As we leave winter behind (well, sort of) and enter into a new seasonal cycle, there’s a few things that ‘spring’ to mind... We catch up with GetOutside Champion David Love to find out what he enjoys most about this time of year.
Spring into action
Spring signals longer days, birdsong reaching its peak and the sunshine bringing with it new growth, with buds and fresh crisp leaves bursting through the morning frost. Surely there’s no better time to get outside for a brisk countryside walk.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it difficult to stick to a New Year’s resolution - particularly if it’s health or fitness related while we’re still stuck in the depths of winter. It’s all too easy to stay in hibernation-mode, curled up in front of the fire and waiting out those dark wintery days. But from the first day of March, there really is no excuse for putting off the inevitable, and there’s nothing I like more than to experience the magic of Spring first hand by getting out on long country walks at the weekend.
Where to go
For Spring-time walking, a weekend in the Peak District is hard to beat, with the long ridgeline of Mam Tor being one of my favourite walks in the region. Basing yourself out of Edale will also mean you’ve got Kinder Scout on your doorstep too. If you’re keen on improving your navigation skills, an afternoon spent up high on Kinder’s notoriously featureless plateau is an excellent place to start, if you can find your way across the peat bog that is! For those up for more of a challenge, the Matterhorn-esqué profile of Parkhouse Hill makes for one of the most spectacular walks in the area.
What to see
Another of my favourite places to visit during Spring is Snowdonia. We all know Wales is famous for its sheep and there’s nothing that says Spring has arrived more than the bleating of new born lambs. Lambs have been raised in Snowdonia since at least 4,500BC and the lambing season starts in early March. You may even be lucky enough to see one taking its first wobbly steps! The spring equinox is also just around the corner. This is where the amount of daylight is exactly equal to the amount of night, and occurs this year on Friday 20th March. For stargazers, it’s an excellent opportunity to do a wild camp, where you’ll also get the chance to take in the first sunrise marking the true ‘celestial spring’. If heading up towards the end of May, keep an eye out for the Snowdon Lilly - Britain’s rarest flower. If you’re lucky enough to spot one, be sure to take lots of pictures but nothing else – they’re protected by law and need all the help they can get!
What to eat
The days of autumn comfort food have long gone and hearty root veg soups have been replaced with fresh crisp green salads. Use this time to kick start that healthy eating regime and try to eat as much local produce as you can. When out walking in any of our National Parks, most good pubs will be supporting local farmers and offer some truly tasty plates. Some of my favourite spring-time greens include crisp asparagus, crunchy red radishes, purple sprouting broccoli and steaming Jersey royal new potatoes, crushed with thyme and olive oil. But don’t forget to leave a little room for rhubarb crumble. Ok, not so healthy, but entirely deserved after a long walk in the hills!