​As a nation, we have been forced to stop in our tracks, limiting our time outside and the people we see. This challenging period of abnormality has encouraged many of us to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. For others it's been about appreciating the little things which often go unnoticed, spring flowers, birdsong and more quality time spent with our children.

We caught up with a few of our OS GetOutside Champions and OS employees to see how they are getting on and ask them to reflect on their time in lockdown.

Meet Zoe Homes - GetOutside Champion

I have to admit, I've been a little bit jealous of those who seem to have achieved great things or taken part in big challenges during lockdown. I'm one of the many people who are still working full time - albeit from home - and my day job has become even more stressful than normal. I am grateful that I can still work, though, and appreciate that I can continue with my routine of spending time outside every day within the government guidelines.

Countryside and stile
Cleeves Hill

My daily walks have been a lifeline for my body and mind, and I have very much been enjoying exploring the world from my own front door. I should have been walking Wainwright's Coast to Coast route from St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay in early June, which I have unsurprisingly had to postpone to next summer. Instead, I've been totting up the miles walked on my daily lunchtime wander and using that to walk the long-distance path virtually. This is a good bit of fun to see how far I can walk in my lunch break and keep me motivated to get out every day. It also helps me plan the route next year as each day I study the map and read up on the history of the area I've been walking through. So far, I've walked 118 miles, mainly in three-ish mile loops, and I am having a bit of a sit down in Marrick on my way to Richmond... I can't wait to do the route for real!

Meet Alex Staniforth - GetOutside Champion

During lockdown I’ve been especially grateful for being able to exercise within government restrictions. Also grateful for the technology to keep in touch with people around the world and getting my grandma on WhatsApp was a technological revelation!

Alex at Trig pillar
Bike overlooking countryside view

Whilst injured and briefly unable to run I had been in the gym, but once this was closed it forced me back on the bike for the first time in a year and wondering why I put it off for so long. Most of all, I started an interview series with top adventurers and athletes (including some fellow OS GetOutside Champions) to share their tips on staying resilient and mentally well during tough times. Whilst I’m not a key worker I figured we can all use our skills to make a difference somewhere... it was totally new to me, but it had great feedback and connected to those feeling isolated.

Meet Jessie Leong - GetOutside Champion

Lockdown has inspired me to be creative - with crags and climbing definitely off the list, I've been drawn to baking my own sourdough loaves and learning to be patient with the various proving techniques! I've also been fascinated to learn about how you can use foraging to create food, making my first batch of vegan honey using dandelion flowers (and surprised by how delicious it tasted!) I'm grateful to be in a relatively semi-rural location, with footpaths and greenspace outside of my door, and to not rely on using a vehicle to get into the outdoors.

As a freelance photographer and instructor it's often easy to get frustrated by the things you 'can't do', however, I've found that being able to go for a short walk or run in the outdoors has helped me re-connect with nature and appreciate a slower pace of life. Creating delicious home made vegan honey and sourdough bread has helped in making me appreciate the provenance of food too (and tastes AMAZING!)

Meet Phillipa Cherryson - GetOutside Champion

I’ve never known peace like this before. At least, not where I live. The roar of traffic from the two dual carriageways near our home has dropped to a murmur. The constant planes roaring overhead have gone.

Phillipa at Trig pillar
View through woodland

Without them, the birds are louder than ever, a bee buzzing past is deafening and even the sound of wind in the leaves makes me stop and look. At night I step outside my back door and the air is thick with silence, broken only by the hooting of an owl.

This peace is something I am treasuring every day and something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. When lockdown lifts, the traffic returns to the roads and the planes to our skies, it’s something I know I will miss every day.

Meet David Finlayson - GetOutside Champion & OS surveyor

Moving home is a huge undertaking but moving during lockdown threw up a few new challenges which we hadn’t anticipated.

To limit social interaction, we hired a van and took on the logistics of the move ourselves. Even collecting the keys for the new house and van was now a completely different process due to lockdown. My Fiancée and I have become experts in every aspect of moving home, from trying to lift the washing machine into the van, to improvising DIY fixes around the home due to a lack of materials as a result of not being able to nip to the DIY store.

David in new garden

Moving from an inner city flat to a house with a garden has also given us room to learn a few new green fingered skills, and whilst in lockdown, we have taken full advantage of our new garden. Already the broccoli has made an appearance, the runner beans, rhubarb and potatoes are now in and the compost heap is full.

I think once we start to move back towards a more familiar and normal way of living, I certainly will appreciate those little things in life that could have been so easily taken for granted in the past, like popping to the DIY store, visiting the garden centre or calling someone in to fix my DIY fails!

Meet Helen Newman - new to the OS team!

This surreal situation has made me think about what truly matters to me. I’ve found that it’s not the material things I miss the most but the company of family and friends. During these past two months I’ve spoken to my friends and relatives far more often than I usually do, albeit virtually, and I hope this newfound closeness continues beyond COVID-19.

Alongside relationships, health and fitness has proven more important to me than ever. I have focused all my free time (and there’s been a lot of it!) in getting fitter and stronger. In April I completed a virtual challenge which saw me run over 200km for the WHO. I’ve taken up home weight training, home HIT workouts and have even dusted off my cycling shorts, all which have kept me both physically and mentally healthy.

Helen running in countryside
Tree blossom

I have really missed the sense of freedom being outdoors brings – much more than I thought I would! Now is the time to research, from the comfort of your own home, and discover new routes, new peaks and entirely new adventures. I’ve created a whole host of new routes on OS Maps to explore, when the time is right. For now, though, I’ll stick to routes close to home. This period of lockdown has made me realise how much satisfaction I get from nature and how material things, like a haircut or a new dress, play little importance in the grand scheme of things.

Follow Helen on Instagram

How has lockdown changed your way of thinking? Will you emerge from it with a new appreciation? Have you learnt a new skill? If you’re in need of some motivation or inspiration to keep you going until we can be outside again, visit the GetOutside Inside Hub.

Get active at home

Published 04/05/2020