up. This could prove to be a long and tedious job, but might pay dividends when you start planning your next big trip……which brings me to….


Get out your maps, all those coffee table books of wild areas, watch some videos and get inspired. Then come up with a really great trip to celebrate getting out of this mess later in the year. You may be best to keep it UK based for now, but there are loads of really great adventures we can hope to have, and lots of enjoyable and enlightening hours to be spent working out logistics, menus, kit-lists, routes, goals’ communications….even perhaps sponsorship. Pick something challenging or quirky, follow in the footsteps of someone out of history or make a study of things you pass on the way. Think about how you will record your adventure, will you keep a diary, blog or vlog, will you photograph or sketch? Maybe learn a new skill in lockdown to enable this. How will you travel? On foot, by paddle or pedal? Or all three? I’ve got myself so excited now, I’m struggling to stay here and finish this blog, as my head buzzes with new ideas. Maybe I could paddle the Kennet and Avon Canal stopping to sketch each lock, or ride all of Wades military roads through the Highlands, Or walk the South West Coast Path doing a Pasty survey (I’ve been practising pasty sampling for a while now). Why not involve a friend? This will give you both something to talk about on zoom all through the winter.

Keep fit

We are still allowed to exercise, ideally from home, so build it into your routine. Your home area may sound a bit boring to exercise in, but try to change your focus. Look more carefully, and see what is under your nose. There are new discoveries to make (new to you if not new to science), and this is an opportunity to learn about the little things we take for granted. Exactly what species of fern is that growing out of your garden wall? What bird is that singing on the phone line? Which direction is this cold wind coming from? What direction was the wind coming from when that ice was deposited on the fence post? Learning to be more observant will pay big dividends enhancing your enjoyment when free to roam in the mountains again.

Revise your skills

No matter how well skilled we are in our chosen pursuit, lack of practice will result in skill or knowledge fade, so try to take time out to do some learning or revision. Obviously you can’t practice Kayak rolling in your living room, but you can review your knowledge of tidal charts or re-read your 1st aid handbook. A really good way to learn or revise a skill is to teach it to someone else…so why not try teaching the kids how to bandage a wound, or deal with a burn, a great skill for them to gain. If you are a member of an organisation like Mountain Training, there will be online CPD training on their website…and while you’re there, make sure your logbook is up to date if you hold or are training for qualifications.

Hopefully some of this will be of use to you, but if you are still struggling you can always switch off Facebook…..those snowy pictures are only going to make you envious and frustrated!

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