Bike exploring: Help for Heroes
OS GetOutside Champion, Helen Pollard, takes us on a great Mountain Bike (MTB) route used as part of the delivery of MTB leadership training to Phoenix House staff in collaboration with Cycling UK.
Meet Laura Owen Sanderson - Cold water swimmer, ocean advocate, environmentalist, mother, teacher, open-water lifeguard, lover of salt water.
What drives you to spend time outside?
Solitude. I have also found that it benefits my health and has made me more aware and passionate about conservation and the environment. Getting outside opens your eyes to wildlife and fragile ecosystems and compels you to do something to protect our wild places.
Where are your favourite places to go?
If the tide is in I will head to the local beach in Harlech or head to a cove on the Llyn Peninsula to go snorkelling or swimming. My other favourite pastime is to head into the mountains of Snowdonia just grabbing a map and heading for the little pockets of blue for a dip.
What is your favourite thing to do outdoors?
I run a wild swim business called we swim wild and my favourite past time is to immerse myself in cold water in dramatic landscapes. If I'm not swimming I'm organising regular beach and mountain cleans across Snowdonia as a Surfers Against Sewage rep. You can join me by following @snowdoniabeachclean. I am also an active BDMLR marine medic.
Who inspires you and how?
Sylvia Earle has worked tirelessly her entire career to protect the ocean. Mission Blue, which aims to establish marine protected areas ("Hope Spots") around the globe. She inspires me to keep educating myself through scientific research and getting outside to see the issues first hand and to try and implement change at a grass-roots level.
What are your focuses this year to help people get outside more often?
This year I am swimming all of the UK National Parks to test for micro plastics invisible to the eye. At the same time I am inviting people to come and help us clean up our wild spaces. I will also be running a few free safety course on outdoor swimming through my company ‘we swim wild’ to give others the confidence to get outside and try something new safely.
What are your 3 biggest life achievements?
To date I would say the Snowdon summit to sea swim where we discovered micro plastics at the source of the glaslyn inspiring the next environmental project to try and cut plastics from all UK waterways, my amazing children Isabella & Mabon and the third is hopefully yet to come...Click to see all 100 GetOutside Champions