Outside & Active's Autumn Guide

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autumn @beoutsidebeactive


welcome and


Autumn is well and truly here in the UK. It seemed like we were finally getting to enjoy some of the Summer sunshine through September and then one day... it was autumn, with strong winds, heavy rain and well...more opportunities to play in the greatest playground... the great outdoors. In this edition, I'm excited to share stories from our new contributing editors who share their experiences, advice and top tips to keep you outside and active this autumn.

Don't miss our amazing competition with Montane to win one of their Fireball jackets, then read all about Club La Santa if you want to escape to Winter sun! We have some stellar interviews lined up for you to enjoy with the likes of Dame Kelly Holmes, Anna McNuff and Jamie McDonald as well as more great tips from our editing team. Enjoy the issue. Matt Coyne Editor


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Tag us in your favourite moment outside when you felt most alive with #stolenmoment on Facebook or Instagram Follow us on @beoutsidebeactive and @montaneofficial Multiple entries count Entries close 31st October 2021

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dame kelly holmes

Autumn Activities to enjoy with

your kids

At the Youth Adventure Trust we love autumn. The woods are our playground; sticks, berries, leaves, sycamore helicopters, pine cones and conkers provide the perfect ingredients for a season of outdoor fun and adventure. Here are our top 5 activities to get your young people outside and active over the coming months:

Den Building Dens come in all shapes and sizes, but they all start with a good tree. You are looking for one with a natural fork in the lower branches, a long sturdy horizontal branch or lots of knobbly nooks and crannies to balance your sticks against. Use the trees branches and search for some long, sturdy sticks [don’t break any branches off living trees] to create the frame for your den and start building. Make sure they are well wedged in so they don’t topple over when you get in and weave the more bendy sticks in between to create cover and walls.

Natural Art Take a minute to stand outside in the autumn and think about all the different colours, shapes and textures that you can see around you. Use your environment to inspire a piece of natural art. Make patterns using different coloured leaves and take a photo of your handiwork so you have a permanent reminder.

Photo by Markus Spiske

Go undercover

ACtive kids

Have fun with the piles of leaves which are falling at the moment and take Hide and Seek to the next level. Go undercover - get really well hidden and camouflaged outside in a natural place and challenge a family member or friend to come and find you.

Mini Rafting

Who can resist picking up a stick when you’re out for a walk? Woodland walks are so much more enjoyable when there is a purpose behind them, so put those collected sticks to good use by building mini rafts and racing them in a nearby stream or a big puddle left after those autumnal rainy days.

Campfires A campfire warms your soul and your fingers on a crisp autumn evening. Nothing beats sitting round a fire sharing stories, toasting marshmallows or simply staring into the flames.


Jenny-Anne Dexter Contributing Editor

Reasons to love the


Autumn is a season packed with warm colours and nature’s abundance all around us. Before hygge comes a season packed with opportunity for quality time outdoors. Here are five reasons to make the most of the autumn and stave off those Winter blues for a little while longer. Reason One: The mild weather Most of us have buddies we run with, who are either summer or winter runners. For half of the year, most of us suffer conditions that don’t suit our style or mood. Autumn gives us the opportunity to meet halfway, so arrange a social run in the mild autumn weather, where it’s not too hot, not too cold but just right. Reason Two: Prepping for the dipping seasons If you’re planning your first winter in cold water, this is the time to get dipping! Immersing yourself every two weeks or so will better prepare your body as the water temperature drops to around 4c by February. Although cold water immersion is said to have multiple health benefits, cold water shock is very real, so best get dipping now, for your own safety!

Reason Three: Alone time For the last eighteen months, people have been absolutely everywhere outdoors and it’s seemed almost impossible to get some space to yourself, however far you venture from civilisation. This might be the first opportunity since Spring last year to grab yourself some outdoor solace. Find yourself an isolated spot by the water, deep into the trees or up a steep hillside and enjoy some quiet contemplation.

Reason Four: Added forage value Whether cycling, hiking or trail running, always carry a lightweight bag to collect some of nature’s tasty surprises. Whether nuts, berries or other hanging fruit, there’s a feast out there ripe for the plucking. And it’s all healthy too, so if you can’t wait to get home, feel free to snack away immediately! Reason Five: Colourful at dawn and dusk Mornings and evenings are just right length in the autumn. It’s still relatively warm, and there are glorious sunrises and sunsets to seek out at hours that aren’t ungodly to most. With the sun rising between 6 and 7.30am, there’s time for a sunrise jog before work begins, or a destress sprint after you’re done for the day. Either way, mealtime awaits you on your return. Win – win, surely?

expert advice

Running in winter doesn’t need to be a chore

5 products we love The latest book from adventurer Anna McNuff tells the tale of her 3,000km journey through the wilds of New Zealand. annamcnuff.com

Books, buggies, hats, socks and a treadmill to try for those darker autumn days.

Montane Fireball - works hard at keeping you warm, but easy and light to wear. We look forward to wearing this more on colder adventures! montane.com

Bringing the outside in, for those days when the weather really turns. Roger Black's treadmills offer great value for money and the fold flat version is perfect if you are low on space. rogerblackfitness.com

e We love these "leav nothing but e footprints" hats. Us the code OUTSIDE for 15% off runr.com

The new lightweight Cybex Zeno has been a grea t addition to our runs, especially with the ne w "tow" set up, freeing our arms to run! Full revie w coming online soon. Cybex-Online

the Made for autumn, compression latest kept socks from CEP dry our feet feeling and blister-free. cepsports.co.uk

Laura Mould Contributing Editor


5 tips for choosing


We all know that waterproofs are a must when you're exploring the outdoors. When autumn rolls around, it's even more important to make sure your outerwear is up to the task, as we head into the wetter and colder months. Whether you need a jacket for keeping dry while hiking in wet weather or something to protect you on a rainy cycle ride, the right waterproof gear can make a big difference in how much fun you have out there! Here are our top 6 tips for what to look for when you’re buying waterproofs: Waterproofing Sounds obvious right? But you want your waterproofs to be just that. Waterproofing is measured in hydrostatic head (HH). The higher the number, the greater the waterproof the fabric is. 10-15,000mm would suffice for a light rain hike where 1520,000mm of HH is recommended for heavier rain conditions.

Breathability Whilst waterproofing measures how much rain may get in, breathability measures how much moisture your garment will let out. You don't want to feel like a boil-in-a-bag kipper, so breathability is important in keeping you dry on the inside. Breathability is measured in g/m2/24hours which tells you how many grams of moisture vapour can pass through a square metre of material in 24 hours. the higher the number (ie 15,000) the better breathability. You'll also find additional features like mesh pockets or pit zips to provide extra ventilation.

Additional Features for me, a stiffened peak on the hood is important so that the front doesn't flop down and release a cascade of water down my face. Likewise, I prefer velcro adjustable sleeves over the elasticated ones to help create a better seal at my wrists. Non hikers (climbers for example) may opt for a larger hood to cover their helmet. It's personal preference what works for you and what features you'll need, so it's important to head to your local retailer to try, touch and feel all of the options. Durability As a long-distance hiker, this one is key for me. If you are planning on carrying a heavy pack or going the extra mile, then think about durability.

Weight Generally speaking, the lighter the better so that you can spend more time outdoors and less time lugging heavy kit around.

Eco Credentials We all want to protect the environment and minimise our impact on our wonderful world, so the best waterproof jacket is likely the one you already have.

Lighter weight jackets are generally made with thinner and less durable fabric, which may snag more easily on those great British hedges.

With your waterproofs however, there is a balance to be had. Those jackets that are more durable and have a higher waterproof rating (HH) and more features, tend to be heavier.

Provided you look after them carefully, waterproof jackets should last many years. But if you don’t own one or really do need to replace your existing one, consider one of the many waterproofs that are made from recycled plastics and that are PFC-free. Many outdoor clothing brands have initiatives to repair and reuse old kit (such as Patagonia’s Worn Wear) or consider buying second hand from sites such as eBay – often you’ll find a bargain and end up with a better jacket than you could afford new, whilst stopping items going into landfill.

They may also be more susceptible to wear in heavy use areas, such as the shoulders where your pack creates pressure. Waterproofs that are made of membrane-lined fabric tend to strike a good balance between durability, weight, waterproofing & breathability.

Our advice here is to aim for the lightest jacket that has the features and specification you need, at a price that you can afford. Sounds simple, right?!

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Just press play

In conversation with

Anna McNuff & Adventureman plus special guest...Storm!

Use the code OUTSID E for 15% off at runr.co .uk

Click on the image to download for free, our Autumn Activity Bingo, to help keep you outside and active this season. Tag your posts with #outsideactive on social and show us what you have been up to.

Snow Snowboarding and

mental health Overwhelmed, tired, and sick of it all. This is how we all felt at the end of the last lockdown. Over the previous 18 months, we have all been through nothing short of a Disney rollercoaster of work-life and mental health balance. Stuck in 4 walls with the everpresent thought of the end of the world. It was hard. I found myself running loops around my neighborhood at different points, thinking about the unattainable mountain escape. Physical activity is mentally rewarding. However, running just didn’t do it for me. If only I could go snowboarding now - I thought. I spent most of my life being a professional snowboarder; finishing my career 3 years ago was not easy. My discipline was slalom. Competing for Russia, the last few years of my career, I had to get involved with many government relations, which took the fun out of it. It is difficult enough to live a highoctane life of an elite athlete, let alone dealing with the power structures. It was a mental challenge that almost broke me. The power struggle between myself and the government and the ever-growing performance anxiety led to inevitable crisis and depression.

On a hard day, I would take a few laps alone on my snowboard. Repetitive motions of turning left and right, the familiar tension in a snowboard, and that predictable kick out of the turn that you know is a combination of the right plate and board stiffness would drive me back to sanity. After the laps, I would change in an alpine lodge, have a schnitzel with lingonberry sauce, maybe a cappuccino. Get warm. And it would all get better.

Snowboarding, skiing, hiking, and surfing are silent sports because one can perform them alone and without motorized vehicles. The main reason I stuck around snowboarding was freedom. Like learning to ride a bike, snowboarding was my first way of escapism. Something that adults are really into, as I learned later. I could ride to my favorite tunes, ride quietly dwelling on new problems to solve or ride the pain away with tears pooling in my goggles. The slope was my safe space. Later, when I quit sports, I would read how my excolleagues would boast about ‘another beautiful day in the office’ under a photo of a pristine velvety white slope. I cringed as I knew that being that close to nature in my everyday life and calling the glaciers my office was a privilege. A privilege I took for granted.

I remember this once we had a 3-day snowfall in Sochi, and the mountain top was closed for the public. We had some connections with the local avalanche patrol, and they took us to the top and outback, where we took the first line right next to the avalanche guns and down the steep couloir. Whoa, I thought, this is life. This is real snowboarding. That feeling when you forget that your phone exists. When you don’t want to be anywhere else in the world. This is what real snowboarding does to you.

Why does snowboarding work so well for our mental health? I think the key is silence and isolation in parallel with physical fatigue. This combo calms the mind and untangles the overflowing thought process. It’s a sport where one can be outdoors for extended periods without wasting too much energy. In my experience, it is absolutely impossible to feel sad while being on a snowboard, especially on a powder day. This might sound like a cliche, but powder days make life worth living.

In any weird situation - go snowboarding. Words by Alena Zavarzina Instagram/superzina

Running Be prepared for

Autumn running We asked two of our contributing editors for their top tips on what to wear to be warm and be seen this autumn when being outside and active. Footwear Make sure you have the right footwear for the terrain you’re running on. No trail shoes are 100% safe on wet, chalky, and mossy ground. Trail shoes with deep lugs in the wetter months, will still give your feet protection on the trails from sharp rocks, flint and to handle muddy paths but could act like ice skates on wet or frosty roads. Stick to grass verges if you have to. Plan your route for darker runs Download your GPS route to your watch or phone and if possible recce it beforehand in daylight. Let someone in your household know where you are going as well as using safety features on Strava or OS maps to allow others to track you. Also download What3Words in case you get lost as it enables you to be found easily.

Layer Up Autumn can sometimes be a tricky time of year when it comes to deciding what to wear. Some days are still quite mild, whilst others make you feel like it’s already Winter.. Wear extra layers but keep them light so you can easily take them off mid run and tie them round your waist if you get too hot. Be Seen Wear bright, high vis reflective colours, white, yellow, and orange are more visible. Flashing arm/ankle/shoe straps to stand out. Training Work on your balance, proprioception, ankle stability and technique to help improve your reaction and responsiveness to the ground. Lift your feet, lighten your foot strike. The heavier you sound the more likely you’ll have to work harder to lift your feet over those bumps in the path. Get a light If you’re running early in the morning or later in the evening and you are running in areas that are not very well lit (trails or side streets for example) then you will also need a torch of some sort. Head torch, chest torch or if you have nothing else, use your phones light. It will help you to see what lays ahead, but also alert others to your presence.

Debbie Watts Jules Scudder Contributing Editors


Robert Brackstone Contributing Editor


your running

Including hills in your run training, whether this might be as repetition efforts or selecting generally hilly routes is a great way to build strength and endurance either as the key foundation to a training block, or as an essential ingredient of your varied training plan alongside speed and interval sets. Here are six reasons why.

Stop the clock Ditch the times, forget about pacing, and focus on the pure pleasure of your run! The harder work of running uphill naturally builds strength in the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves, whilst you engage your core and upper body effectively to ascend and descend with maximum efficiency. Hills ensure a fab conditioning workout at any pace and allow you to stop living life on the clock!

Better Technique

Enjoy the view

Running uphill promotes forefoot striking, arm engagement, driving through the knee, and encourages better posture. So before you know it you will become a more technically efficient runner, without specifically working on or thinking about your form and having enjoyed your session more. Just focus on getting to the top!

Hills mean height which means a chance to see your surroundings from a completely different perspective and find inspirational views aplenty. I live in Kent, so there is nothing quite like running the ridges of the Kent Downs as a cold dawn light wakens the earth bringing all the autumn colours and glory of the land to life. You might even find your mind runs away with you to take your mind off your aching legs.

Take it off road The best hill training can often be found off road, across the fields and through the woods that roads avoid. Not only will you feel better connected with the great outdoors and more knowledgeable about your local area as you find new places to run and explore, the varied terrain will improve ankle strength and flexibility and further strengthen the valuable core muscles that helps us as maintain technique as weariness sets in.

Stay warm as the temperature drops Running on hills elevates the heart rate, making it a fabulous cardiovascular work out at any pace, even as you slow your training down in the off season as you might if you are a triathlete like me. Hills get the blood pumping to keep you warm, cosy and able to enjoy your run even on the coldest autumn nights and as winter chills fast close in.

Become Powerful Studies have shown that runners who regularly run hills develop a greater concentration of aerobic enzymes in their quads, allowing them to train at greater intensities, for longer periods without fatigue. More aerobic power in your quads also encourages greater knee lift and leg turnover thus increasing your speed. Hills help you be more powerful, improve your technique and enable you to enjoy your run more whilst connecting with your environment, and give a better overall conditioning and aerobic workout than running on the flat, even at a slower pace. What’s not to like? So as the leaves fall this autumn, why not plan your routes to include some hills and elevate your training to a new level.

Shanya Jayatilaka Contributing Editor


Top tips for darker days

buggy running

Autumn is a perfect time to embrace new views, muddy puddles and warm cuddles with your little ones at the end of your cooler buggy runs. Contributing Editor Shanya helps share her top tips to get you through autumn running with your co-pilot. -I run with my two kids, now aged 2 and 4 and a half. These are my 5 must haves for autumn Buggy Running.

Layer Up Let's face it, it's no fun if you or your co-pilot is cold on your run. Though I call myself a tropical being (I’m Sri Lankan), throughout most of the hot summer days I struggled to get out on time for runs. Then, as soon as a cool breeze arrives, I hunt down layers for us all. Take a lightweight reflective jacket for you (it's handy having a spare space in your buggy sometimes!) and for the kids, I always take two lightweight coats in autumn along with a jumper with a hood if possible. It is time to dig out that footmuff you packed away or buy one and attach it to the buggy so even if you rush out on a run without layers the footmuff will keep your little ones warm. I find the footmuffs with the bottom zips work better for us, as the kids are a bit older and taller. Muddy shoes can dangle out the bottom which is handy for post park or mud squishing activities.

Rain Cover Forgot to pack in layers? All you need to do is whip out your trusty rain cover. Just make sure you fold it up as small as you can and always keep in the buggy. The rain cover will protect your little ones not only from the pitter patter raindrops that will surely arrive in autumn, but it will also keep away unwanted cool breeze and the odd gusty winds that may come out of nowhere.

Be seen - pimp your buggy As the days get shorter again, it is important to be seen. We have got SeeNBSafe buggy lights that are brilliant to light up the buggy and entertain the kids. There are loads of options to from bike spoke lights to buggy lights. My eldest absolutely loved getting the buggy ready for autumn last year, I suspect he will show more excitement this year too. I also found getting out of the house in autumn was strangely quicker than in summer. Perhaps because my eldest felt more involved in the process.

Drinks and Snacks As always when leaving the house with young kids pack some snacks. It doesn’t matter what season we are in. From the mighty bread stick to my new favourite, Frubes, to the miniTupperware box of cashew nuts, snacks are essential for a run out with my kids. We also take a couple of innocent smoothie juice packets on our runs and having these available has helped carry on with quite a few runs that would’ve stopped in under 30 minutes.

Entertainment The buggy lights do entertain the kids for a while, but we’ve also got a little phone holder that attaches onto the bumper bar. The kids will merrily watch some nursery rhymes, Bluey, a movie, or DJ our runs with their super cool tunes like 5,6,7,8 (by steps). I’ve also recently come across “fidget toys” my kids 2 and 4.5 absolute love the pop it fidget toy! It’s basically bubble wrap that never runs out of popping fun! Hours of entertainment, or at least 10 peaceful minutes. You can tell we have a lot of fun on our runs.


What's in my bouldering

kit bag By Sindy Cain



A bouldering chalk bag, also known as a chalk bucket, an essential piece of equipment in any climbers bag.

Although one could climb barefoot, a robust pair of climbing shoes is fairly easily forgotten as you rush out the door, so check you've packed your favourites!


Climbing tape helps to support your joints, tendons, fingers and nasty flappers (which is loose skin for the unaware!).

BOULDER PAD A boulder pad or two, the bigger your pad, the more climbing friends you'll quickly find joining you.

NAIL CLIPPERS Nail clippers are an essential piece of kit for any climb - you can't climb with long nails.

CLIMBSKIN BALM This is really hand pre and post climb. Apply at least 1-2 hours pre climb and it will help to hydrate your skin, preventing splits and reducing sweating. After climbing, wash your hands and apply again to hydrate your skin.

RESISTANCE BAND Really good for an upper body stretch before you climb. I also pack a portable hand-board to get your fingers boulder ready.


@FamilyAdventureSeekers Contributing Editor



We absolutely love Scotland, it’s wild, rugged the scenery takes your breath away plus there’s so many fun things to do. We had a place to stay near Glen Coe which is one of the most stunning and spectacular places in the world and definitely worth a visit. This article covers what we got up to with our kids aged 5 & 8 and some top tips for you to consider for your own trip.

Research Before we left I did a lot of research, I’m a research queen! I like to know where I’m going & what we can do as I have massive FOMO! I never plan what we actually do each day, I just like to know what my options are. I like to include a few paid for excursions plus pretty places for walks where the kids can explore and be free.


For Scotland I never plan for ‘bad weather’ activities, you don’t go to Scotland expecting it to be hot and sunny. So we go armed with practical clothing and venture out into the wilderness whatever the weather. I make sure everyone has a couple of pairs of comfy shoes and waterproof coats plus lots of warm layers, especially for kids. We had a car whilst we were in Scotland so we always make sure we have spare clothing and shoes Midges Lots of people talk about the midges, how with us just in case. they are a nightmare in summer. Maybe we were lucky but we didn’t encounter any and rarely have on our trips. You’re most likely to find them near water or warmer days. Pack some repellent just in case, we use Avon ’Skin so Soft’ oil spray, it’s just a regular oil but seems to work, plus it doesn’t have that nasty smell and you can use it on the kids.

Below is a snapshot into @FamilyAdventureSeekers five day road trip to Glencoe. Read the full article on the website here.

Day One First day we visited Tralee beach, we parked by a lovely little cafe called Ben Lora Cafe which we had lunch in first, it was nice and reasonably priced. From there it’s a 10min walk to the beach along a track behind the cafe. The beach is mainly stony with some sandy patches where the kids built sandcastles, there was hardly anyone there so we pretty much had it to ourselves - well apart from the nosey seal that watched us from just off the shore the entire time we were there, they’re very inquisitive and want to know what you’re up to!

Day Four Probably our favourite day, we went on the ski lift in Glencoe. We were a bit apprehensive about how we’d get the kids on & off the lift but the staff there were amazing, full of banter and so friendly. The views from the ski lift were unbelievable, the kids weren’t scared in the slightest. When you reach the top there’s a tiny little toilet block and plenty of paths to follow for walks. We took the most obvious path that led us past a stream that the kids played in for ages. We’d pre-booked this too, although I did see lots of people rocking up without booking and getting on just fine. It’s £40 for a family of 4 ticket. I’m sure it won’t be long until we visit Scotland again, if I had it my way we’d be there tomorrow, Scotland definitely has my heart. Follow @familyadventureseekers for pictures, videos and tips on planning your next family adventure.

Zoe Homes | Splodz Blogz Contributing Editor


Have you got the time for

one hour outside? We all also know how beneficial spending time outside is for us. We know, because science tells us, that moving our bodies (even just a little bit) outside, being in nature, in the fresh air, in the natural light, is good for us. It does wonders for body, mind and soul – good for physical health as well as mental health, good for our relationships, good for our decision making, good for our productivity, good for our energy levels and sleep patterns, and lots more besides. We should be outside, beyond the walls, where we can smell, feel, hear, and touch the real world. At least for a little bit of time each day. For me, getting outside, spending time in the countryside – whether it be hauling my somewhat unfit body up a big hill, removing my shoes and socks for a paddle in the cold ocean, or finding a quiet spot to enjoy a moment to myself and a flask of tea, is all about seeing the views with my own eyes. Rivers and trees, rolling hills, the ocean (especially the ocean), cloudy skies, wildlife and everything else, look great in photographs on social media and in magazines. But they’re even more amazing in person. And I live to see as many views with my own eyes as possible.

Even with my deep love of great views, and as a proud Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion, I can admit that I don’t always spend time outdoors on a daily basis. And so, One Hour Outside is a challenge I have set myself – and you – to get up, outside and active, every day. With One Hour Outside, I am hoping to encourage people to leave the comfort of their desk, sofa or kitchen and go outside for a little bit of "me" time every single day.

One hour outside is doable most days if we choose to. It might be before work, at lunch time, or in the evening or broken up through the day. It could be walking, cycling, or indeed sitting enjoying the fresh air. It could involve running errands, eating or drinking coffee. It might even involve going on an expedition, playing a team sport or doing something you have never done before. Whatever it is, it needs to be outside. To give you a bit of encouragement, each November I run a 30-day challenge to see if we can all do just that… spend One Hour Outside every day for a month. I choose November specifically because it is a notoriously dark and damp month, we’re tired, and it’s easy to give in and hibernate. I mean, if you can spend time outside every day in November, you will very quickly build a habit year-round. It doesn’t have to be way out there; it can be in your own town or garden. It could be your job, your commute, or happen to fit in with your current daily routine. It can be from your own front door, or your office door, the door of your car service centre when you’re getting new tyres, or any other door you happen to be behind. It doesn’t have to involve specialist equipment. Although make sure you know when it should. It can be an adventure. But you don’t have to push your limits, crawl on your knees, or work so hard you’re aching the next day. You just have to go out there and experience the outdoors in your own way. Spend one hour outside. Not because it’s pleasant and happy – even though it is – but because that’s where the meat of life is. You will soon notice the difference it makes. Get more from life with fresh air and natural light, not to mention those views that you cannot fail but fall in love with.

Share your One Hour Outside stories, experiences and photographs using #OneHourOutside on your favourite social media. Let’s spread the word and make getting outside normal again, more of a habit and less of an occasion.

Laura Mould Contributing Editor



Books to inspire The best way to explore the outdoors is by immersing yourself in it! But, if you're not sure where to start or what adventures to try next, these 5 books will inspire you. From hiking trails and mountain summits, to exploring new campfire cuisine and inspirational runners - this list has something for everyone. Read on for our top picks in adventure literature!

Walking – Lost on the Appalachian Trail Kyle Rohrig. The success of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and the subsequent movie starring Reese Witherspoon, inspired many to take on a thur-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. But it’s lesser-known cousin, the Appalachian Trail is equally as impressive, running 2190 miles from Georgia to Maine. Kyle’s story of his epic hike is not particularly well-known but has been one of my favourite reads of the last year. He tells his story with humour and a perfect blend of nature and people. I couldn’t help but fall for his little dog, Katana, and found myself rooting for him to continue, despite all the challenges that this ordinary person faced.

Running – In It For the Long Run: Breaking Records and Getting FKT Damien Hall As a very average (well, probably slightly worse than average!) runner myself, who has dabbled in the world of ultramarathon running I hugely enjoyed this book. Damien Hall manages to strike the balance between ‘normal bloke’ and ultra-endurance athlete beautifully, with wit, humility, and brutal honesty. And it’s not just for runners. Anyone with an interest in being outdoors and active will enjoy this read and no doubt find themselves unable to put it down.

Camping – Tiny Campsites: 80 Small but Perfect Places to Pitch by Dixie Wills Often, I find myself hankering for that wild camping feeling, but without the downsides that wild camping brings (pitching late, leaving early, seeking permission, and so on). In those instances, I turn to this book. Full of lovely tiny campsites that offer peaceful and beautiful camping, in quiet locations. Each one I have stayed at has not disappointed! And the book is chock full of useful information (including the allimportant nearby pubs!) along with an OS map to guide you to the campsite location.You’ll definitely be inspired to pack your tent and head out after a few pages.

Climbing – The Push by Tommy Caldwell This book is the story of his attempt to free climb Yosemite’s vertical, 3000-foot Dawn Wall and become the first person to do so. As someone who is scared of heights, I spent most of my time reading this book with clammy hands and heart palpitations – it’s so good you feel like you’re there (unfortunately for me!). For me though, what was really inspiring was that the book gave an insight into Tommy as a person – the challenges he’d faced to get there and the motivations for the climb. It’s also a reminder of our own mortality and encourages a ‘do it today, not tomorrow’ attitude.

Eat Outdoors – Food for Free by Richard Mabey This pocket-sized guide is a great book to take with you on your countryside walks. It’s split into four categories with plants, berries, mushrooms and seafood (including seaweeds and shellfish) and even has some super recipes that you can cook up on your campfire or stove after a day’s foraging. There is a calendar to show you what foods are in season and when, so you can plan your feasts. And even if you don’t end up cooking what you find, it’s a great tool to expand your knowledge of plants and more, so you can impress your friends whilst out and about.

Bonus Book

Microadventures – Local Discoveries for Great Escapes by Alastair Humphries Full of inspiration for microadventures (adventures that are close to home, cheap, simple and short) this book never fails to prompt me to get outdoors.

Sindy Cain Contributing Editor


Get lost...

together With the UK’s great outdoors bursting with breathtaking adventure amidst a backdrop of nature’s autumnal beauty, here are some of my top picks for romantic adventures this autumn.

Love is in the air Fancy zooming alongside your partner on the fastest zip line in the world at speeds of 100mph covering 1.5km while taking in unbeatable views of Snowdonia? Head to Zip World in North Wales on Velocity 2 for an experience like no other!

Drive, Explore, Sleep? Make the most of the south coast by hiring individually converted Land Rover Defenders with quality camping and gear for two with Cornwall Defender Days. Giving you the flexibility to drive and explore the great stretches of the Jurassic Coast.

An Active Break How Stean Gorge in the Yorkshire Dales is a spectacular limestone ravine, and the perfect spot for abseiling, gorge walking, rock climbing, canoeing and cosy local pubs dressed in candlelight when the day is done.

Big into drama? 1.If dramatic settings are your thing, head over to the jaw-dropping Honister Pass in the centre of the Lake District for hikes, via ferreta extreme and an infinity bridge that doesn’t scrimp on views.

Isle of Man Exploring Isle of Man has so much to offer for active couples. Coasteering is pretty big on this Isle and with so many places to explore and a rugged coastline like no other its hard not to be swept up in its romance, including the only UK provider of the Twilight GloPaddleboarding experience. Seeing whales, dolphins and sea lions is just an added bonus.


You don't have to train all winter in the dark

enjoy the sun at Club La Santa

The thought of going for a run in the wintertime is unappealing. It’s cold, dark, and sometimes icy. However, you don’t have to dread those lonely winter runs. There is a way to escape. Get out of the cold and wet of the UK winter and swap it for running in the glorious Lanzarote sunshine instead. Your escape from the desolate and bitter UK winters is none other than Club La Santa, the world’s number one sports and active holiday resort. Club La Santa is a haven for sport, especially in the winter months. Thousands of runners venture to the Canary Islands every winter, to get in that all important warm-weather training ahead of the upcoming spring and summer seasons. So, what makes Club La Santa so popular? Why is it the first choice for many running enthusiasts? And, why should you visit Club La Santa this winter in preparation for your spring and summer running seasons?

The Facilities Club La Santa boasts a range of state-of-the-art running facilities, including a Conica CONIPUR Vmax 400m running track. The track has recently been refurbished to the highest standard and provides runners with impeccable surface conditions and consists of 4 x 110m sprint lanes, 4 x 400m lanes for athletes and a 450m outer track for leisure runners. The new and improved surface allows improved force transmissions and absorbs less energy which reduces the amount of stress put on the joints and allowing runners to achieve optimal performance.

Club La Santa also has a Sports Performance Studio. Here, you can take advantage of a run analysis service. The in- depth video analysis of your running technique will offer you insight and advice to minimise your risk of injury and assist you in improving your running speed. The surrounding areas of Club La Santa are also ideal for running. There is a fantastic choice of both on and off- road terrain and breath-taking coastal routes on the trails and roads around the resort. You can start the day with an idyllic 2k or 5k morning run, lead by the Green Team. For those who fancy more of a challenge, you can take part in a longer off- road or hill runs, which range from 8-12km. Whatever your choice, you can enjoy it all whilst soaking up the winter sun and taking in the stunning scenery.

Expert Coaching For those looking to knuckle down and prepare for the upcoming spring marathon season, Club La Santa offers a number of camps, led by experienced coaches, providing high quality training with a focus on technique and skill training. Winter training camps at Club La Santa are the perfect way to avoid the inconvenient UK weather conditions that may hinder your training and progress and increase risk of injury. Instead you can take advantage of the many benefits of warm- weather training. The Weather/ Climate Located in Lanzarote, and therefore benefitting from a year round warm climate, Club La Santa is the perfect escape from the miserable weather we know all too well in the UK- especially the frosty winters. Unlike the UK, winters in Lanzarote are very mild, with temperatures varying between 17-22°c. The year round warm weather makes it the ideal location to enjoy exercising outdoors throughout the winter season. The Resort At Club La Santa there really is something for everyone, providing a perfect balance of sport, activities, and relaxation. With over 80 sports and 500 weekly activities to choose from, you can make a holiday at Club La Santa your own doing as much or as little as you like. There truly is something for everyone of all ages and abilities to enjoy at the world’s number one active resort, Club La Santa!

Tent Life Contributing Editor


How to extend your

Camping season We have all been in lockdown and lost a lot of outdoor and camping time, that doesn’t mean we can’t camp outside of the summer season. There are plenty of things that you can do to camp in the cooler weather, after all Autumn and Winter are beautiful times of the year.

No bad weather, only bad clothes Clothes are important it’s not t-shirt and shorts weather, invest in some base layers, thermal is the way to go, I use merino wool ones. Then it’s about layers, a fleece top, a good waterproof insulated jacket, some gloves or mittens and a hat, for trousers I wear windproof and water resistant with my merino leggings’ underneath. Don’t underestimate how vital a good pair of socks are and get on some waterproof boots or shoes with gaiters (especially if you’re off exploring). It’s important to stay warm, it’s easier than trying to get warm.

Have a sense of humour Camping in the colder, darker, wetter seasons can be daunting for some so THE most important thing is to bring a sense of humour and adventure with you. We camp year around Autumn and Winter are favourite times; it’s beautiful, peaceful and quiet. We have camped for Christmas which made great memories - be different, be bold, have fun and give it a go.

Camping in Autumn and Winter The most important thing you can buy is a good insulated sleeping mat and bag, as the mat will help protect you from the cold rising from the floor. I prefer a down filled bag that’s had hydrophobic treatment, so it performs better in the damp conditions. However synthetic bags have come a long way, in terms of pack size and warmth. When buying, ensure you only by ethically sourced down in their sleeping bags. A three-season sleeping with a comfort temperature of around 0°C or slightly below should be fine on low ground in the majority of the UK. A hot water bottle on your stomach is an effective way to keep your core warm, and I always put a clean dry pair of socks on before I get in my bag, it really helps keep my feet warm! A wholesome meal before bed is clever idea, avoid alcohol and don’t sit around and get cold before bed. When sitting around, use your sleeping bag, they’re great for keeping you warm. Firepits, if allowed are fun, marshmallows toasting, S’mores, hot chocolate and warmth, what more can you ask for? Get some decent chairs that keep the draught from around your back and lightning, there’s plenty of good LED lights available now that give off bright light, this really helps in the dark nights. Have a head torch also, they’re brilliant for cooking with and going to the loo, they can also be hung up for extra light.

wALKING Top tips if you are

new to hiking "There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing" Following the words of the famous explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, I have no plans to risk life and limb crossing polar ice caps any time soon, but these wise words made a lasting impression on me when I was new to hiking, just two years ago. I’d built up my well-being and fitness over the summer and didn’t want to give in to the winter blues. Time out walking, to get away from worries, have a breather and gain a little perspective on life are essential for me. On a walk in the Brecon Beacons in Wales recently, I noticed a seasonal change in the air. In the summer there are a few mountain hazards to watch out for - thunderstorms, heat stroke, midges etc. But as autumn sets in, a Plan B for a low-level walk, in case of bad weather, is essential. I checked MWIS (Mountain Weather Information Site) the day before.

Some rain forecast but, critically, the wind speed was OK. Anything above 30pmh and I revert to a low-level route. My simple clothing layering system keeps me warm and dry. A flask of hot coffee, sandwiches, cereal bars and sweets taste like nectar in the outdoors. Coffee stops and lunch breaks are central to any walker’s route plan!

Clothing need not cost the earth, most of mine certainly didn’t, although I did invest in good walking boots, hiking socks and hard-shell jacket. Specialist brands constantly research and develop products, which is why they are so effective. Otherwise, it’s high street brands and end-of-season bargains for me. Top Tips for cold weather essentials Base Layer The insulating properties of merino wool or budget-friendly synthetic materials are key Hint: Merino wool is anti-bacterial and prevents odours Warm, moisture wicking socks Hint: seamless, well-padded around the toes, Achilles and sole of the foot for day-long comfort – and no blisters! Wool or synthetic beanie hat and warm gloves Carry a spare pair of dry gloves in your rucksack - a dreamy luxury to put on if your first pair get cold and wet.

Mid-layer Easy to remove if I get hot Hint: Synthetic, purpose-made materials dry quickly Hard Shell Jacket Windproof is essential - windchill on any moisture build-up in my clothes could make my body very cold Hiking Boots Firmly laced at the ankle, so I get maximum support to avoid twists or sprains

Andrea Harris CEP Compression Socks

Andrew Goodwin @rafnordic

Nordic skiing


It's skiing...but not as we know it

If you think of skiing, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the massive mountain ranges of Europe or North America? Is it the groomed pistes, is it sitting in the chair lift, skis hanging in the air as you imagine yourself swishing downhill at great speeds or is it the thought of being that first person out on those backcountry slopes and calving elegant S-turns in virgin snow? And then, when the day is done, retreating to that wooden cabin to warm yourself by a crackling fire and the mandatory Apres-Ski? Am I right? Maybe....but for some of us, that isn't necessarily the case. For some us, the thought of skiing downhill indicates it's time to recover, time to take in great lung fulls of air, time to give the heart an opportunity to take it easy, for a moment at least. For some us, the thought of riding a chair lift to the top of a hill is...well, not even a thought! For some of us, the thought of skiing up a hill is just as exhilarating as skiing down one.

So what winter sport am I talking about? It is, of course, cross-country (XC) skiing!! XC skiing, in some form or another, has been around for thousands of years and it has its origins in Scandinavia and ancient China and was primarily used as a form of transport to get from A to B. Nowadays, it's both a competitive winter sport and form of recreation beloved by skiers of all ages and all over the world. The other thing about XC skiing is that it's low impact, so the old joints don't get a hammering like they do in running or alpine skiing. It's also pretty much guaranteed to get you fit. There is no denying that XC skiing is hard....really hard....it's a tough sport for tough people, after all! But, XC skiing is also fun.

It provides opportunities to ski in some amazing parts of the world and all at your own speed. And yes, if you want to, you too can end the day in front of that cosy fire, you'll certainly have earned it. In the UK, XC skiing is just as beloved. OK, now you're thinking....well, sure, in the Highlands of Scotland, where there's a chance of winter snow...that makes sense and you'd be right....well, almost. XC skiing actually doesn't need snow. which for us in the UK is actually good to hear. It also doesn't need a dry ski slope or a purpose built building. All you need is some tarmac, a pair of roller skis, a pair of XC boots, poles (both of which can then be used on snow) and a helmet and you're good to go. You see....XC skiing is a 365 day sport. It's also a sport that continues to grow in the UK and there are a number of established clubs now roller skiing regularly throughout the year. Take a look at this link to find out more and see if there's a club close to you. In fact, I'd recommend visiting one of these clubs and having a roller ski lesson, you'll be bitten by the XC ski bug. A club will offer encouragement, will give you advice on where best to look to purchase your own equipment and advice on some of the best places to go for that next winter holiday. You'll also be enthused by the people around you. Of course, you could also come to the National Snow Show taking place at the NEC over the weekend of 23 October and come and visit Stands L22 and K20. There you'll meet some people who are besotted with XC skiing, take a look at the different types equipment available and find out just what makes a XC skier tick! You won't leave disappointed.


Linda Meek Start Running - Stay Running

Four why's to

make you move With summer days fading fast, and the colder climate creeping in, it can be hard to find the motivation to move off the sofa this time of year. The team at Start Running Stay Running share with us why you should. Enjoy the view Probably THE best reason for autumn adventures is the amazing scenery. Take some time to take in the moment and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings. It does wonders for your mental health, as well as your physical health.

Winter Warmers We’re talking comfort food! Colder months mean comfort food, and that’s without the oncoming Christmas indulgence! Getting in those steps, whether it be running or walking will go a long way to limit any possible weight gain.

Immune-boosting benefits This year, more than ever, we are going to be exposed to coughs and colds which have been absent for a while. Exercise not only helps to control weight but improves our hearts and lowers blood pressure. It makes autumn the perfect time to step up your exercise to help boost your immune system.

Finish on a high! Whether you’re starting to run for the first time or challenging yourself to a new distance, don’t put off new things until the New Year. Make a start now so that you are finishing 2021 with a huge achievement. That momentum will then propel you into 2022 with even more energy.

Need more motivation? Why not check out the awesome (and very friendly) Start Running Stay Running Community on Facebook.




The health benefits of medicinal mushrooms

Mushroom moment

Use th e code ACTIV E for a 2 0% discou nt

Medicinal mushrooms, such as lion’s mane and cordyceps, are having their moment and it’s no surprise why. They’ve been found to enhance our cognitive and physical performance and enable you to perform to the best of your ability. They are often referred to as ‘nootropics’, as they are known to improve cognitive function. Medicinal mushrooms improve your focus and mental clarity They contain both antioxidant and immune-boosting properties Have been used medicinally for centuries in Asia Lion's Mane This ancient medicinal mushroom is known to improve focus and mental clarity, perfect for busy minds and studies have shown taking Lion’s Mane can improve memory and overall brain health. It’s also a neuroprotectant known for its ability to induce nerve growth factor in the brain – the growth of new neurons! Cordyceps Militaris Cordyceps have been found to support energy and stamina, increase aerobic capacity, oxygen flow and resistance to fatigue. They have strong antioxidant and immune-boosting properties and a recent study has shown they can help the body clock reset after jet lag. Like many medicinal mushrooms they have multiple health benefits.

Chaga a.k.a the king of medicinal mushrooms, is packed with antioxidants which are believed to offer a number of health benefits including improving immunity, helping to fight inflammation, lower blood sugar and reduce blood pressure. There are many important factors that make this mushroom great for supporting brain health also, especially if taken over long periods of time. These are 3 of our favourite medicinal mushrooms and there are many others including reishi, maitake and turkey tail. To read the full article and see all of the benefits of medicinal mushrooms, click here.

THank you to our contributors Youth Adventure Trust

Robert Brackstone @medwaytri

Jenny-Anne Dexter

Shanya Jayatilaka @shanyajayatilaka

Laura Mould @Hike Camp Cook Wild

Family Adventure Seekers @familyadventureseekers

Alena Zavarzina @superzina

Zoe Homes Splodz Blogz @splodz

Debbie Watts @molevalleyfitness

Andrea Harris @CEP UK

Jules Scudder @runningrewire

Linda Meek @StartRunnin gStayRunning

If you have a story to tell and would like to feature in an upcoming guide or on our website, please get in touch and email outsideactive@raccoonevents.com

Thank You! We hope you enjoyed our autumn guide. For more regular inspiration from articles, interviews, how to's and more exclusive content, head over to outsideandactive.com