If there is one thing we’ve discovered during lockdown, it’s a new-found appreciation for the outdoors, and the nature that surrounds us. During the pandemic, spending time in our local environment has become pretty much our only option for ‘something to do’ at the weekend, and we’ve all been getting our exercise with daily walks just to get out of the house! Nature seems to have flourished during this time and we definitely seem to have a greater awareness and appreciation of the world around us. We can’t help but notice the leaves starting to bud on the trees, the snowdrops springing up along the edges of the path, the longer days and lighter nights - is Spring finally here at last?!
There are so many benefits to spending time in the outdoors - not just for physical health but mental too. Being outdoors can help improve your mood - something as simple as breathing in the fresh air or feeling the sun on your face can make you feel more positive, and has been found to help reduce stress or feelings of anxiety and depression. Taking some time out from our busy lives or working at home makes us feel more relaxed and can also aid a more restful sleep at night.
You can also improve many aspects of your physical health by getting outdoors and becoming more active - walking is one of the best forms of exercise there is, and it’s very accessible for most people. Getting out and about to explore your local area helps you make new connections - not only with the nature on your doorstep but with other people! A simple ‘hello’ when passing fellow dog walkers or cyclists connects us to our community and can help improve confidence and self-esteem.
One person who has been embracing life in the outdoors is our former Learning Manager Anna Danby, who, after relocating to the Highlands with her family, has set up her own tour guiding business! Wild Roots Highland Guiding takes adventurers to quieter, less explored areas of the Highlands, with the aim of immersing you in nature and talking about how and why the forms around us exist. We spoke with Anna about her experiences of working at Dynamic Earth, and why she was inspired to start her own business -
“I have always been fascinated by the natural world. I loved science, especially biology, at school and continued this interest right through my studies. Shortly after I finished my post grad I saw a job advert for a Learning Officer at Dynamic Earth. I remember being so excited to apply for this. It was just what i was looking for, an opportunity to share my passion with others as well as continuing to learn about our wonderful planet.”
Working as part of the Learning Team enabled me to learn so much about how to teach and inspire others and I especially enjoyed leading groups outdoors. It was always great to see the joy on children's faces when we went hunting butterflies in Holyrood Park and how engaged people of all ages and abilities were when drawing pictures of the Arthur's Seat volcano. I never imagined I would spend the best part of the next 10 years working at Dynamic Earth but the time passed in a flash."
She continues, “In 2019 I became a mum and this, combined with a long held desire to move to the Highlands meant that, with sadness, I decided it was time to leave. When my daughter was 3 months old we moved to the West Highlands. It is a wonderful lifestyle to be able to walk out your front door and be in the mountains. Something that i have been even more grateful for over the past year.
“Since moving I completed my Mountain Leader qualification. This expertise combined with everything that I learnt at Dynamic Earth has enabled me to set up my own guiding company. I lead mountain journeys that are all about experiencing the natural and human stories of landscapes and spending time connecting with wild spaces. I believe that active experiences in nature are vital for our mental and physical health, they are also great fun! I look forward to exploring the place I now call home with others and continuing to share my passion as we walk together through wild landscapes.'
Once we are allowed to travel freely again, there are many stunning and beautiful parts of Scotland that many of us would love to see more of - why not check out Think Health, Think Nature and get some ideas for your next outdoor adventure or have a look at Visit Scotland's website and plan for a summer ‘staycation’? Anna has also kindly given Dynamic Earth customers the chance to experience her outdoor tours at a discounted price - explore the unexplored and get off the beaten track on a journey of discovery with Wild Roots Guiding. Just enter the code Dynamic15 when booking to receive 15% off the cost of your tour.
Or, in the meantime, you could take part in a virtual walking challenge around Scotland - or perhaps somewhere further afield! You bank ‘miles’ by being active in your local area and you can then explore the natural beauty of the virtual walk you have chosen online - see the sights and check off milestones along the way!
There are lots of ways different to embrace the outdoors, and the benefits are well worth it - so why not get outside and get adventuring!
(All Photo Credits - Wild Roots Highland Guiding 2021)