Well, I am so pleased that the interview series has been welcomed back with open arms and curious minds. Or should that be open eyes? Anyway, this week I am being joined by The Wild Rambler, Immy Tinkler.
A self-confessed, country bumpkin, Immy is not a stranger to the great outdoors – or to trying all kinds of things either! If you have ever wondered how you go about combining horse riding and archery, then Immy is definitely your girl. To balance the mix of outdoor adventures and exploring, Immy also finds it hard to sometimes move away from Netflix! Nobody is immune from the little pulls of the great indoors. There is never a dull moment though, with a similar view to me on finding new things, Immy shares with me her vast array of activities, tips and lovely pictures too.
So without further ado, here is this week’s interview with The Wild Rambler, Immy Tinkler.
Hello Immy and thank you for taking part in my interview series. It is great to have you here. As always, I’ll start you off with a simple one.
Please can you describe yourself in one sentence?
Happiest when covered in mud.
Haha, I like it! Simple and straight to the point. Now, let’s get a bit more into things. What is your first memory of being a lover of the outdoors?
I’ve always been a bit of a country bumpkin – I was lucky to grow up surrounded by hills and farms and open space, so I probably took it for granted. But I think my love of the outdoors really started when I did the Duke of Edinburgh scheme when I was about 15. Heading out (relatively) unsupervised into countryside and having to look after ourselves felt pretty adventurous. Ever since then I’ve always felt safe and at home in the outdoors, and I find that spending time out in nature really helps to overcome any stresses or worries in my day-to-day life. There’s no problem that can’t be helped by going for a long walk!
It is amazing how much we do take for granted when we are younger. It sounds like the D of E helped to introduce the adventure part back into your awareness though and a perfect start to your adventures in the outdoors as an adult. I have to agree that a long walk can uncover all manner of solutions. When was it that you really got into outdoor activities? What was it that encouraged you?
I’ve always been interested in outdoor activities and dipped in and out of few since I was young, but it’s only really over the last couple of years that I’ve really made more of an effort to try new things and dedicate myself to the ones that I really enjoy. The turning point for me was finding like-minded people, as it’s always more fun to try stupid things when your friend is screaming just as loudly beside you.
I’m totally with you on that one! Encouragement from a friend who enjoys it as much as you can take you leaps and bounds into trying new things. You’re also in good company with getting focused more recently, most of the people in my interview series have commented the same.
What is it that you particularly enjoy about the outdoors?
For me the best bit is discovering new places – whether they’re a road-trip away or just a few miles from home. I spend a lot of time pouring over OS maps for local trails I haven’t tried yet, and then I’ll set off with a bag of snacks and my camera to see how lost I get. When travelling further afield I’ll try and find some hidden gems – resources like the Wild Guides books are great for that. There’s such a variety of outdoor experiences in the UK alone, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of exploring.
You’re a girl after my own heart – I’m wholeheartedly with you about there never being somewhere you can’t explore and something new to discover. I haven’t heard of the Wild Guide books before, but have bookmarked them for a browse later, thank you. Getting lost is definitely fun too – where I think some of the best bits are uncovered too. You mention that there are so many outdoor experiences here in the UK. What activities do you do?
Horse riding, archery (even better when you combine the two!), rock climbing, wild swimming, trail running, foraging, hiking…. I’ll pretty much try anything where there’s a reasonable chance of getting injured. I also love photography – which I count as an outdoor activity because it often seems to involve getting myself into precarious positions…
Wow, you weren’t kidding when you said you get up to a lot of activities. They all sound like loads of fun and I love that you combine archery with horse riding! I think adding photography to your outdoor activities is definitely justified in that case. You seem very much up for a challenge, so what has been your greatest challenge so far?
Probably my first experience of wild camping. I was totally new to it but plunged straight into 4 nights in the Elan Valley, with the added challenge of a 20km walk each day carrying a bag almost as big as I was. It was in November and the weather went from below freezing to torrential rain and howling gales, and there was one day where we spent 3 hours lost in a bog. It might have been enough to put me off, but on the last morning we decided to start early to get the worst bit over with (a steep climb up a big hill). We got to the top just in time to see the sunrise flooding the valley below – it was the kind of moment that made the whole thing worth it.
That certainly sounds like a reward for getting through the challenging bits, and the bog of course! It is funny how moments like that can change the entire experience. And I think we’re all glad for them when they come too.
I know you love rock climbing and I’m thinking about giving it another go (after years and years!) so could you share your three top tips that would help someone looking to get started, please.
1. Most indoor climbing gyms offer introductory courses these days – they’ll give you a great start on technique and all the (very important!) safety aspects, plus it’s a great opportunity to make friends so you’ll have people to climb with once the course is over.
2. Climbing is just as much about training your brain as it is about physical strength. Studying good technique really comes in handy on a tough climb, as you’ll expend far less energy than if you rely on brute force.
3. Know your limits. Part of the thrill of climbing is about pushing yourself beyond your previous achievements, but it can be a dangerous sport if you don’t apply common sense. If you’re not feeling it then there’s no shame in packing up – the crag will still be there another day.
Great tips, Immy. I’ll check out my local climbing centre for introductory courses.
And knowing lots of people who are jut simply reluctant to get outside at the best of times, what would you say to them to help encourage them?
Probably just reassure them that they don’t have to go full ‘Bear Grylls’ to count as outdoorsy person. There are so many ways to enjoy being outdoors from quiet country strolls to crazy adrenaline-fuelled adventures, so there really is something to suit everyone. Even if all you can manage is a 15 minute walk in your lunch break, and you’d rather sleep in a cottage than a tent, you’ll still be able to draw benefit from a bit of time out in the fresh air among green spaces. Also the views are way better outside than they are in the gym.
Perfect! I reckon that is a great way to encourage people to give it a go. I think a lot of the TV shows make out that you have to be either an adrenaline junkie or live in the wilds, but you’re right, there are plenty of ways much less extreme to be an outdoorsey type. But here is the clincher. With all the wind, rain and crazy weather both recently and of course in the winter, how do you stay motivated to get out there?
It’s a tough one because I have a deep love affair with Netflix, but I do get bad cabin fever if I stay inside for too long. After a week cooped up at work I’m usually only too glad to head outside, although it can be hard to get off the sofa when it’s tipping it down outside. Sometimes I set myself a challenge to take a photo of a new place every day over a period of time – it’s great motivation to explore, and poor weather often makes for more atmospheric photographs. Plus there’s always the knowledge that if I go outside, I get to experience the cosy joy of coming back inside and hiding under a mound of blankets to thaw out.
I definitely think a lot of people can relate to the Netflix love affair. What a great idea to encourage yourself out with the knowledge that you can come home to a cosy blanket and something good to watch while you warm back up. Your challenge sounds a bit like my weekly photowalk challenges, I think it’s a great way to get out exploring and keeping you occupied on something other than the wet/cold weather.
And last, but not least, what made you decided to start The Wild Rambler?
After uni I realised that I’d stopped writing as much as I used to – I think the endless essays killed my enthusiasm for it. I didn’t want to get totally out of practice though so I decided that blogging would be a good way to keep my hand in – it’s creative but short-form, and you can dip in and out. I basically write about whatever I’m interested in so the blog covers a whole range of subjects, but the focus is really on outdoorsy activities as they’re my main source of fun. It’s become a bit more sporadic since I started working full-time, but the blog has actually helped me motivate myself to keep getting outside and making the most of any free time, as it’s a lot harder to write interesting posts if you just stay inside all day. I also like having a record of things I’ve done, particularly the more unusual and exciting experiences. They’re a great reminder that there are still plenty more things to try out there.
Great reasons – I think uni does that to a lot of people! I didn’t knit for years after completing my degree show. I think it is great that you cover the things that you want to and when you want to. It’s about enjoying it rather than making it a chore. I agree that they are brilliant motivators too, if you run out of things to share, you absolutely must take another adventure.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat to me, Immy. I have to say that I have learned a lot about you in this interview and you have inspired me to really make a move to check out our local climbing centre. You definitely love to keep things varied and your tips to encourage people into enjoying the outdoors are great! I look forward to reading about your up coming adventures and seeing your photographs as you take us along with you in a kind of visual escapade.
To find out more about The Wild Rambler, Immy Tinkler, you can find her here:
Aaaaand, as always you can find the other interview in my series by following this link!