Walking routes online are hot this summer; here’s how to write a great one.

Including walking routes as part of your online marketing strategy has never been a better idea. Across the UK, walking is enjoying a surge in popularity and governmental support, boosted by reaction to the Covid-19 lockdown, advice to avoid public transport and a spell of great spring weather. People who have never walked for leisure before have started doing so, and it won’t be long before they’re all looking for gear and skills to support their new hobby. As far as outdoor writing ideas go, online walking routes appear to be a relatively simple outdoor writing activity but, as someone who has written plenty of rural and urban walking routes, I can tell you that it takes a bit of practice.

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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.

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You know you’re an outdoor swimmer when…

Outdoor writing and outdoor swimming

One of the ways in which my hobbies and my freelance outdoor writing merge is through outdoor swimming. In the depths of the winter however, outdoor swimming can seem like a strange habit. Grey waters replace blue ones, grey clouds smother blue skies and blue beach legs replace tanned limbs. That said, there is plenty of anecdotal, and some research based evidence to suggest that cold water immersion is good for both my mental health and my physical health, so I won’t be stopping any time soon.

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How to plan a walking route… For someone else

Planning a successful walking route requires a combination of research and knowledge. You need to know what the terrain and conditions are going to offer, and you need to understand your own ability, and any safety implications. This is far easier to get right when you are planning for yourself than if you are writing a walking route for someone else. My role as a freelance outdoor writer requires me to do a fair amount of walking route writing, for both country walks and urban walks. Today I share my top tips on how to plan a walking route, for someone else.

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What on earth is a Dryrobe? Different types of winter outdoor swimmers

What is a Dryrobe and do I need one?

When it comes down to hobbies, swimming outdoors during the winter is not the most comfortable of options, which is probably why I am sitting in bed typing instead of heading for a grey, drizzly beach (don’t worry, I will be venturing out soon). Getting cold is good for me and easy enough, I just get into the water, swear a bit and start swimming. But what about getting warm again? Well, I have discovered that we swimmers fall into a few interesting categories, which is one of the many things that makes us such fun to be around. Read on to find out which type of winter swimmer you are and whether or not you need to rush out immediately and buy a Dryrobe.

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Collect or explore? Is it time for a rethink about how we share our outdoor spaces?

Could you geotag that photo please?

Get outside! It’s a great message and one that I have been proud to share across various roles and careers. However, as an outdoor writer and online influencer, I am becoming more and more aware of the negative impact that some styles of sharing, in particular geotagging, is having on some of our outdoor spaces.

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The serious message behind the Snowdon Trip Advisor reviews

Snowdon Trip Advisor reviews

If you have laughed about the negative Snowdon Trip Advisor reviews recently published in the tabloid press, you won’t be alone. With comments requesting concrete paths, tree-planting and internet access, and complaints about steepness, rocks and clouds, the whole thing does sound a bit ridiculous. However hidden behind the amusement there is an important message for the education and outdoor sectors. We are still not giving enough people the opportunity to find out, from an early age, what it is like to feel uncomfortable outdoors.

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Can outdoor writing really encourage more people to get outside?

As well as being a top Devon copywriter and one half of the outdoor duo Two Blondes Walking, I am an Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champion. I have been in this role for four years now and absolutely love it. It’s easy really when you love something and know that it does you good, to want to tell everybody else about that thing. For me ‘that thing’ is the outdoors and my favourite type of freelance writing is outdoor writing that has been specifically designed to encourage people to have a go at being outdoors themselves.

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A freelance conundrum… What does a girl wear to an indoor outdoor conference?

One of the wonderful things about freelance working from home is that you get to choose exactly what you want to wear to the office. No other people means no pressures, no strange looks and no turning up in the same dress as your colleagues. In my case my freelance wardrobe is usually a combination of vests, hats, woolly socks, fingerless gloves and outdoor clothing donned in layers to combat the chill that arrives around three hours after a sea swim. Not my best look ever but then a girl has to keep warm.

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When your work makes you proud – Ordnance Survey’s new Walk London map

I freely admit that my freelance business makes me feel good about myself. Started three years ago at a time when my former career had taken a dive, Fi Darby Freelance has gone from strength to strength. From technical writing to my first love outdoor writing I enjoy the challenge, the planning and, most of all, the creativity.

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