The Best Long Walks around Exmoor
Discover some of the best long walks on offer in Exmoor National Park
37-year old science teacher Aleks Kashefi from Buxton believes humans are designed for hardship. Putting this to the test, in 2015 he ran from Land’s End to John O’Groats barefoot and unsupported. He raised more than £11,000 for the Stroke Association – and discovered how capable and resilient humans can be when faced with the most horrendous conditions.
How does it feel to have been chosen as a #GetOutside Champion?
Excited at the same time as extremely honoured to have been chosen.
What are the benefits to you of being outside?
It helps clear my mind, allows me to focus on the things that are actually important and lets me enjoy my surroundings.
What do you most enjoy about being outside?
Getting in the mountains, climbing, crawling and moving through the landscape. There’s no other feeling quite like it.
What’s your favourite terrain to get out in?
Mountains at the moment but in general anywhere that has technical trails to move on. The more obstacles, boulders, fallen trees the better.
What’s your best memory of being outside?
The first time I ran along the Crib Goch ridge and wondering why I’d never run or been on such extreme terrain.
What’s your worst?
Trying to work out whether I had to quit or I could continue during the Land’s End to John O’Groats adventure, when I injured a tendon in my foot.
What’s the most unusual thing to have happened to you outside?
Running up to the top of Wenlock Edge in Shropshire accompanied by a stag and doe for a couple of hundred meters.
What do you like about Great Britain?
Great Britain is all amazing. When running the length of the country at times it felt like I was running through a movie set. There’s so much here that people go abroad for.
Where is your favourite place in Great Britain to be outside?
At the moment I’m really loving the Lake District especially the mountains around Wasdale Head.
In one line, how would you describe the feeling being outsidegives you?
It’s the fastest way to start to realise the incredible abilities of our bodies.
When you’re outside how do you change as a person?
I smile more, I push myself more and I become more open to adapting around problems.
Why as a nation are we not getting outside as much as we could?
We are in many ways of the belief that the UK doesn't have the spectacular places that other countries have, and people are scared for many reasons to get outside. Outside is beyond the edge of some people’s comfort zone.
What tips or pieces of advice would give to someone who wants to get more out of being outside?
Find things to do that aren't just one activity. Mix a trail run with a scramble by stepping off the beaten track and exploring your environment.
What music do you listen to when you get outside / does music inspire you?
This changes on a daily basis. At the moment Timber Timbre is a favourite. It doesn’t inspire me to move, but there’s nothing more fun than flying down a hill, mountain or rocky trail and singing out loud all the way.
What are your backpack essentials?
Depends on the weather. At the least mobile with OS Maps app (maps pre-downloaded). But regardless of whether I take anything or not, I always carry a trusty bobble hat.
What’s your favourite food when you are outside?
Pecans, crispy bacon and cheese.