My GetOutside Interviews feature continues this week with Matthew Kettlewell, who spends half his year leading expeditions, and the other half selling jam… yes, you read that right. I love that the GetOutside brings together people with absolutely all kinds of backgrounds and day jobs – we are all so unique yet have this binding love of the outdoors and desire to encourage others to spend time outside too that means it’s just the most brilliant community to be a part of.
Don’t forget to join me for my National GetOutside Day picnic THIS SUNDAY (30 September)… details here.
The GetOutside Interviews | Matthew Kettlewell
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you? Where are you based? What do you do (the day job)? What’s for dinner tonight?
I grew up on a farm in the Yorkshire Dales, which we have now turned into a conversation farm. But I was never really much of a farmer. So I am self employed for half the year taking groups on expeditions or up mountains here in the UK. Then in Winter, I become a mild mannered Christmas markets stall holder. Selling Preserves made by my older Brother.Tonight is my tradition of fish and chips, every time I get back from overseas, I treat myself (and the cat) to fish and chips.
Where and how did you spend time outdoors today?
I have just come from taking my two nieces to see my two pigs. Any excuse for me to get away from writing trip reports is welcome, and my nieces obsession with the pigs is a great one. They aren’t to fond of my chickens though. As a kid I was obsessed with every animal which was on our farm, and I love seeing my nieces fascination for the pigs. Then on the way back one of them decided a puddle was to good to resist!
Tell us about your favourite outdoor activities.
I’ve always been terrible for sitting still, so any other to be outside, walking, biking, paddleboarding and even Waterbiking! I’ll jump at it. But my main one is walking in the hills. It took me a few years to get into it, as many of my childhood friends laughed at the idea, but one I plucked the courage to get out there alone, I was hooked and it didn’t take long before I met like minded people too.
Hopefully at the end of the year, before the Christmas markets start, me and a friend would like to spend a few days hiking some of the Pennine Way. It runs pretty close to my home in Yorkshire, but I’ve never really thought about hiking it until recently. So we are hoping for some of that lovely October weather the UK is famous for!
With all the pressures of normal life, how do you make sure you find the time for outdoors adventure?
Some people say I’m lucky to travel to exotic places or up mountains in the UK. But these times though amazing, are often full of stress, with very little time for yourself. I always make sure when I return from working on expedition, I have 2 days off, where I can get away to the Lake District. To spend sometime to myself. These couple of days are great just to relax, even if it’s cold and a bit damp.
Then during winter, when I’m away on markets. I try and find somewhere I’ve not been before. To go hiking after the stall has closed, or even when there’s two of us at the stall. We will take it in turns to go walk around the cities or town we are in.
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?
I feel it is important to get outside as it awakens a fire inside us. Lots of us have settled to sitting and making life as easy as it can be. But a walk in a place you don’t know, or sleeping on top a hill in a bivi bag awakens something most of us have forgotten. It makes us feel alive. Even a short 15 minute walk down along your local canal is enough to kick start it.
Also as I found out from a young age, it is amazing for not only our physical health but our mental health. It gets us away from sitting in silence on our phones or in front of a TV, and makes us take note of our surroundings and speak to people. But most of all being outside puts a smile on our faces.
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.