Sunday, 3 March 2013

What's the Point?

Sharing my love of the fells via Herdy.
Things have been changing for me since January this year and changing quite rapidly too; this has been fantastic in many ways but it's not without its challenges.  Let me explain.  Over the past few months I've been lucky enough to pick up more work writing about hiking and the outdoors and I am, of course, thrilled to be able to combine my passion for the outdoors with my love of writing.  As the old adage goes "find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" but what happens when your hobby becomes your work - what do you do to unwind?

Hiking has long been a passion of mine.  When I was a little girl we used to holiday in Wales and I fell in love with the Welsh mountains; so much so that when I was hunting around for a University Aberystwyth was the only place I wanted to go.  Sadly work meant I had to head to the South East after graduating, but life has a way of intervening and for me to now live somewhere as beautiful as Cumbria is a dream come true; and to be paid to write about it?  Even better.
Morecambe Bay explored for Lancashire Walks & Wildlife

So now that hiking and the great outdoors is no longer just a hobby for me, has that changed things in any way?  The answer is yes it has, and mainly for the better too.  In the past hiking was simply  a means of escape and our hikes were generally not all that well planned; now we make a specific point of trying to find more out of the way places or unusual routes.  There are thousands of books and websites that recount routes up fells so my challenge to myself has always been what can I do that's a little bit different?

It's also lead to me learning a lot more about my surroundings; instead of simply recounting a route we've both made a conscious effort to get to grips with the local wildlife and understand more of the local history as well as the geology of the region.  For us getting to the top of the fell isn't the point; learning about what we can see and why it's there are also crucial for us.  The RSPB have taught us about birdlife; Cumbria Wildlife Trust have helped us learn about the general flora and fauna, Herdy has helped us learn about the history of the Cumbria and Lancashire Walks & Wildlife have lured us south of the border to expand our horizons and teach us about the historical links between the two counties.
Beautiful Langdale Valley explored fully thanks to a
Cumbria Wildlife Trust audiowalk

I've always been curious about my environment and I'm very glad that I now have the opportunity to explore and research the things that fascinate me and that I get to call all of that work.  In the future we plan to take things one step further and obtain our Mountain Leader qualifications so that we can share our enthusiasm and what knowledge we have first hand to help people explore the hidden corners and history of Cumbria. I realise that by then my "hobby" will be pretty much a full time job so what will I do to unwind? Well maybe that's something you only need to worry about when your day job stresses you out and perhaps the whole point is to find one that doesn't?