THE MERRELL BLOG: WHAT'S NOW. WHAT'S NEXT. LET'S GET OUTSIDE.
Get Outdoors This Winter
Fight the temptation to stay inside over the cold winter months. The temperature may be dropping, but the opportunities for getting outside certainly aren’t. So no matter whether you’re a city dweller or living in the countryside, get wrapped up and get active. Here are a few suggestions for what you could be getting up to over the next couple of months...
Who says that you have to take the climbing indoors when the seasons change? When the temperatures drop and snow sets in, Britain’s collection mountain ranges offers outdoor enthusiasts some fantastic locations for winter ice climbing. Many argue that these winter months are the best time to experience regions such as Snowdonia and the Cairngorms. So pick up your ice axe, put on your crampons and relish in the breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains. Even if your past climbing experience is limited to rock faces, you may have more of the necessary skills for ice climbing than you’d think. As an activity which has evolved from rock climbing, many of the techniques and skills from rock climbing are transferable to ice climbing. However, if you haven’t tried winter climbing before make sure you are accompanied/guided by a well experienced instructor. As winter approaches many outdoor pursuit companies in the mountainous regions offer courses on ice climbing and winter mountaineering skills.
Skiing & Snowboarding
Planning you next skiing holiday...considering Austria? Canada? Switzerland? How about the UK? Opt for a ‘staycation’ skiing trip this year with great skiing and snowboarding slopes up in the Scottish mountains! The Cairngorm, Nevis Range, Glenshee and Glencoe areas have become incredibly popular locations for skiing in Britain. These northerly regions are the perfect spot for short skiing breaks between January and April. Without the need to jump country boarders, there’s no necessity for much forward planning, no need to book flights, and what’s even better, everyone talks English! Weekends and holiday periods at the resorts here can be extremely busy, so opt for a mid-week break if possible. Beginners and families ought to try out the resorts at Lecht, with its more gentle slopes and shorter runs.
Walking and Hiking
The cold winter air may not seem the most tempting conditions for a days hike, but don’t let it put you off. The winter months can be one of the best times to appreciate Britain’s stunning scenery. So long as you make sure you’re layered up with sensible clothing and wearing appropriate footwear, there’s no reason you can’t face the elements and get outdoors. The Lake District is ever more beautiful and dramatic in the winter months, as the mountains are transformed under a covering of snow. However, it goes without saying that weather changes can be extreme in these regions so make sure you’re prepared for rain and wind as well as freezing temperatures. To help avoid torrential downpours wherever you are, ensure you check the weather forecast before heading out. If you’re looking for something a little less challenging this year, the Brecon Beacons national park in South Wales offers more accessible routes over a more gentle and expansive landscape.
Whether you’re five or fifty nothing gets us more excited than wrapping up and zipping down the hills on our sleds. It’s the perfect family outing when the cold weather sets in. Within moment we’ve forgotten how our fingers and toes are dropping off, as we drive through the snow trying our best not to topple out of the sledge. What's more is that the greatest sledging spots are sometimes on our doorstep! Londoners need not fear about their distance from the countryside, Greenwich Park and Hampstead Heath are fantastic sledging spots. Heaton Park is another popular city spot for our Northern friends in Manchester. Although, the UK’s truly best sledging spots will be found more further afield in areas such as Tunbridge Wells, the North Yorkshire Moors and even the dedicated sledging parks at the Scottish ski resorts!
Long gone are the days when it was safe to skate on British lakes and even the Thames River. However, we can still enjoy outdoor ice skating in most city centres this winter. So if you’re struggling to get into the countryside to enjoy the true winter wonderland, head down to your local inner-city one. For a truly exquisite experience visit Cornwall’s Eden Project which between 19th October and 2nd March is transformed into an incredibly festive ice skating venue. Londoners are spoilt for choice as the Christmas season creeps upon us. Ice Rinks are all over the city in locating including The Natural History Museum, Somerset House, Hyde Park and the London Eye.