I think I was introduced to the outdoors properly when I joined Beavers at the age of six and then stayed through scouting. I’ve had some fantastic opportunities; gone climbing all over the world, mountaineering, walking, but I also think it’s important to appreciate what’s on your doorstep, even though there’s a whole world out there.
I think the outdoors is there for everyone to enjoy, and everyone has a right to access it. But at the same time, I think it’s a tremendous privilege, and we have a huge responsibility to look after the outdoors for future generations. We don’t own it we’re just custodians of it for those who come after us.
I’m very lucky to live where I do, where walking and climbing is right on my doorstep. I work and live on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, and there are some absolutely fantastic spots just a few minutes from me, and a bit further away, you have the whole of the Dales to explore. I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors, in all the mountainous areas of the UK and further afield. When it turns round to winter, I can’t wait to get up to Scotland and go winter climbing. But I feel a deep connection with the Dales, whether I’m out teaching navigation with my scouts, doing bushcraft or going climbing with an old friend. It’s about that connection to the outdoors and how it can feel like home.
I think one thing that’s becoming more and more visible for people these days is how integral the outdoor is to people’s health. When I was younger, an adventure was very much about a sense of achievement and conquering. But as I’ve got older, I can appreciate it’s more about the journey and less about the destination. It might sound corny, but it’s about just being at peace in the outdoors.