The Two Blondes, One and Two (Fi Darby and Lucy Atkins), are Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champions and love to encourage people (particularly youngsters) to get outside. They help to run the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, as well as teach navigation skills, lead walks and wild camping trips around Dartmoor. They spoke to us about their love of the outdoors and how you can make the most of your time outside...
1. Wild Night Out is all about encouraging new people to get outside - when and how did you first realise your love for the outdoors?
I (Lucy) was first introduced to the outdoors when my grandparents took me on visits to Dartmoor. We would have picnics, play in the sun and splash about in the River Dart. My real love of being outdoors began as an adult when I started working with youngsters and enjoyed encouraging and enabling them to share my love.
2. What three things do you love most about experiencing the outdoors and why?
The 3 things that the Two Blondes love the most are: the sense of freedom and peace we get from fresh air, the fact that we can sort out most of life’s little problems with quite simple clarity after a day out on the hill, and being able to get a good night’s sleep after a day outside.
3. What are your favourite places in the UK for outdoor activities?
Our favourite place to be outside is most definitely Dartmoor. There’s nothing better than two days walking with a wild camp in between. My second favourite place is the Isles of Scilly. The clean, unpolluted air, the white sandy beaches and turquoise seas never fail to please. Blonde Two loves walking in the Malvern hills, where she spent many happy days as a youngster.
4. What do you think is the main barrier stopping people from getting outside?
There are many things but I think the main one is the constant distraction we get from technology and media. There always seems to be so much to stimulate us that experiencing the peace and quiet of outside seems like a ‘second best’ option to some.
5. What advice would you give someone that wants to spend more time outdoors but is unsure about what to do and where to go?
The first step to enjoying being outside is to forget the car and explore your local area. There are so many green spaces close to our own homes that remain unvisited by us. If you are wanting to become a bit more adventurous then definitely go with someone who knows their stuff. They will teach you the skills that you need to do it safely on your own and help to give you the confidence to do it alone.
6. What benefits do young people gain from outdoor experiences?
The benefits to young people of being outdoors are too many to list! We have worked with children who have grown into strong, resilient people in the classroom, and the workplace afterwards, because of challenges they have overcome outdoors. With an increasing population of young people who are experiencing mental health problems, it is more important than ever to get them outside to feel the benefits of the revitalizing effects of the outdoors. From a renewed focus on exam revision to a boost in general self-confidence, the outdoors will help.
7. What do you think can be done to get children back outside amongst nature again?
Schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award are vital to help give our young people the skills and enthusiasm for the outdoors. Forest schools too have a huge part to play in getting primary aged children having fun outside and setting up a lifelong love of nature.
8. Finally, have you got any good campfire recipes we can try for WildNightOut 2018?
If you knew me (Lucy!), you would know that this question is a bit of a tricky one for me; my cooking skills are somewhat lacking!
You can find out more about The Two Blonde's work in their award-winning blog: