OS GetOuside champion Tobias Mews is on The Great British MINI adventure – a 15-day road trip around all of Britain’s 15 National Parks – with a micro-adventure in each. Discover what motivates him to Get Outside...
OS GetOutside champion, adventure athlete and outdoor journalist, Tobias Mews is on a Great British MINI adventure – a 15-day road trip around all of Britain’s 15 National Parks – undertaking a micro-adventure in each.
What’s the challenge?
A 15-day, 2,000-mile winter road trip through all 15 of Britain’s National Parks, completing a four-hour micro-adventure each day. This could be fat biking, canoeing, cycling, fell running or sea kayaking. Each adventure will start at first light and finish four hours later.
Tell us about yourself
I’m an adventure athlete and I live in South West London. Adventure sports are my passion, mainly taking races, events or challenges which claim to be the toughest in the world.
Whatever activity I do tends to have a performance / endurance element to it. I’m also an author and write for many of the national outdoor and fitness magazines, from Runner’s World to Outdoor Fitness, as well writing a column for the Telegraph. I also give talks and love to inspire people to get out and enjoy the outdoors.
Why this challenge?
As a MINI Countryman brand ambassador, I wanted to do a cool road trip around this country, but one that allowed me to stop and do micro adventures. I chose the National Parks as I haven’t properly explored them.
This back-to-back mini adventure started with the Broads on the east coast and works around Britain anti-clockwise.
The micro adventures are meant to be challenging, by nature but also fun and most importantly include a tea and cake stop.
Tobias Mews during the Dargon's Back Race. Photo Credit: James Carnegie Photography
Cycling during the MINI adventure. Photo Credit: Dave Macfarlane
What do you hope to achieve?
I want to create my own activities which maybe others could build on, so in a way I’d like to leave a sort of legacy behind.
My intent was to tackle the hardest trails – not races but outdoor challenges – and navigation is a crucial part of it. But as the trip has evolved, the emphasis has been more focused on the ‘fun’ element, rather than beasting myself.
Why this time of year?
It’s a chance to explore my own country from a different perspective. I’ll also have to make the most of the light which will ensure I appreciate the daylight hours more. I’ll be out every morning at first light and have a morning’s adventures then finish by lunchtime and travel on to the next National Park.
What mapping will you be using?
The OS Maps app and paper maps. I’m starting at the Norfolk Broads and taking in the coasts and the rivers. I love looking at maps and printing maps beforehand - it’s like planning and preparing an exquisite meal. I’ll also be taking hard copies of the OS National Parks maps.
Any other essential pieces of kit?
Different trail running shoes; full sea kayaking equipment; cycling and mountain biking kit; camera gear including GoPro and tripods. The car will be full, to say the least! I’m also hiring stuff when I’m there.
What are your favourite things about being outside?
I love it when a weather warning comes in. I love going out and braving it. It adds to the story and it makes the challenge more rewarding once it’s over.
What do you like about Great Britain?
Nothing’s very high. That can be both a good thing and a bad thing. I also like the variety. You forget how you don’t see anyone for ages. I like the emptiness of Northumberland, and the Venice canals of the Broads. There’s loads of opportunity in GB from an adventure perspective. Sometimes I go abroad looking for something and I find it right here in this country.
Why do you think some people are couch potatoes?
Some people are put off by the British weather and won’t go out if it’s cold or wet. Others need motivation and don’t know where to start. Perhaps they don’t feel fit enough, don’t have the right equipment or don’t have anyone to adventure with.
What are you looking forward to the most on your MINI adventure?
I’m looking forward to the extremes of winter and thrive on the threat of bad weather and snow (Ironically, we set off during the worst storm of the century). I’m also looking forward to Scotland and some off-road running – as well as the coasts of Pembrokeshire and Exmoor.
Photo Credit: Tobias Mews
A parting shot?
I predict I’ll return semi-broken but grinning from ear to ear.
Tobias’s new book 50 Races to Run Before You Die: The Essential Guide to 50 Epic Foot-Races Across the Globe will be released in paperback on 3 Mar 2016.