Written by guest blogger and OS GetOutside Champion Belinda Dixon
There’ll be fewer people in their homes and beds on July 1st. That’s because this Saturday they will all be taking part in Wild Night Out. This year Ordnance Survey is backing Britain's biggest outdoor adventure, which is designed to inspire people of all ages and all abilities to do something active in our great outdoors. Why might you like to give it a try? Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion Belinda Dixon has come up with five reasons on why you will love having a Wild Night Out.
People of all ages LOVE it!
No prizes for guessing who the person on the left is. And – as you can see – all these decades later, being in the outdoors still makes me smile. In fact, I call that expression a GetOutside Grin. You can see it on the faces of people of all ages – from pre-school to pensioners, there’s something similar about the gleam in alfresco eyes. Even in a world where people are so much more used to posing for photos and are adept at arranging their features in a flattering way (someone show me how), photos taken on mountainsides and beaches are often different. You’ll spot it in the scenery, yes, but even more because there’s something unstaged about the grins – something more alive about GetOutside eyes.
Think back to one stand-out, really happy memory. The chances are it relates to your or your child’s childhood. And there’s a fair chance it involved being outside. I can’t honestly say I remember that much (or think that fondly) about getting up – as a child – on weekdays; getting dressed and heading off for school. But I can remember the time my Dad took us off to hear the dawn chorus. We were up way before dawn to walk what felt like miles to an orchard, where we stomped around in wellies trying to keep warm. And then there was a sudden stillness and the sweet, swelling songs of birds. So maybe making memories is about breaking from routines and going somewhere different – even if it’s really close to home. It’s about spending time together, without digital distractions and day-to-day pressures. It’s about being playful and child-like and ready to laugh. Which are all things we tend to do when we GetOutside.
Getting More into the Time
I bet it’s happened to you – you’ve been away for a short while and someone says: “I can’t believe we’ve only been here two days, we’ve done so much!” Somehow you’ve crammed much more in. It can happen when you go abroad, discover new places and see new things. But it can also happen when you explore closer to home – crest a hill, see a new view. Simply by sleeping under canvas or in a bivvy bag – even in the garden – you’re transforming your night time routine. Everything is novel, so you notice each aspect more. The result? You feel you’ve done more; because you have done more!
Challenges bring their own rewards
It’s often relatively easy to get into bed. Building somewhere to sleep each night takes a little more time. Putting up a tent, wrestling with guy ropes, inflating a roll matt, lighting a stove, is all likely to involve more effort. Which means you value your temporary accommodation more when you’re in it, and you certainly value your warm, dry bed more when you get home. And often camping is more than a little empowering; of course you can do it. Add a wild camping or bivving element – add to the challenge – and you might feel even more rewards. Of many excellent camping trips, the ones that really stand out are those that involved hiking with kit onto Dartmoor (once on the Summer Solstice and once mid-week) and a first solo bivvy – for me a big challenge, which really brought rewards.
You’re Immersed in Nature
Being really immersed in something can make for a more powerful experience – the film industry knows this, hence ‘surround sound’. And we know it too: being in the sea makes you feel more connected to it than just looking at it; cycling a road means you really notice the gradient; navigating along a trail is infinitely more powerfulthan just looking at it on a map. Which means a wild night out is likely to have much more impact – looking out for nocturnal wildlife from a hillside or the garden is more immersive than spotting it on TV from the couch. You’re also more connected to your environment in other ways. If you’re young then getting outside might mean staying up late. If you’re older, it might mean going to bed with the sun, or defying the darkness with a fire. Perhaps it’ll see you toasting marshmallows late at night – you’re allowed, because you’re camping. You’ll be swapping duvets for sleeping bags, doors for zips, and torches for bedside lights. You might be gazing up at the stars from your garden, the moors, a hillside or a sand dune – wherever you are, you’re likely to be wondering at the world.
Wild Night Out encourages people to link up with loved ones and friends and come together to enjoy an outdoor activity on Saturday 1st July 2017. It’s also raising money for two charities: Youth Adventure Trust and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. For more information, to register an interest and to share your experiences, visit: