Oh my goodness, where is the year going? It only feels like last week that I was bundling my stuff into my bag to head down to Cheltenham to do some outside activities for the Get Outside Day Challenge with Splodz and Katyish. Apparently, from my calendar, *cough, cough* two months ago. Erm, that went fast.
Anyway, I thought I would share a bit of a round-up of the fun we got up to during the weekend, including a swim in a not-so-heated Lido.
Get Outside Day
Before I go head first into telling you all about the fun we had outdoors, I thought it might be useful to give you a heads up as to what Get Outside Day is. It starts with people who are equal in craziness… Oh OK, it actually starts with Ordnance Survey. Zoe, Splodz, is an OS Get Outside Champion and as part of the Get Outside Day the idea was to encourage 1,000 people to get outside and enjoy some adventures (however big or small) in the great outdoors.
Zoe, (like me, Katy and the majority of us) live pretty normal lives so climbing a mountain, sailing across the ocean or swimming the entire canal system is not really in our spectrum of outdoor activities. This is why Zoe concocted the Get Outside Day Activity Challenge. We were to do as many fun, accessible and affordable activities as we could in a 48 hour period. The things we did ranged from a picnic in the park, to berry picking and walking our commute (something you know I advocate), as well as kayaking, swimming in a lido and paddle boarding. So you can see there was a nice variety of things. I think in total it only cost me about £40 on top of the train ticket I would have bought anyway.
Scrolling through Instagram, you could easily believe that getting outside is reserved for people who have plenty of spare dollar and an ability to up sticks to visit far off places to do an extreme adventure. It isn’t the case. most of us have adventures on our doorstep (like my trip to Keswick or just simply heading to a local park) So taking part in the Get Outside Day Challenge meant that things had to be accessible to most people. Of course, you’re lucky if your city has a lido or somewhere to paddle board, but there are alternatives when you start looking into them. (thing footgolf – I discovered this recently and it is swiftly going on the bucket list)
We started with some pretty simple things, which you can do at easily yourself with very little money at all. I met Zoe after work and we walked back to her house, during the walks we were able to; forage for berries; do a litter pick; enjoy the scenery and meet animals. In the evening we planted some bulbs, had a BBQ, did some stargazing with a free app and made a bug hotel with bits and pieces we found in Zoe’s garden.
Really getting going
I say that Saturday was the day for us really getting going, but in all truth we had a relaxed start with a delicious eggy bread breakfast. My thinking is that we wouldn’t have had the energy to do so much if we hadn’t had a good start to the day. (my excuse and I’m sticking to it) We had planned for the start of the day to be at Cheltenham Water Park (I can’t remember if that’s the right name so I am hoping Zoe will correct me later) We got free parking, but it is per car so affordable if a few of you visit and once in you do pay for the activities. It was only around £10 per activity for 30 minutes and there is plenty to enjoy for free. Here we paddle boarded, kayaked, paddled, played on the playground and I won crazy golf!
Oh yes and we also took a ride on a swan pedalo! A dream come true for me since I decided and added I’d like to pedalo the canals of Manchester on one – I even added one to my watch list on eBay. Watch this space for another challenge…
Of course we added these as they were things we were wanting to do and we both had some spare pocket-money to spend. We did also just enjoy the simple things about being outdoors, like eating an ice cream in the sunshine (Zoe had to buy mine as we made a bet on the golf…which I won!), watching the world go by or just walking along a path around the woods. These are all very much outdoor activities and very manageable and enjoyable too. Mmmm, mango sorbet!
To the hills
After our water park adventures we began making out way to the campsite while collecting a few more activities in the way. A bit of walking, heading up hills and checking out a building we spotted on the map. These are also things you can do on your way to somewhere by taking a short detour to see what you discover. As you can guess from the link to Ordnance Survey, you could always grab a map – I’d recommend one of the personalised ones as you can choose the starting point as your home and discover places nearby. I bought one for Jit the other year and featured it in a currently loving post)
I think we were both pretty pooped by the time we got to the campsite, but the excitement of being there, setting up camp and of course enjoying some more activities and most importantly food kept us going. And boy was the food goooood! (If you follow me and Zoe on Twitter, you will know that we talk about food ALL THE TIME!)
Of course we did more than just eat at the campsite – we had to do as many activities as we could in 48 hours, remember! We set up camp, did some Body Balance (a kind of yoga/Thai Chi/Pilates combo), read our books and magazines, built a campfire, did a mini night hike and oh so many other things. We even started to whittle a spoon, which we have promised to finish so that we can use them when we camp again next year. Whether this happens is another matter…surely it’s OK to eat with a stick?
Sunday was the final day of the weekend of Get Outside challenge and we didn’t get to take it easy. We had plenty on the cards so were up before sunrise to enjoy the colours and to take a quick walk into the local National Trust. If there is one thing I recommend, it is getting up early for a walk in winter – it is such a lovely experience and you get to enjoy where you are in the quiet.
It didn’t stop there either. After a delicious breakfast of campfire bread and copious amounts of tea, we broke camp and were ready to get onto our next challenge activities – one of which involved being terribly bad at Geocaching!
Sunday was the official Get Outside Day so we were joined by Katy and Tilly for our activities for the day. From walking up a hill, playing Frisbee with each other (as Tilly was too cool to join in), swimming in a Lido and having a picnic and games in the park.
One of the highlights of the day had to be outdoor swimming in the Lido. Remember, it is September and there are looming dark clouds over head. They said it was heated, but Zoe, Katy and I were not too convinced. We did have lots of fun splashing about and also enjoyed a sauna in a little shepherds hut to warm up.
Following the lido, we did a bit of urban wandering, walked to the shops, grabbed a picnic and were ready to head to the park. Thankfully the dark clouds were behaving themselves so we were able to stay dry.
Park fun for Get Outside Day
It certainly doesn’t have to be Get Outside Day to have some fun in the park. We are so lucky to have so many communal outdoor spaces to enjoy for free that I think we should all make more use of them. That aside, it was so much fun getting together with friends for a bit of daftness – especially when you don’t get to see each other as much as you’d like to.
As we munched our picnic, played games and flew the tiny kite, we could feel the activities starting to take their toll. In 48 hours we proved that you could do more than 55 (some of ours might have been a bit dubious, but we agreed that most were fine) So I think that goes to show that there are plenty of things you can choose from to make the most of being outdoors. From playing butt head in the park, walking the dog or simply having a picnic in your back garden, they are all fun things in the fresh air. If you can climb a big hill, do kayaking or other activity, great. They are outdoors too.
A small reminder to you is that adventure is what you make of it, not what you think it should look like from the photos on Instagram, the tweets or Facebook posts. Adventure is where you are, with what you have. You make the adventure, not the location or activity!
So now your turn! Share which activities you would like to do and then GO AND DO THEM – THIS WEEKEND!
Pop them in the comments and let’s share some other fab ideas for getting outside. Whether they are plans for next year’s Get Outside Day or just for an after work jaunt, let’s get a menu to pick from!
Over to you…comments below!
If you want to read more about our activities, and get the correct number, then head over and read all about it on Splodz Blogz.