Now that COVID restrictions are starting to be relaxed across Europe our Ambassadors tell us how they are making the most of the outdoors locally and share their top tips for enjoying the outdoors close to home. We remind you to always respect the environment and others by following your local Government COVID guidance.
Aldo Kane @aldokane
Bristol – UK
I live in Bristol, not far from the Avon Gorge and Brunel’s famous Clifton suspension bridge. The local area here in the South West is ripe for local adventures. I love a multi activity day and recently I climbed a three pitch route in the morning in the Avon Gorge, spent the afternoon riding singletrack around Leigh Woods and then finished the day off with a swim at sunset in the sea at Clevedon.
You can spend a lot of time planning and researching things to do in your local area but the best way to do this is just get outside and get started. There are always trees to be climbed, rivers to be swam and new areas to be explored. Why not try just leaving your house and walking for a few miles? Try and see your local area with fresh adventure eyes.
Neil Gresham @neil.gresham
Lake District – UK
I’m very fortunate to live in the Lake District, a mountainous area in the UK where there is endless scope for exploration. I moved here five years ago and feel that I’ve barely scratched the surface. At the moment my favourite spot is Iron Crag in Thirlmere. This amazing cliff is located at the head of a beautiful hidden valley and I was drawn to it because there are still some coveted first ascents to be made on its imposing overhanging walls. In fact, I’ve just completed a new route there (‘Ironed Out’ E8 7a) and I’m still buzzing with excitement, having taken a couple of big falls before
eventually making it to the top.
It can be tricky to get into outdoor climbing, but a good way is to join one of the many clubs that is affiliated with the British Mountaineering Council or alternatively to go on a course at an outdoor centre. It’s amazing just how much rock there is to climb in the UK and wherever you live, you will never be more than 2 hours drive from a great climbing destination.
Vanessa Wechselberger @dscvr.nes
Little Tibet, Zillergrund – Austria
My favourite place is definitely ‘Little Tibet’ in Zillergrund. The imposing dam wall captivates you from afar. Once arrived up there, the beauty of the Zillertaler alps is impressive and the reservoirs are just overwhelming. Here one also understands why the landscape is called Little Tibet: the reservoir, surrounded by mighty mountains with steep rocks and the path that turns around the turquoise-green water. There is a path along the dam to Little Tibet, closed with prayer flags, as well as stones and panels engraved with wisdoms. On the path there are seats which invite you to linger and think. It’s like a little journey to yourself. In Little Tibet, one can no longer deny the similarities to Tibet. Tibetan flags can be seen everywhere. Small wooden huts, water wheels and Tibetan prayer wheels make you forget the time.
Just get away from all the Instagram hotspots. Go on an adventure, switch off your mobile phone and just enjoy. There are so many unknown places to discover that will fascinate you. As a well-known saying goes, “Beauty is in everything, but not everyone can see it”. However, you should never forget to respect the environment and nature, take your rubbish back with you, respect living beings and the outdoors.
Jo Bradshaw @_jobradshaw
New Forest – UK
I’m very fortunate to live on the doorstep of the New Forest so have a huge area to explore just 20 minutes from my house. There is so much history in this beautiful national park and so many places to explore on the criss cross of well laid tracks which I’ve used so often for my expedition training dragging a tyre for hours on end with my fabulous dogs or going off the beaten track and exploring the wooded and moorland areas, seeing the ponies, deer and cattle which roam free and all of the wildlife which call the forest their home. It’s an amazing place!
Whether you set yourself a goal of exploring your local streets or heading out into the countryside, buying an Ordnance Survey map is a great start. Find a local walking group, socially distanced of course, and head out with a new set of friends who can introduce you to your local area if you are not that familiar with it. Getting outside and seeing nature at its best, getting some fresh air and exercise and seeing new things is just the tonic that is needed right now.
Roman Königshofer @rawmeyn
Innsbruck – Austria
I am currently cycling a lot around Innsbruck. There are so many different trails to ride that you’ll never get bored. One place is the Viller Kopf. I like to travel here and always find something new.
Take a couple of friends and hike or just cycle to a destination in your area that you have never been to. The rest will happen on its own.
James Norbury @jamesnorbury
Gloucestershire – UK
I’ve been spending lockdown with my parents in Gloucestershire. We’re lucky enough to be surrounded by countryside and have loved having the time to explore some hikes a little more further afield than our usual dog walks. There’s a beautiful Cotswold canal path I’ve been running along 3 or 4 times a week. It’s easy, day-dreaming trail running just winding away miles in the sun past quaint little villages and through woods and fields.
We fall too often into the trap of thinking that fun adventures necessitate long haul flights and passport stamps. The reality is that the world is full of opportunity for exciting mini-escapades, especially if we get creative. I recently turned down a ski trip to Japan to spend 10 days, in the middle of winter, living in a camper-van with 2 friends touring around the North Coast of Scotland. It was totally absurd; 3 men living on top of each other with 6 hours of sunlight and non-stop wind and rain. But it was unforgettable and I wouldn’t change a thing. The whole trip cost us less combined than a single flight to Japan. We had an absolute blast and a totally unique experience I’ll never forget. Don’t get me wrong I love planning trips across the globe and getting lost in exotic cultures. But I absolutely believe that trips are made by the people and the mindset you go into it with. If you step out your front door, with a however-vague-plan and a positive mindset for adventures, I absolutely believe you will find what you’re after (even if it’s not quite what you had in mind to begin with).
Photo Credit: ©James Norbury
Jacqueline Wagner @peakture_mountaineers
Lake Starnberg, Munich – Germany
I live very centrally in Munich, and mountains are actually not close by. But I don’t have to do without nature. For a short nature experience after work, I love to follow the route of the Würm towards Lake Starnberg with my bike. There are countless narrow paths for hikers and mountain bikers, the river for swimming, sunbathing areas with exciting light-shadow play and even recently a still unknown beach bar for a break. I can also start cycling right outside the front door and escape the rush-hour traffic in Munich.
The most important tip for exploring the surrounding area is actually ‘doing’ and sometimes even going out alone. Alone by yourself you can get much more involved with the outdoors and you’re your inner spirit of discovery can come forward. I always like to use Google Maps to look for landscapes that might interest me, such as a beautiful lake, rocks or a river and then I think of an exciting route there.
Roman Rohrmoser @rohrmoserroman
Zittertal – Austria
My favourite place is Zillertal, that’s where I’m at home. There are lots beautiful places, which I haven’t explored yet and don’t even know yet… so the joy is even bigger when I find my new ‘dream place’.
Go outside and follow your instinct, then you will be able to find amazing places. Always remember to bring the right kit, skills and sometimes even an accompanying person.
Camilla Elden @camillaelden
I love to explore the mountains in Sigdal where I grew up and my favourite hike is Høgevarde. The hike is easy accessible and the terrain and scenery is beautiful. From the top you have one of the widest views in southern Norway.
You should always look to find the beauty of your local area. The true value lies in the adventure and the best hikes are not always the ones where you need to schedule and plan everything in detail.