As visitors continue to return to Cumbria many cannot wait to return to enjoy the Lake District’s outdoor spaces, and the county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) is working alongside partners to help make sure first-time hikers and experienced adventurers enjoy a safe return to the fells by planning ahead and asking themselves three simple questions.
94% of visitors surveyed by Cumbria Tourism reported feeling better mentally during their trip*, and with exercise currently being encouraged a hike, cycle or even wild swim is a fantastic way for many to enjoy low-impact exercise in the fresh air as part of a wider trip sampling the county’s attractions.
Whilst Cumbria Tourism always encourages visitors to enjoy the outdoors safely as part of its destination marketing, the current situation means that it is more important than ever to plan ahead. They are encouraging those looking to get active to ask themselves three simple questions to ensure they stay AdventureSmart.
1 Do I know what the weather will be like?
2 Do I have the right gear?
3 Do I have the knowledge & skills for the day?
The object of the campaign is not to dissuade visitors from lacing up their boots, rather to help them plan ahead and consider the risks before making an informed decision. Whilst the weather or an individual’s skills may mean one route is unavailable, there are plenty of other options to choose from.
Cumbria Tourism Chair Jim Walker says “The Lake District, Cumbria is a truly fantastic place to enjoy the great outdoors, and after months of lockdown we are welcoming the return of visitors. It’s been very encouraging to see tourists abiding by the new social distancing measures to reduce the spread of Coronavirus but it’s important not to overlook other safety measures.
“Nobody sets out expecting to require the emergency services but even in summer the weather is changeable, it doesn’t take much effort to plan for the conditions and ensure an enjoyable and safe day out.
Our local mountain rescue volunteers do an amazing job, but we all need to ensure their services are reserved for unavoidable emergencies.”
Cumbria also boasts a fantastic range of guides and instructors prepared to help the less experienced, or those looking to expand their comfort zone whilst minimising risk. Outdoor businesses have adapted their practices to reflect social distancing guidelines and are ready to offer high-quality experiences.
Local outdoor instructor Stuart Lockton from The Expedition Club says “So many outdoor activities are naturally socially-distanced. As an outdoor activities guide working with a wide range of clients doing activities in the hills and on the lakes I have had to adapt my procedures to the current climate, but this doesn’t fundamentally change the nature of our provision – supporting people of all backgrounds to be active and experience the wonderful outdoor space available in the Lake District.
I now ensure all my interactions with clients are outside. I work with smaller groups, following the latest guidelines. I have changed the way I brief groups about any equipment such as climbing harnesses and canoe paddles, to avoid close contact. I either wipe down or quarantine equipment which has been handled by clients.
Overall, my customers will still be able to experience the same exciting and invigorating or renewing experiences outdoors and in nature, under the watchful and supportive guidance of an experienced, qualified instructor, as I have always been able to deliver.”
*Cumbria Tourism Visitor Survey 2018.