Staring out of the office window gazing at Afton and Tennyson Downs makes me think that it is not a bad life being an old outdoor instructor working on the Isle of Wight. Above the ground I can see a wide variety of birds ranging from buzzards to kestrels, and not forgetting the very pretty goldfinches.
I have spent most of my life living and working in the outdoors, and our island, the Isle of Wight, is up there with the best of them when it comes to stunning scenery, dramatic and varied landscape and some of the best surf conditions in UK waters.
This time of year is a great time to get outside and enjoy our island and all the outdoor activities that are on offer. The crowds have gone and the 550 miles of footpaths, 70 miles of coastline are virtually devoid of people. The sea is at its warmest, and there is a lot of late autumnal sunshine around to entice everyone to get outdoors and enjoy the natural environment.
Everybody should access the outdoors – it’s free, on your doorstep and accessible 365 days a year. The Isle of Wight is highly accessible, regardless of age, interests or ability. Most of the beaches are now open for dog walkers and even a large number of the sea front parking meters are covered until February so parking couldn’t be easier!
The footpaths and bridleways are generally well maintained and brilliantly way marked allowing you to plan some excellent rambling routes as well as cycling, mountain biking and horse riding trips.
If you prefer something more adventurous, then a wetsuit could be the way forwards to get out in some fantastic waves to surf, kayak, SUP surf or even some open swimming (sea conditions permitting of course!).
Across the island there are a number of clubs and groups that bring like-minded people together to enjoy outdoor activities if you prefer to live life beyond the living room. As with Adventure Activities, you can also book to explore new environments through guided tours or activities with an instructor-led session.
The benefits of being outdoors and taking part in any type of activity are huge and well documented, even scientifically proven. Being active and connected to natural environments improves your mental, physical and emotional well-being, gets you fit and blows away the cobwebs in a way that TV never does… and it’s a whole load of fun too!
So what are you waiting for?
Get on your walking boots and big bobble hat, or wetsuit and buoyancy aid, and just DO IT!
Oh, and there are also a large number of excellent warm and friendly pubs, hotels and cafes to retire to after your adventures in the outdoors!
Archie McGhie (Senior Instructor, Exponent of the Great Outdoors and 1st time blogger)
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