Limb Valley – a hidden woodland walk
Be sure you're winter-ready for your next chilly hike. GetOutside Champion Jessie Leong shares her top tips, plus a Limb Valley woodland route that's not to be missed this winter season.
Meet Kate MacRae (AKA WildlifeKate) - Avid wildlife watcher, tech loving nature photographer and fresh air addict, and passionate about developing nature connectivity.
What drives you to spend time outside?
Watching wildlife of all sorts is what I love most. I am rarely without my binoculars and my camera and I love encouraging others to stop for a moment to take in what is right on their doorstep.
Where are your favourite places to go?
Some my favourite places are simply my garden and the surrounding area; places where I spend a lot of time and get to know intimately. Whether it be my resident Robin, taking seed from my hand, or the Buzzards soaring over the local fields, I love watching the seasonal changes in my locality, often whilst out with my dog, Wren. In contrast to my home, I absolutely love the Cairngorms. The wildness of this area draws me back regularly to these mountains and wide, open spaces, which can be spectacular for wildlife.
What is your favourite thing to do outdoors?
Watching and photographing wildlife and sharing the joys of nature with everyone and anyone, are my favourite things outdoors. I love setting up cameras to film and monitor the wildlife in my locality; from wired, complex set-ups connected to hi-tech monitoring systems, to Bushnell trail cams on local badger sets, I am constantly on the look out for my next wildlife story.
Who inspires you and how?
Anyone with a passion, commitment and a true love of what they do, inspire me. My wildlife work has meant I have met so many amazing people, who are willing to share their knowledge and love of the natural world with me. I find that truly inspiring.
What are your focuses this year to help people get outside more often?
Nature connectivity is my main drive to get people outside more often. I want to get people to simply "tune in" to nature. Simply "tuning in" to nature is essential to our wellbeing. Listening to birdsong, delighting in the first signs of Spring or feeling sand between your toes; these simple, free activities outdoors are proven to make us feel good. Noticing frosted leaves or marvelling in a dew-jewelled spider webs are experiences in nature that can make us feel amazing.
What are your 3 biggest life achievements?
Working with children to share the natural world with them. I have extensively developed the grounds at the school where I am in charge of Outdoor Learning. "Alfresco" consists of 3 outdoor classrooms, work dens and lovely surroundings for learning. Seeing classes working out there, in the shade of trees with the birds singing, makes my heart burst with pride. Having a child race up to me to tell me they have seen a nuthatch on the bird feeder or saved a bumblebee from the path confirm that nature is part of their soul and always will be!
The growth of my WildlifeKate business and the people I have met through this venture: from a simple blog of the crazy wildlife ventures I undertake, to appearing on BBC Springwatch, Autumnwatch,Countryfile and filming with amazing naturalists, I am mighty proud of where my passion, enthusiasm and love of what I do, has taken me and the incredible naturalists I have met along the way! Watching my two children grow up into amazing adults, with a love and appreciation of the natural world and receiving texts full of images of them standing on mountains and revelling in the joy that being outdoors brings.
3 words you live by…
Enthusiasm, Positivity, Ambition
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
I'm addicted to bird feeders...and partial to fudge!Click to see all 100 GetOutside Champions