Friday, 6 September 2013

"If you want my opinion..."

I have to say I'm very impressed with the Ramblers, when we met with them on Wednesday for the launch of their Go All Out campaign they promptly took us on a 1 mile hike which included 2 pubs.  Turns out the aim of the venture wasn't to get us drunk but was to get us talking about what our concerns are when it comes to the great outdoors and what we want them to campaign about in the future.
Benedict Southworth (No idea what the sheep's called)

To be honest I'm surprised they're still speaking to us at all.  Ever since the Kinder Scout Trespass in 1932 the Ramblers have been at the forefront of campaigning to protect our rights of access to the countryside and coastline of Great Britain; the thing is we've pretty much taken them for granted for all that time, but not only are they still speaking to us they are now actively asking us for our views about what we want them to do next.

What Kate Ashbrook loves about the outdoors.
During the course of the day I spent time chatting to Chief Exec Benedict Southworth and President Kate Ashbrook and there's no doubting their passion and commitment to this project.  Like every other hiker they love the outdoors and like every other hiker they have their own concerns and frustrations, but what sets them apart is the fact that they are in a position to take action and make changes.

The whole point of the Go All Out campaign is to talk to everyone who enjoys the outdoors and understand where their concerns are and what they would like to see Ramblers doing about it.  As I've not yet met a hiker who doesn't have an opinion on some aspect of the outdoors I'm betting they're going to have a lot of data to wade through when they're done.

There are various ways you can have your say; you can either complete the online survey or get a group together and have a good old ding dong based around the discussion kit they provide.

"What's stopping people getting outdoors?"
According to their guidelines the discussion should take about half an hour, but if it's anything like the discussion our group got into it will most likely go on longer, especially if your discussions are taking place over a post hike pint or two.  Just so long as someone takes charge to keep you vaguely on track and collate the information.

Key themes for our group centered around the use of technology in the outdoors, engaging with families and an interesting debate about what exactly constituted a "walk" in the first place.  Whatever your view on these, or any other outdoors topics, now is the time to have your say.

You haven't got to be a crusty old hiker like me to get involved, they want to hear from absolutely anyone who loves the outdoors so instead of shouting at the TV or muttering rude words next time you find a blocked path, tell the Ramblers what you honestly think and you could help to shape the outdoors of the future.

Here's my two penn'orth