With our current quarantine lockdown, the conditions for hiking and camping getting better and better and the end of all this unfortunately not quite in sight yet, there’ll be many outdoor enthusiasts out there who’ll be just about ready to go up the wall.
To try and help, we’ve come up with a few things that might take people’s mind off things or that’ll gently scratch that itch – the I-really-need-to-get-out-in-the-hills itch.
Plan A Trip For When It’s All Over
One way of looking at things – the glass half full way – is to see this as the perfect opportunity to come up with some fun trips in the future and to really put some good planning into them.
OM editor Will Renwick, who’s preparing for a 20-day fastpacking trip this summer, says that he’s been spending a lot of his time in lockdown on Bing Maps. “It was such a revelation for me when I first discovered that there’s free and instant access to Ordnance Survey’s mapping on Bing,” he says. “I use it for all my hiking and running route inspiration now. Or just to pass the time!”
For plotting out routes, it’s komoot Will recommends turning to. “You can’t digitally mark out your route on Bing, so komoot is the best option there in my opinion,” he says. “It’s the simplest, quickest and most convenient app for it and you can use it for free.”
Another good way to find inspiration and to get a trip properly planned out is to buy yourself a good guidebook. You can gain plenty of adventure inspiration from simply browsing through publishers’ webshops. Cicerone’s site is a surefire way to get some ideas flowing, the same goes for likes of Vertebrate, Wild Things Publishing and Bradt Guides. Purchase one or two guides from them and start reading up on your post-pandemic adventure. In these difficult times, those publishers could certainly all do with our support.
If you’ve already used up your one walk, run or cycle for the day, you could always go for a virtual wander.
Numerous studies have shown the positive psychological effect that listening to recordings of natural sounds like birdsong can have and the same can also be said for visual indulgence (see this report). Fortunately nowadays there are all kinds of quirky things you can find online that could help in this regard.
One of our favourite examples is this interactive article with a video showing someone’s point of view as they walk for four days along the Australian coast between Bondi beach and Manly Beach. Those who have some time on their hands could potentially plod the whole 80km trip if they wanted, but there’s also the option to drop in at any point along the way.
Here’s a hyper-lapse of that walk. Follow the link above for the real-time version of it.
There’s always Google Maps, Google Earth and the Street View function as well, which you can use to explore basically the entire world – you can even use it to ‘trek’ to Everest Basecamp. Similarly, the Ordnance Survey app has a brilliant mapping tool that lets you plot out a route and then follow it over impressive 3D topography.
One last recommendation here, and it’s a bit of an old school one: webcams. While some of us might be cooped up at home, at least we’re only a click away from seeing what snow conditions are like on Ben Nevis, how the evening light looks on the Matterhorn, or what the waves are doing off the coast in Cornwall.
Take Part In A Home-Based Challenge
With more time on our hands combined with the increased need to find ways to keep fit, all kinds of unique challenges have been popping up on social media. One of the first people on the scene with this was Rory Southworth who, since the lockdown began in the UK, has not only climbed the height of Scafell Pike, Snowdon and Ben Nevis using the steps in his house, but has also managed the equivalent height and distance of a trek to Everest basecamp. “I wanted to do something positive and creative while hopefully getting a few others inspired to get involved and stay active,” said Rory. “It’s given me purpose as well as routine and whilst running up and down stairs isn’t the best type of running, it’s what I need right now. I’m putting a lot of energy into it which I know is helping me deal with the current situation.”
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