Time to review
With the New Year just days away, I thought I would write a review of 2016 and reflect on what a fantastic year I have had. Through health, fitness and outdoor sports, I have developed a lifestyle that really makes me happy and I want to inspire and motivate others to do the same. I’ve had such fun from cycling and camping that my motivation levels have gone through the roof and I thought that I would share some of the highlights of the last year with you. Already I am feeling inspired and excited for the coming year and I cannot wait to set some challenges for 2017.
How did it happen?
I really found my motivation for Outdoor Sports again this year after a camping trip to the north west of Scotland with a dear friend. I hadn’t been camping for over 20 years and I didn’t know if I would enjoy it again. I really thought my camping days were long gone. We had a wonderful time and I was hooked and, after this trip, I decided to start blogging a bit more about my participation in Outdoor Sports. After all, I have always been enthusiastic about the outdoors, I have been cycling for years, and this is my Passion. Now I am enjoying my Outdoor Sports more than ever and I can’t wait for 2017 to come and to experience the amazing new opportunities it will bring!
Highlights of the Year
Things I have learned this year
In my next post I am going to share some of my hopes and dreams for the coming year!
I was very grateful this year to secure the support of the following companies and I look forward to representing or promoting them in the coming year.
Health and Fitness
I thought I would review a sports facility I use in Edinburgh to look at Disability Awareness. For many years people have thought about Disability Awareness as fitting ramps and accessible toilets. However, Disability Awareness is much more complicated than that. People’s attitudes and perceptions of disabled people is just as vital as any physical environment. For example, many disabled people are excluded from the work place due to attitudinal barriers rather than any physical ones.
I have been lucky enough to be given a sponsorship by Nuffield Health, so wanted to share some of my experiences in using their facilities. Nuffield Health are a not for profit Health Business in Britain. As well as providing Private Health Care, they have a large network of Health and Fitness facilities throughout the country. (www.nuffieldhealth.com) I have been using their Health and Fitness Club in Edinburgh and I have had a really positive experience there.
Below I have set out both positive and negative factors I have experienced so far:
Five Great Things About Nuffield Health Edinburgh:
Things Nuffield Might Like To Consider:
Changes Needed To Create a More Accessible Facility:
I have been blown away by the friendliness and welcome I have received at the Facility in Edinburgh and I am very grateful for the fantastic support they have given me. I would highly recommend Nuffield Health as a great place for disabled people to swim, work out and enjoy being part of the Health and Fitness Community.
I have to Confess, I live on a budget at the moment and I don’t have money to burn on expensive kit, however this doesn’t stop me from enjoying and taking part in the outdoors. I thought I would write this piece to review a rucksack at the lower end of the market.
I recently acquired a LIXADA rucksack that I am planning to use on single day expeditions like climbing a Munro or an overnight in a bothy. Its 45 litres which is about the right size for a winter walk or an overnight in the summer months. I have a 30 litre rucksack I find OK for summer time walks but, given the nature of the mountains in winter, the extra spaces is required to carry more equipment. When I tried the rucksack first, it felt like perfectly good quality gear at a fraction of the cost of branded kits. However, I’m not under any illusion that is it probably as great quality and won’t have the life span of better kit, but for my purposes my first impressions we good.
The main compartment is separated in two with an opening at the top,and a pocket opening with a zip at the bottom. The top pulls shut with a tie chord and has a flap over it just as any standard rucksack has. There is a zip pocket up the front of the rucksack providing quite a shallow pocket, although I don’t see much point of this!
There are also zip pockets in the waist belt which could be extremely handy for carrying things you need easy access to. Each zip has a handy toggle on it that would make it easy for disabled people say to open, or if hands or fingers were particularly cold.
The product has a large array or straps which look perfectly sturdy and secure with exception of the clip on the main compartment. I have not seen a clip like this before and it doesn’t look very sturdy but I have and open mind and hope I am wrong. The rucksack also has straps at the sides to make it able to compress the compartment and keep a good shape which is important when out on the hills.
At a retail price of only £18, I think this was a good buy and will be ideal for getting my walking interest off the ground again. However, it remains to be seen whether or not this product with last the length of time that a superior brand would, but that remains it be seen.
Beyond Boundaries East Lothian, or BBEL, is an organisation that helps to provide access to the outdoors and outdoor sport to disabled people. Founded in East Lothian about six years ago, BBEL has over 50 members but in the last year alone has reached over 350 disabled people and given them access to outdoor activities. BBEL has a large range of members, both able-bodied and disabled people, and makes no distinction between volunteers and participants, they are all just equal members of the group.
Yesterday I was lucky enough to join BBEL on a hill walk in the Pentland Hills, just to the south side of Edinburgh. We set off from the car park at Flotterston on what was a beautiful morning. The Pentlands, being so close to Edinburgh, are a popular place for walkers and on such a lovely morning many others had the same idea to make the most of the good weather. We decided to do the flat piece of the walk first and to return over the hills. Myself Sean, and Steve, followed the road past the reservoirs in that area. They are nestled in the middle of the hills. The water on Glencorse Reservoir was so calm, providing a beautiful reflection of the forest and the hills beyond. Birds, we thought were cormorants, sat on a raised bank the middle of the water poised and ready to snap up a fish at any time. Further along by Loganlea Reservoir a heron sat at the side of the road and, when we saw it, was only ten metres away from us. As we approached it took flight but stayed really quite close to us and I was able to get a photograph with its wings extended.
After a small bite of lunch we started to climb the hills. It had taken up two hours to get to the far end of the reservoirs to a place called the Howe, were we would start ascending to over the tops of 3 peaks and back to the car park. We made our way up a steep and well trodden path onto a col where we could have gone West onto East and West Kip, but instead we climbed the first of our peaks, Scald Law. The view was sensational with the now three Forth Bridges and the Ochil Hills beyond, and to the East as far as the eye could see over the East Lothian Coast. After a short descent onto a saddle, we climbed Carnethy Hill followed by Turnhouse Hill. Similarly views were fantastic through the clear winter air. The descent back to the Car park was rather steep and by this time I was getting tired. By the time we got down we had been walking for just under five hours which was really long enough for me!
We had a really fantastic day and, among other things, it just highlighted what a fabulous accessible and open club ‘ BBEL’ are. They never leave anybody behind and, when they say they are open to people of all abilities, they really mean it!
Below are my six favourite things about the day.
I was quite excited when I took my new Lumos helmet out of the box and with good reason too. The first thing that struck me is it felt like a real solid piece of kit, very well made and a little more sturdy than an ordinary helmet. To look at, it is stylish, nicely shaped and it has a nice finish to the colouring.
On the back of the helmet is a single, triangular shaped button, which acts as both an on/off switch and to change function according to whether you like the lights to flash, stay on, or fade up and down. Holding the button switches the lights on and off and a shorter press changes function. I was worried that I would have to take the helmet off every time I wanted to turn it on or off, or change the settings, but it is really easy to operate whilst wearing it.
How it Opperates
The lights themselves are really bright, and are in a triangular shape at the back of the helmet and and bright white strip at the front. A short press off the function button changes the lights from flashing mode, to fully on, or fading up and down. Whichever mode you have the helmet set to, the lights are fairly bright providing the helmet is fully charged up.
At the rear sides of the helmet are two more triangular shaped lights that, when operated flash as orange, and act as indicators. They are controlled by a little handset that is easily attached to the rider’s handle bars by a couple of rubber straps. The rider would press the appropriate button according to which way they want to turn and the light flashes accordingly. This is a neat little feature although not my favourite. I would never rely on this to let a driver know what way I was about to go and so I question the safety of it being there in the first place.
Both Helmet and Handset can be charged by USB. The connection is located at the back of the helmet and on the handset that easily detaches from the handlebars. The connection itself is rather small and it is a bit of a fiddle to keep it connected. The only design flaw that I may point out is that this connection might have been better thought out?
Apart from this tiny little niggle, I think it is a really great piece of Kit and I see many urban cyclists having a helmet such as this in the future.