Debs Butler
  • OS Champion

Debs Butler

OS Champion

Meet OS Champions Debs Butler – Cyclist, teacher, walker, paddler, lover of maps, coffee and cake.

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I am a PE teacher who enjoys a wide range of sports and outdoor activities. I started cycling as a way to get to work in 2011. I enjoyed two-wheeled freedom so much that four years later I began an around the world cycling tour! Now I spend my holidays getting from place to place by bike, on foot, or by paddleboard – making sure there is time to stop for snacks on the way.

Why do you love the outdoors?

I love seeing new places, or even the same places at a different time of day or year. I find the satisfaction of getting myself from point to point by my own effort (whether that is walking, cycling, or paddling) really pleasing. I love looking at a map and thinking “my legs got me there!” I also know how good outdoor exercise is for my physical and mental health – it really is part of my every day.

How do you get outside?

I cycle to work and am outdoors a lot as part of my job. In my spare time I walk and ride my bike locally, trying to use four wheels as little as possible. Sometimes I use a kick scooter too. I enjoy planning active trips that fit into other plans, for example in one school holiday I cycled home from a wedding I went to in Edinburgh!

I regularly camp out with a tent or bivvy on trips, it’s great when you find a really peaceful place to camp.

What’s your favourite route?

This circular walk on the IOW taking in Colwell Bay, Alum Bay, Needles Viewpoint, Tennyson Downs and Freshwater Bay. Probably bang for buck the best medium length walk in the UK!

Debs Butler bikepacking

Debs Butler bikepacking

Have you got any adventures planned?

I’ve been doing overnight walks ranging from weekend long to full weeks with the aim of building a continuous line from the Isle of Wight to the Scottish border. There’s probably about three weeks left in total, so will aim to do more of that in 2023, Cycling UK have just released a new off-road route in Norfolk, and I’ll look forward to riding that next year too.

What’s the most essential thing on your kit list?


Who inspires you to get outside?

I really enjoy reading about trips with a theme – like recreating an old journey or something like that. I also love hearing people’s stories about how they start getting involved in the outdoors, whoever they are. I’m always interested in adventures that start from your front door, or an otherwise unglamorous start!

What do you prefer: Paper or digital map? (Controversial we know!)

Paper. Not controversial at all. There’s only one winner!