How is your One Hour Outside every day challenge going this summer? Are you managing to get an hour in the great outdoors every single day? This last couple of weeks work has been super busy and so my hour outside has been split up into two or three sections; I’ve been parking the car just a little bit further away to give me an extra five minutes outside before work, and taking a brisk walk to the shop or around the block at lunchtime. It’s not always easy but it is possible to fit time outdoors into any schedule – even if it’s just sitting outside in the garden to read a couple of pages of your book before dinner.
Back to my GetOutside interviews. If you think walking is all about super steep mountains and long distance trails, then you definitely need to meet this next champion in my GetOutside Interviews series! Andrew White is all about short walks between around two and eight miles – he loves them so much he makes his own television series about them, and writes guidebooks, too.
The GetOutside Interviews | Andrew White
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you? Where are you based? What do you do (the day job)?
I’m Andrew White, and I’m Yorkshire born and bred, living in my home town of Doncaster with my wife and two daughters, but I’ve lived and worked in many places including London and Rome. I’m possibly a bit different to most of the other Champions in that my day job is as an outdoor writer, film-maker and broadcaster. I write, present and produce the TV series Walks Around Britain, which is shown on 20 channels in the UK as well as around the world on Amazon’s Prime Video – and I edit the associated website too. I also write walking guidebooks and features for magazines such as BBC Countryfile, Coast, Camping, BRITAIN, and many more.
Where and how did you spend time outdoors today?
Well, today I should pretty easily smash the One Hour Outside as I’m currently updating one of the AA walking guide books, so over the summer I’ve had 50 walks to do and check in the Yorkshire Dales. For the last few days, I’ve been based at Barnard Castle Camping and Caravanning Club’s campsite and myself and one of our dogs, Mac, have been doing around 15 miles of walking a day! Today, we’ve got two walks to do; one is 6 miles and the other 7… so that should be around Seven Hours Outside!
But it’s not usually like this… on a normal, school-type day, my One Hour Outside consists of walking our four border collies around the local area. We’ve lots of walking possibilities in our local area, despite it being a suburb of Doncaster, so we’re also able to do different walks… although the dogs are very happy going for a big run and ball throw on the local park!
Tell us about your favourite outdoor activities.
My passion is walking – not really the long-distance trails, but mainly short walks, between two and eight miles. I especially love walks with not so much good views, but fascinating stories. Often a view from one mountain is pretty similar to the one next door, but stories are unique and individual. It could be the story of the landscape through nature, or the story of the industrial revolution along a city’s canal… and that’s most more interesting to me. It’s also where the original inspiration for the TV series came from… to make sure it wasn’t just another “this is a great view” walking series.
That said, I do enjoy the odd long-distance trail. I did the Great Glen Way several years ago and I was the first British journalist to walk along the St. Olavsleden between Sweden and Norway. I’ve also devised two linked long-distance trails in my home county called the South Yorkshire Way.
I’m also a keen cyclist, and I’ve just recently discovered kayaking, and I’m loving it!
With all the pressures of normal life, how do you make sure you find the time for outdoors adventure?
Well, many people assume given what I do for a living that I’ll be outdoors every minute of every day, but that’s not true. In fact, sometimes it can be just as hard for me to get outdoors as anyone else. Take for example an edition of the TV series, Walks Around Britain… for every edition, there’s two days of filming actually walking… but then there’s two days of pre-production and four days of editing – all inside. So for every season of seven programmes, only 14 days is actually outside walking… everything else is indoors!
The great thing though about the series, is I get to walk all across the British Isles – and that makes up for the times I’m indoors. So, for the series, I’ve visited the Isles of Scilly, Alderney, Jersey and the Isle of Man… and in season six, we’re down for visiting Orkney and Shetland!
We tend to holiday as a family in the British Isles too, and we take the dogs as well, so we always spend time outside walking, cycling or doing stuff like Coasteering – like my daughters and I did on of the Isle of Man. We’ve just bought a caravan, so we’re aiming at once a month to head off somewhere for a weekend.
As you are a GetOutside Champion it goes without saying that you want to encourage others to spend time in the great outdoors. Why do you feel this is important?
It is just so important to get outside… not just for the more obvious physical health benefits, but also for the hidden mental health benefits. Being outside helps raise your mood, improves your outlook and just helps.
Thank you to Andrew for taking the time to answer my questions this week. Now you’ve met him I hope you’ll go and check out his television series Walks Around Britain – you won’t fail to be inspired to get out and go walking!
And for more information about the Ordnance Survey GetOutside campaign, you need to be here.
If you are feeling inspired by my friends, please drop us a line to let us know – sharing the love is always good.