Sunday, 28 January 2018

The power of walking

I liked this piece by Kristina Olsson, on the Coast to Coast Walk that she did as a 'reward' for spending five years writing her book.
She needed to get away, and in doing so found out something about herself...

This theme of getting outside is something I shall be exploring more of in the year to come. I'm freshly back from two days in the New Forest with Ordnance Survey. We were asked to come to Brockenhurst to a nice hotel, where we were to meet with the Ordnance Survey team that supports their core #GetOutside initiative. As you may remember from an earlier post, I applied to be involved for 2018/19 and was delighted to find out some weeks ago that I was going to be taking part, and also that Dan Raven Ellison, who applied independently, was also going to be going along.
A very early start and a long journey on 4 trains was needed, with Dan joining me in London.
Registration, coffee, and some chats to faces that I knew, including Sarah Outen.

Through to the main meeting room, where we were made very welcome and introduced to the scheme, and given new jackets and boots and various other things. We found out more about OS Maps, and the whole #GetOutside campaign.
We heard from previous and ongoing Champions, and also met Ben Fogle and Kenton Cool, who talked about their plans to climb Everest. Not something that most people can manage, and therefore my work will be far more down to earth, and even below sea level... with an educational emphasis.
We had a photo call: group and individual, and enjoyed some excellent food. In the afternoon, we were set a challenge, and I enjoyed working with the folks on my table: we were placed on a table for the day with other Champions, and some of the other partners involved. I had the chance to speak to Dave from Camping and Caravanning Club's membership magazine, and also Pip from 'Country Walking', which has been leading the #Walk1000miles campaign, which I've also blogged about previously.

We had a challenger treasure hunt to take part in, and we managed to cover the longest distance by running relays back and forwards for part of the time. Thanks to my team, who are pictured below, and there are also links to their twitter feeds for you to follow.
I'm looking forward to working over the coming year to encourage everyone to spend more time outside during 2018. It's certainly galvanised my own plans for getting outside more. In fact, when I finish this post I'm off out to the local common to get some pictures...

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Digimap for School Resource revamp

Over the last few years, I've written a number of Secondary resources to accompany the Digimap for Schools service. My colleague Paula Owens wrote a whole tranche of Primary resources too.

The resource area has now had a revamp so that it is easier to access particular resources from the archive.

The new look page can be accessed HERE.

It has resources for a range of subjects, not just geography, which is a reminder that if you are thinking of getting a subscription for your school, you should make a point that it is not just for geography, and have it paid from general budgets rather than your own budget...

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion 2018/19

I'm finally able to announce something which I've had to keep to myself for the last 7 weeks or so...
Back in October 2017, I put in a speculative application to join an illustrious group of people who are selected each year to work with the wonderful folks at the Ordnance Survey to encourage people to #GetOutside and enjoy exploring the amazing variety of countryside that we have in our country (possibly guided with a classic Ordnance Survey map in paper or digital form).
In early December, I received the following e-mail:

There were almost 500 applications last year apparently, and the final list for 2017 included a fair few adventurers, explorers and people who spend their lives in the outdoors, and many of whom are known to millions through their media work. This included Ben Fogle, Sean Conway, Kenton Cool,  Jason Rawles (founder of the Adventurers' Club), and the amazing Sarah Outen.
There were also people who share particular aspects of working outside, or who blog about the outdoors and spend a lot of their time outside, including the Meek Family who were big fans of our Mission:Explore book. There were also people who loved walking, climbing, swimming and other activities, and wanted to share their love of them.
I thought that with my teaching role, my Mission:Explore role, my involvement in fieldwork (I co-wrote a book on it you know) and local place and landscape investigations that I might have something to offer.

This coming year is therefore going to see me getting outside even more than usual, and encouraging everyone to take part in outdoor activities (including pupil at my school, and other schools that I visit), some of which I already have ideas for and others which will no doubt emerge as the year develops, perhaps in collaboration with other Champions. I've enjoyed reading the blogs and tweets from last year's Champions, particularly as they have been reflecting this month on the year just gone and what they have gained from it.

I've been thinking of a few things that I want to achieve during the year, and will be telling you more about those over the next 12 months here on LivingGeography.
I'm looking forward to an event next week when I'll be meeting up with the other champions and finding out a lot more about what we are going to be doing.
I know already that a very good friend of mine is also going to be involved - he'll tell you about his involvement himself.

Here's one of last year's Champions' next venture for example - though I don't suppose I'll go quite that far...