Inspiration / Outdoor /
THE 10 BEST RESOLUTIONS FOR A HAPPY NEW YEAR
At the beginning of each year we make our New Years Resolutions, projecting twelve months’ worth of hopes and ambitions into the future. January however, quickly slides into spring and these are too easily whittled away by the cycle of work, money and the two-day-dash, more commonly known as the weekend.
So this year, instead of narrowing your options down to the usual; lose weight/see friends, why not be a little more target driven? We have picked a few outdoor activities that will not only keep you on the straight and narrow, but are also a whole load of fun to do too.
1. GO WILD CAMPING
Everybody should go wild camping at least once and if you haven’t tried it yet, this year could be the year you discover the joys of travelling light, finding a quiet and secluded spot and simply enjoying the peace and tranquillity.
The laws on wild camping are strange, and although it is ‘tolerated’ in some of the northern National Parks, it is important that you do your own research before setting off. However, in England, one place where it is 100% no-questions asked legitimate is Dartmoor National Park. Venture into Scotland or Wales however and the rules become a bit more relaxed also.
2. FORAGE A MEAL
Throughout the year the natural world produces an absolute smorgasbord of delicious, nutritious and easily accessible eatables. It is important to understand what you are looking for as not all food is edible and you need to do your research; but all it really takes, is for somebody to go out there with the right knowledge and help themselves.
So if you are tired of picking your food from the tree of supermarket convenience, then why not step away from the cupboard and go for a rummage through Mother Nature’s drawers instead. Whether it’s a three course feast or simply a selection of fruits for a pie, a lot can be said for eating for free.
3. START A CAMPFIRE WITHOUT MATCHES (OR A LIGHTER)
Once, the pinnacle of humankind’s achievement was the creation of fire. Our ancestors passed this knowledge down through the generations, refining and perfecting this ancient art form, until one day, we invented the internet and forgot it all.
If you want to find your inner cave man (or woman), then make this the year you cook yourself a meal by creating fire the old fashioned way. Flint and Steel, Bow Drill, lightning bolt, whatever! Just no matches or lighters allowed.
4. CLIMB HIGHER THAN YOU'VE EVER CLIMBED BEFORE
Unless you have stood on the summit of Everest (if you have then very well done) then you can go higher. For the majority of us this is a little easier to achieve and with some careful choices this could be the year that you climb to the highest point in your life.
The BMC has a number of excellent selections for the brave of heart including some of these spectacular UK scrambles to make you really feel every inch the mountain pioneer. Or if you prefer your activities even more vertical, then why not take inspiration from the legendary Dave MacLeod. Above, the Mountain Equipment athlete can be seen working his way up the Old Man of Hoy, Orkney.
ENTER A COMPETITION OR RACE
A little bit of competitiveness can go a long way and if you want to step up a gear or maybe you just need the motivation to get active in the New Year, then why not enter an officially organised race or competition.
For example, National Trust is organising a series of Night Runs through some of the country’s most spectacular manor houses, woodlands and parks, making the perfect event for beginners and serious runners alike. Or if you really think this is the year to test your metal then how about considering an ultra-marathon. WARNING: Not for the faint hearted.
6. JOIN A GROUP
It’s nice to feel that you are a part of something and being involved in a group of like-minded people can be a great way to make new friends, discover new adventures and share tips and advice. There are many Outdoor Groups and the benefits of being a member go beyond discounted kit.
7. GO WILD SWIMMING
If you like to take a dip in your local pool, have you ever considered the number of completely free, watery playgrounds that could be within diving distance of your home? There are many different places to go Wild Swimming in the UK, but one of the most spectacular has to be Waterfall Woods in the Brecon Beacons. 20 plunge pools along over 5 miles of walks. There is even a Bunkhouse. Absolute bliss.
Wild swimming is a great way to explore the world around you from a slightly wetter point of view. This year take the time to travel with the gentle current of the river, plunge into a deep lake or stand beneath a crystal clear waterfall.
8. DO A MULTI DAY TREK
Sometimes, when we are feeling particularly ambitious, walks are just not long enough. If you feel ready to stretch your legs, why not look at doing a multi-day trek? If you really want to push yourself then maybe this is the year you head out on a truly self supported, multi-day trip?
It does not however, have to be such an epic or arduous event. It can of course also mean skipping between campsites, or enjoying the comfortable selection of accommodation provided by the YHA, freeing you to explore large parts of the country at leisure.
9. LEARN OR IMPROVE YOUR NAVIGATIONAL SKILLS
In a strange way, getting lost can be quite fun. What is less enjoyable however is trying to find your way back, especially when the weather is closing in or it’s getting dark. So if you often find yourself taking the back seat when the map comes out, then maybe you should brush up on your navigational skills?
The BMC have a number of winter walking tips including information on navigational courses, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for Ordnance Survey navigational workshops. They are completely free and take place in Cotswold Outdoor stores, or maybe these Silva navigation tips could help you head out (and back again) with confidence.
10. EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO ROAM AND PADDLE
Since the Kinder Scout Trespass in 1932 and the subsequent Acts passed since, the right to walk on open access land is protected by law. As you walk these areas it is easy to forget that people were imprisoned for this right, and it is the work of charities such as the Ramblers that has ensured this freedom to all.
What people are less aware of however is that there is such a thing as the Right to Paddle. British Canoeing have lots of information on where you are legally permitted to paddle; but the important thing to do this year is to go out and exercise your right to enjoy the natural world.