- Environmental Education and Wildlife
- Sled Dog Racing
- Community Farms and Small Holdings
- Camper Van Adventures
- Sailing Adventures
- Shetland Islands
- Cumbria and the Lake District
- Republic of Ireland
- Northern Ireland
- South West
- South East
- Channel Islands
- East Anglia
- North West
- North East
- South Wales
- Mid Wales
- North Wales and Anglesey
- Scottish Highlands and Islands
- Mainland Scotland
Resident Outdoor Dad
About Me & Mine
My name is Simon and I live in the South Pennines. I have two wonderful kids Ella (9) and Joel (4) and am married to Michaela (she wont reveal her age). I have been a walker and climber for a long time and love to share this passion with the family. My kids love a little adventure and we often have an impromptu geography lesson on our travels.
Favourite place in the world:
I have to admit a life time love affair with the West Coast of Scotland, the combination of mountain, sea, islands, prawns and midges can't be rivalled anywhere in the world. Trying to pin it down to a single location is difficult but the family and I are regularly drawn to the Morar/Mallaig coast and the Inner Hebrides. If I was to choose a favourite place for me it would be the summit of Askival on Rum or the Sgurr of Eigg. If I was choose my favourite family place it would be the beach at Invercaimbe croft near Arisaig, looking out over the Hebridean islands.
Favourite things to do outdoors:
Hills, beaches, cliffs, caves are all fascinating places we love to explore, we all like looking at the views and especially the sunsets. Island trips are a must for the whole family, we have a bit of an addiction to Caledonian MacBrayne ferries, Joel even has one I made from Lego in his bedroom. You might find me wandering around hills after dark with head torches looking at the stars, or bivvying out overnight on a mountain ridge in summer. We all love to enjoy everything that our rural areas give, including local culture, crafts and food. We have done a fair bit of mountain scrambling and rock climbing over the years. When it is too wet there is always an indoor climbing wall somewhere to keep the whole family entertained. I like to combine my music playing interests and my outdoor interests. If you are ever driving or walking across the hilly areas of Northern Britain and pass someone playing the Bongos or an African Djembe drum, don't be alarmed it is only me enjoying the acoustics. I always play better with a view!
All this nice weather we have had recently has made me start thinking about some bigger hill walks with Ella and Joel again. We do regularly walk in the hills at all times of year and in all weathers, but there is nothing like a bit of sun to motivate us all. Luckily living where we do in the South Pennines, we are spoilt for choice for hills to climb.
Unfortunately we have had a temporary interruption to the usual outdoor activities in our house. We were about to leave the house for the Monday morning school run, when I heard a "bump bump bump" on the staircase. When I went to see what had happened, I found Ella curled up in the basket at the bottom of the stairs.
I must admit to being a bit of a geek. Train spotting was never really my thing, it always seemed a bit futile standing watching the trains and never actually going anywhere. Besides train platforms are a bit of a dangerous place for young kids. I have however discovered something much more exciting, and something that you can really get the kids involved in whilst visiting some wonderful places – Ferry Spotting.
We all love looking out for wildlife on our travels, we have seen many different creatures in the UK from tiny ants to enormous stags. If you do want to see creatures it is best to get out at sunrise or sunset. On our annual holiday to Pembrokeshire we often go out for evening walks around sunset time, this time we got a big surprise.
High up on the moors above Lancashire there are some unusual sights. No I don’t mean abandoned cars but something much more exciting, in fact so unusual that Ella and Joel thought that aliens had landed. A few years back, Lancashire County Council commissioned and built a set of artworks high up on the hills with wonderful names such as the Atom, the Singing Ring Tree and the Halo.
It is a well known fact that having young children makes you forget things. When they are very young, it takes you three hours to get everything to go to the beach. When you get there, there is always something that you have forgotten. Never mind, you can always improvise and use whatever nature has provided for you.
Ok, I know that anytime we eat Chinese food Ella and Joel sit there picking the mushrooms out whilst complaining how horrible they are. Despite this fact, Ella and Joel love mushrooms. They like the types that grow outside, in the hills and woods of our wonderful countryside. It doesn’t matter where you live or what time of year, there are often some fungi to be found on a walk and a trip we took a few weeks ago didn’t disappoint.
We have just returned from a wonderful week’s holiday in Argyll. It is a great place to visit with mountains, sea, forests and plenty besides. We visited an amazing place called Pucks Glen which is near Dunoon. If you want to start the visit off in style, take the Calmac ferry from Greenock to Dunoon and head north along the A815.
I dont know about you but we are all missing the snow. OK I know it causes a nightmare for driving, shopping and working but all that aside it is a great deal of fun. Over the last few years we seem to be having some proper winter weather for once and admit it, a day off work playing in the snow with the kids is quite a laugh.
I am probably the only parent in the world who has never seen a Harry Potter Film or read a Harry Potter Book. This is especially ironic because the family and I have spent many great holidays around the area where lots of scenes from the movies were shot. The West Coast of Scotland is one of our favourite destinations and there are so many things to see and do, especially if you are a fan of the Hogwarts Express.