Britain’s fabulous outdoor recreation industry… how will it bounce back?

If you have ever worked with outdoor professionals you’ll know that they’re an innovative bunch with a good sense of humour and the type of attitude that is used to adjusting plans to make the most of difficult times. Across the UK there are instructors, activity specialists, accommodation providers, retail organisations and recreation locations who are currently feeling the weight of what will surely one day be called the corona effect.

Many people in the outdoor industry have already reinvented themselves once, for one very powerful reason. They love what they do and they want other people to love it too.

As we have progressed through lockdown it has been interesting to note how this ability to bounce back has been reflected in the approaches taken by different organisations and individuals. On our walking and outdoor blog Two Blondes Walking we have done our best to provide a mixture of home and local walks ideas, gentle reminders of the great British outdoors and some spirit lifting silliness.

Of course, we Blondes are only small fry in the world of the great outdoors but there have been plenty of outdoor leisure businesses doing the same, to a very high standard. We thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the creativity, quick thinking and thoughtfulness that has gone into their offering over the last few weeks.

The GetOutside Inside Hub

Tricky to deliver the GetOutside message during a time of outdoor restriction but Ordnance Survey together with over 50 national outdoor recreation organisations reacted very quickly to the crisis and have put together the GetOutside Inside hub. You will find a few snippets from yours truly on there alongside a whole host of ideas, articles and videos all aimed at inspiring, reassuring and encouraging not just their usual audience of outdoor enthusiasts but the whole country, during a difficult time. Anyone who works in content curation will understand how impressive this hub is, and the ‘We’re all in this together’ approach of the outdoor groups involved has certainly paid off.

Plan B(lacks)

The Plan B message from Blacks really struck a chord with me. It takes a ‘until we meet again’ approach and achieves the dual whammy of encouraging outdoor memories and hoping for new adventures.

Land and Wave

Land and Wave in Dorset are not one of the biggest players in the outdoor activity sector, and are no doubt feeling a big pinch right now. Despite this,  their Instagram feed has been keeping me smiling over the last few weeks, especially their ‘meet the instructor’ posts.

This has been a time when the nation has remembered how to appreciate people properly. For many of us our first motivating outdoor experiences were with dedicated outdoor instructors who do what they do because they love it (I should know, we have a few in the family). Hopefully Land and Wave’s ‘get to know us’ approach will stand them in good stead as the UK turns its eyes to safe and well managed outdoor experiences.

Berghaus

Berghaus too have done a great and speedy job of putting together a combination of motivational and encouraging content that I am sure has helped many people to cope with our current difficult situation. From tips on staying positive from nurse Iona Rendall to the inspiration below from Sir Chris Bonington, Berghaus’ efforts have given me the courage to believe that the hills indeed, ‘will always be there’.

As a freelance writer I work across a number of niches (to be recommended in today’s climate) but my heart is always in the outdoors and outdoor writing. During this time of lockdown I’m certain that we’ve all experienced the outdoor world in new and strangely inspiring ways. Nobody knows what the next few weeks or months are going to bring but I’m confident our industry will bounce back for two very good reasons.

  1. Across the board, being told that the outdoors is restricted has given the British public  a renewed enthusiasm for getting into it.
  2. Many people in the outdoor industry have already reinvented themselves once, for one very powerful reason. They love what they do and they want other people to love it too.

I am not a climber but I understand climbing rope has a certain amount of give in it. I think that is probably true of climbers… and the rest of us too. This is a dynamic industry and I for one am looking forward to seeing the directions in which it bounces back.

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