How to find Wellbeing in the Outdoors

January 26, 2017

So over these quieter winter months I find myself spending less time doing outdoor stuff and more time talking about it. I'm in a lucky position were I get to talk to government departments like tourism, sport and health and try to boost both our industry profile, and the impact we can have on the economy, health and happiness of the country. My most recent work has been with Public Health Wales, putting together an information sheet about how engaging in the outdoors benefits your Wellbeing. The official version will be released in the coming weeks complete with branding and imagery, but here is a taster for the key points we're highlighting: 

The Five ways to Wellbeing are simple daily goals that have been shown to help people’s wellbeing:

1. Get out and be active

Adventure activities can help us all get the 150 minutes per week of being active we need to stay healthy, as well as maintaining our strength and balance.

2. Learn something new

Whether it’s a technical skill, facts about the local history, or how to identify wildlife in the landscape, learning new things keeps our brains active and protects them from illness.

3. Give back

The act of giving makes us feel good. So whether it’s volunteering your time, knowledge, or just encouragement and support, remember to give something every time you’re out and about.

4. Make Connections

Being and feeling connected to others and to the natural environment makes people more resilient and able to cope, so getting out and being in touch with familiar, or new, people and places is good for our wellbeing.

5. Take notice

We all have lots to think about, and this can stop us from taking a breath and noticing the world around us. Stopping to take notice of the changing seasons, the beauty of the landscape we’re in, or just how we feel when we are with friends or doing what we enjoy is important for our brains.


Life Lessons From Rock Climbing

June 6, 2016
Lovely short talk from veteran rock climber Matthew Childs, he shares nine pointers for rock climbing that can be effective at sea level too. Available from TED talks.

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How to become a Rock Climber:

April 13, 2016
A step by step process to becoming a rock climber - and we can help you with every step!

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Lowering off a bad bolt

March 18, 2016
Just thinking about teaching people the skills they need to move their lead climbing from indoors to outside this summer and remembered this little gem from a Petzl catalog a few years ago. 

With simple use of a prussik you can protect against the risk of a dodgy bolt failing as you are lowing off it. This would have been good to know in Majorca 10 years ago when I had to lower off a belay where you could pull one of the bolts straight out the rock!

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Keeping you nuts clean

February 10, 2016
"look after you gear and your gear will look after you"

An old saying that hits the nail on the head here, if you want your climbing kit to last you have to show it some love now and again. Here we look at how to maintain the cornerstone of any rack - nuts.

An alloy head threaded with a wire swage, not very complex but dirt and salt can build up between the two, and treating it rough can take its toll.

Best way to give this bit of kit a service is to put all your nuts in a bowl of warm slightly ...
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The Changing Mountains - Beacons Way

February 10, 2016
So recently I've been involved with the review of the long distance footpath that crosses the Brecon Beacons, looking at how to improve, simplify or problem solve where necessary. 
As part of this work I have to walk sections of the route, not a bad way to spend a day...

Yesterday I walked from Llangynidr to Story Arms Via Pen y Fan, 24km with over 100m height gain. Most of this was straight forward until the end when the weather turned a little "wintery" and my walking companion (Obi) and I fo...
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Climbing Kit Maintenance - Krabs

January 27, 2016
There are lots of ways to make the kit that you invest in for climbing last as long as possible, but you also need to know when it's time to retire that beloved bit of gear.

If you have climbed near the sea, and this even included Llanberis with the wind from the right angle, your climbing kit will have been exposed to salt from the sea. Not so much an issue for your soft gear like rope and slings, but can be devastating to metal like Krabs, nuts and cams.

If the salt can get into the metal thr...
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Mountain Leader Preparation course

January 21, 2016
Mountain Leader preparation day looking at the skills and knowledge required for the scheme. Some great weather, even if it was quite chilly on the top. 
Top tips for navigation can be found on a previous blog -

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A dry day!

January 13, 2016
After a very wet couple of months I finally managed to get out on some rock this week.
Making the most of some dry but very windy conditions we headed to some sheltered spots in Pembrokeshire.
Great to be out and not in wellies, thanks to Jeff for joining me on this little adventure.

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Learning to lead

November 24, 2015
Learn to lead course in November - sometimes it seems like the sun always shines on Gower!
Two days spent looking at movement on rock, rope work, placing protection and building belays.
13 pitches climbed, including their first  multipitch route East Ridge, what a great weekend...

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Blogging Matters

Matthew Woodfield Keep up to date with whats going on with the Outdoor Matters blog. Its the best place to find pictures of your days out, updates on courses and just to see what we've been up to!