Fiona Outdoors logo My independent guide to the best of Scotland outdoors

Guest blog: What I’ll be doing while everyone else is watching The Olympics

Written by Fiona June 28 2012

My guest blogger Lizzie has decided to do something different while the rest of the country watches the Olympics. There could well be a few more people out there who, like her, would prefer to be on holiday while TV sets are switched to permanent on. While I’ll be keen to catch some of the Olympics, I can understand why others might prefer to be enjoying the great British outdoors, especially as there’s a far better chance of  peace and tranquility this summer!

Lizzie writes:  It’s pretty difficult to turn on the news at the moment without hearing at least one story about The Olympics. That’s right, there is a fever gripping the nation and everyone is looking forward to seeing Team GB compete against the rest of the world between July 27 and August 12. Everyone, it seems, except me!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m patriotic and I love sport, but I’m just not as excited as everyone else seems to be, which is why I’ve booked some time off work to go and do some outdoors activities while the event has everyone else glued to their TV set.

A friend has kindly offered to lend me his Volkswagen for all my gear and I’m looking forward to getting on the road. The thing is, while these are wonderful little vehicles with bundles of character, they are prone to the occasional breakdown – mainly because they are all now so old. If you own one in perfect condition, there’s a good chance you are an enthusiast with all the knowledge needed to keep one on the road. Unfortunately, my knowledge ends at how to check the oil and change a tyre so I thought it best to be on the safe side.

The first stop on my adventure is in Ambleside, a wonderful little spot in the Lake District. Having only been there once before, I’m really looking forward to taking some long walks along Waterhead on Lake Windermere, as well as hiring a mountain bike and taking to the hills and dales of the surrounding area. Sure, I won’t pick up any medals for my efforts, but I’ll have a hearty meal to look forward to after my well-deserved escapades!

I’ve been recommended a number of different walks, but there’s a very interesting 11-mile trek that starts off at Old Dungeon Ghyll and ends in Bowfell, taking in the wonderful views of Scafell Pike and Great End on the way. Apparently, it’s one that’s going to tire me out (as it involves an ascent of 4,600 feet), but I’m up for the challenge. Of course, this level of exercise won’t appeal to everyone, which is why the local eateries probably do so well. I’ll be trying out the local cinema Zefferelli’s the very next day as a way to wind down. Not only does it have movies, but it also offers a great pizzeria and live jazz music on some nights so I’ll be in my element.

Next up, I’m headed even further north to Kielder Water and Forest park, to test out my skills as the next Bear Grylls. That’s right, I’ve signed up for a survival training course that will see me roughing it in the great outdoors and learning to live off the land by foraging for food and finding out a bit more about bush craft – hopefully without having to eat any bugs or bits of tree bark.

The 24-hour event starts off with a talk and a bit of orienteering, but then it’s on to fire making, food preparation, navigation techniques and a bit of supper around the campfire. It sounds absolutely wonderful and is something I’ve wanted to do for ages, so I just hope the weather holds out for us.

The third and final part of my journey is a little more relaxing and revolves around catching up with friends back in my home town of Darlington. I’m sure this will be much more paella and Pinot Grigio, than pheasant and pond water, so should serve as a nice end to my break before I head back home to Manchester.

I hope to spend a bit of time gossiping and finding out who has been doing what over a glass of wine, but who knows, maybe I could be tempted to get out in the open again if my pals are up for it. In fact, just 20 minutes out of town is the Tees Barrage International White Water Centre, which offers everything from kayaking to power boating. If the Olympics still happens to be on, you can count me in!

If you have any suggestions of things to do outside in the lakes area please do tell us.

More Like This


Six exciting outdoor activities to experience while teaching abroad


5 fantastic reasons to vIsit Guatemala – and 4 things to do there 


How cold water swimming can help with managing depression


Corbett bagging: Morven, near Ballater


Free beginner’s guide to navigation by Ramblers Scotland


Corbett bagging: Meall Dubh, Glen Moriston