More Than A Meat Bar

 

To mark World Innovation Day I thought I'd trawl the archives. In the hope that I could inspire you to take a leap of faith.

Dreams are the most profound when they seem the most crazy. Co-incidentally, I was told I was crazy, when I first met with the head of innovation at the Food Centre Wales in 2014. With no knowledge of food production, I was convinced there was an opportunity for an ambient meat bar. I refer to it as the naively optimistic years!

The interview in the short edit below was filmed back in 2015. I was on the verge of launching a Kickstarter campaign for an idea called Fori. One thing that still rings true, three years later, is the ambition to be more than a meat snack, to kick start a revolution. A movement towards snacking on real food and away from sugar laden treats we're misled to believing are healthy.

A revolution never dies.

Through thick and thin, our mission is the one thing that drives our business forward. I can't wait to reveal what we have in store for 2018. This revolution is only just getting started.

Into the void

Carl.

 

 

 

 

IT ALL STARTS WITH CHICKEN DINNERS

 

When young gymnast, Ben Goodall got in touch to thank us for developing Fori, we were intrigued to know more. In just 19 years Ben has grasped more about nutrition than many manage in a lifetime. Here's, Ben's story about how he got in control of his diet and his journey to represent team GB.

ben 2.jpg

OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD

With obesity statistics and "overweight Britain" appearing in headline news most days, there is a constant reminder to shape up our diets and move to living a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, on the other hand with social media dominating most of our lives, young millennials are facing increasing pressure to have a perfect body.

Ben was a 15 year old, trying to juggle friends, GCSE revision and devoting 90% of his time to gymnastics. As with most 15 years olds, Ben was poorly informed about nutrition and adopted a typical Western diet, which unfortunately led to bloating and gut issues. Combined with the pressures of stereo-typical images, Ben felt insecure and developed body issues, eventually becoming clinically underweight. Unaware of the impact Ben, went to the British Championships which sadly finished in a disaster.

"I was unable to complete any of my routines and missed out on the finals"

Left very disheartened, he sat down with his National Coach to hear the words -

"You need to eat more chicken dinners"

Of course, this wasn't easy for Ben to hear, but it was the light bulb moment Ben needed. Ben realised he wasn't treating his body the way it deserved and nourishing it with the right nutrients needed to preform gymnastics to this level. Therefore, Ben got back to a healthy body weight and went back to the British championships the following year to prove to himself he could do it and not only did he prove to himself, he also tumbled his way to a silver medal in the 2015 British championships.

ONE STEP FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK

Even though Ben had overcome his nutrition problems, injuries sometimes are inevitable. The stress of training for bigger moves left Ben struggling with his spine and was unable to compete for the whole of 2016 and losing his spot on the British team. Ben was gutted, but true to his spirit he stayed upbeat and wouldn't let his injury define him, he would come back and this time stronger.

Ben did just that, securing his place back in the British 2017 championships coming home with another silver. This meant he could now finally go to the World's in Bulgaria, in which he did earning himself a PB and 8th place!

Ben.jpg

REFLECTIONS

Learning 1

"Sorting out my nutrition was one of the most important steps in getting me to where I am today; it boosted my performance and helped me recover from my injury"

Now that Ben understands the importance of nutrition and furthering his knowledge on what diet is optimal for him, Ben has decided to adopt a Paleo inspired diet. However, one problem Ben faces on a daily basis is trying to maintain good nutrition whilst being on the go.

"Portable, clean, tasty and ambient nutrition is hard to find"

As even though Ben is a fan of sardines, they are not the most convenient and very smelly to take on a plane. Therefore, this quest led Ben to our bars which is music to our ears as our one mission when creating Fori was to make the ultimate snack without compromise.

Learning 2

"Life is not a journey that happens to you, you have to get out there! Play an active role in shaping the way you want your life to be. Take the bad with the good and keep going. But most importantly have fun and enjoy it"

The admiration we have for this young Foriger is up there and it has been a pleasure to help him on his quest to eat clean and punch above his weight!

#DEVOUR&CONQUER

 

What does it all mean?

 

Cheap meat often comes at a price. Paid for by the farmers, processors, animals and ultimately the environment.  To help you navigate the landscape (and following on from our journal; How to buy the best meat) our resident agricultural expert, Laura, has taken a look at the claims found on packaged meat and reveals what they all mean.

organic free range-01.jpg

Organic

SoilAssociation_120wx121h.jpg

Organic agriculture is about a way of farming that pays close attention to nature. It means fewer chemicals on the land such as artificial fertilisers and the absence of veterinary medicines such as antibiotics in rearing livestock and the avoidance of genetic modification. Organic farming can also offer benefits for animal welfare, as animals are required to be kept in more natural conditions. 

  • Organic farms don’t use chemical fertilisers or pesticides and the routine use of antibiotics is not permitted, organic systems also dictate that the animals must have access to the outdoors for the majority of their lives.
  • Organic standards are defined by law, and farmers and processors must be certified by an approved organisation, the most renowned is the Soil Association. The Soil Association organic logo appears on approximately 80% of organic food produced in UK

Free-range

Free-range allows for chickens, pigs and most recently cattle to be outside for at least part of their lives.

  • Free- range poultry must meet legal requirements. The RSPCA states that chickens must have a defined amount of space (no more than 13 birds a square metre), be 56 days old before they are slaughtered and have continuous daytime access to open-air runs, with vegetation, for at least half their lifetime.
  • A varied environment allows the animals to exhibit more of their natural behaviours.
Fori_Farm-11.jpg

Grass fed

Grass fed focuses on the traditional practice of grazing cattle and sheep on grassland as opposed to what is perceived as a more intensive practice of indoor fattening on grains.

  • In the UK, the words grass fed can be used to describe food from animals that have spent the majority of their time eating grass.
  • If you are seeking meat from animals solely fed on grass and forage crops then look for the Pasture-Fed Livestock Logo. It is a farmer-led organisation that promotes the health, welfare and environmental benefits of raising cattle and sheep exclusively on grass and forage crops.

RED TRACTOR

Red Tractor_AssuredFoodStandards_115wx124h.jpg

Britain's largest food label, the Red Tractor, guarantees that products featuring the Union Jack attached to the Red Tractor logo have been born, raised, slaughtered, grown, prepared and packaged entirely within the UK and in accordance with their strict standards. They beleive all animals should have the following:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain the animals' full health and vigour.

  • Freedom from discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.

  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.

  • Freedom to express normal behaviour - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind.

  • Freedom from fear and distress - by ensuring conditions and care which avoid mental suffering

RSPCAAssured(new)_150wx180h.jpg

RSPCA ASSURED

RSPCA Assured is an independent certification by the RSPCA, unlike other labelling schemes they are independent from both the food and farming industries.

  • Their vision is for all animals to have a good life and to be treated with compassion and respect and as such are acknowledged as a higher-level scheme by the UK government.
  • RSPCA go above and beyond the standards of free range but don’t replicate all of the standards laid out within organic certification.

The simplest thing you can do to help raise animal welfare standards is to vote with your wallet. Whenever possible choose the highest standard you can afford. Finally, watch out for the meat in your meals when eating out. Don't be afraid to ask where it comes from and do your research if eating any meat-based product. As a bare minimum, always look for the Red Tractor logo.

 

A Lidl Adventure

 

We're here to disrupt, to change a market and save you from crap snacks. So when the grocery giant Lidl, said they were interested in stocking Fori we jumped at the chance!

For the next month, our superior sustenance will be stocked in 350 Lidl stores nationwide. Meaning you can pick up and stock up, during your weekly shop.

Fori_Lidl_SocialMediaV3-01.jpg

Of course, it's not conventional for a start-up food brand to launch with Lidl. But we're not a conventional start-up. We want to influence change, and arguably, Lidl has done this more than any other grocery retailer in the UK! So we're grateful to Lidl for the opportunity, to lead the charge and make snacking better for everyone.

 

Lessons learned and future plans

 

Reflecting back on 2017 has been cathartic. Those victories that we overlooked amidst the mania of running a food start-up soon add up.

80k Fori bars were consumed, we exhibited at 6 major trade shows in 3 countries, won 4 awards for innovation and increased our small but perfectly formed team by 50% (from 2 to 3!).

Sunset from the Rhigos (1).jpg

We're not a conventional food start-up, but that suits us. Because we're not a conventional product nor do we have realistic expectations (self-imposed). We have a long-term vision and we know it's not going to be easy but we laid great foundations in 2017.

Did we get close to our forecasts? NO! Do we know a lot more than we did 12 months ago? YES! Success can be measured in many ways. We know, one day, we will hit that forecast but for now, we're learning, evolving and grafting.

7.7.jpg

2017 taught us some valuable lessons, that can only be gained through experience and being in the midst of a food start-up. Our experiences were from the sublime to the ridiculous. Seeing the bars in Whole Foods for the first time, recruiting a small but awesome team and receiving emails from people who've used our bars to fuel their adventures are just a few of the things to make us feel really proud. As for the ridiculous, witnessing a person washdown protein powder with Redbull at BodyPower or being asked for £10k+ listing fees / marketing contributions makes you realise the challenge we face. 

For us, 2018 is all about evolution. We want to disrupt, to change the snacking landscape for the better and for the future. Starting next week, we will be one step closer, to our vision of making superior sustenance convenient and affordable when our bars become available in Nisa and Lidl. Then in early Spring we will be launching several new flavours and formats which will really shake things up. Please, keep in touch and join us for the ride, it's going to be one hell of an adventure!

 

How to buy the best meat

 

A once hallowed ground, free from marketing skulduggery, the meat aisle at your local supermarket is now laden with choices, set to bamboozle and potentially mislead. This means that it is more difficult than ever to decipher the "fake farms" from the real ones and make the best choice for you and your family. Thankfully, our latest recruit, Laura Talbot is here to help.

START LOCAL

Go Local! One of the many things we are passionate about at Fori HQ is sourcing locally. Buying directly from a local farm shop, butchers or farmers market comes with a higher guarantee of a short supply chain. It can also mean higher British welfare standards, not only this, but it can help to keep the cost down, by cutting out the middleman. In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to help support local businesses and keep British agriculture thriving.

meat is meat square-01.jpg

Local may not always mean local

Don’t be afraid to challenge where you shop and ask where the meat comes from. Whilst we like to trust our small butchers it’s important that you still ask the question. What we perceive to be local may be different to the reality. We've been duped before, buying meat from a local Welsh butcher, only to discover the heard lives in Aberdeen! An absolute travesty, given the Welsh heritage for producing some of the UK's finest cattle and sheep.

THE CHEEK OF IT

Some of the tastiest cuts of meat are also the cheapest and we’re seeing them make a comeback. Next time you’re in the kitchen cooking up a storm give slow cooked beef cheek a try, it won’t disappoint.

Buying from a farm shop isn’t always the most practical solution, in which case it’s important to know your labels. Keep tuned for our next journal post from Laura, in which she takes a closer look at the labels adorning the meat on the supermarket shelves...

 

TAKING ON THE ATLANTIC

 

We created Fori to fuel the pioneers, those people who take themselves and often others out of their comfort zone to see where the magic happens. For Will Whitehead and his crew, the magic will happen somewhere between San Sebastian in the Canary Islands and Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour in Antigua.

Turning his back, temporarily, on a career in creative advertising Will has turned to the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge to see if it can make him "feel alive". It takes a certain kind of person to keep going when faced with blisters, salt rash, sharks and sleep deprivation. To this day, many more people have climbed Everest, reached the North Pole or ventured into space than have successfully rowed the Atlantic.

Read on to discover what motivates this 23 year old to take on one of the hardest sporting challenges around.

Will.jpg
"I saw the Atlantic rowing race on TV during my final major project at University. I was heading to London to start a career in creative advertising but ultimately I felt it wasn't the right path for me. I saw the Atlantic project as an opportunity to really experience the feeling of 'being alive' as you'll hear people describe it; I don't want to be an old man one day to look back on my twenties as if I hadn't made the most of them."

How the thought came a reality 

"The thought of 'feeling alive' was enough, it gave me the drive to go out and make it happen. Fortunately too, I always knew that Mark, another team member had been interested in taking on the challenge too, so together we started to make it a reality"

the row is only part of the challenge

"I haven't even started the row yet but the past two years have been the hardest I've ever faced mentally. The project is massively time consuming, testing your entrepreneurial spirit to raise 100K to fund the expedition."
where theres a will theres a way.jpg

What keeps you going?!

"As hard as it is on times, I think this is that kind of experience that can only help you grow. Also, if I settle for a life of Sunday walks and cooking, I hope the achievement will vanquish any doubt of my own capability!"
Fori on a ship.jpg

Will and his team; WIGHT LIGHTENING set off on the 12th December. They will also be raising money for two charities too, the Ability Dogs for Young People and Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. We will be documenting their trip throughout and look forward to touching base with Will after, will this be the start to many adventures?

 

The Adventurous Path

 

What leads people down the adventurous path? Is it nature, nurture or is it just fate. In January Tania Noakes will set-out to complete the “Norge På Langs” which is roughly translated from Norwegian as “Norway from end to end”. It is a journey of approximately 2500km extending from Lindesnes the most southerly tip of Norway to Nordkapp in the extreme north. In order to complete this winter journey in 80-90 days, Tania will have to ski an average 30-40km each day. If successful Tania will be the first British woman to complete “Norge På Langs”, solo and in a single winter. More information click here.

So what makes someone want to undertake such a feat?  Here is Tania's tale.

Tania Noakes.jpg

This summer I lost my father to brain cancer. It has been one of the most difficult and soul-searching periods of my life. It has been hard to see the good things, the happiness and the hope behind the depth of sadness that losing a parent brings. My father always loved hearing about my adventures. He encouraged me forward with a belief and love that lit up my life from my first tentative steps into the mountains through to qualifying as a Mountain Guide and beyond.

The Challenge: Norge På Langs

It is wonderful when someone else is inspired by your dream and I am grateful for Fori’s belief and support. They have agreed to sponsor me with their savoury snack bars to help keep me going through the dark, cold winter months ahead. In return, Fori invited me to share with you some of the reasons why I take on challenges like this. It’s a good question… so here goes!

In January I will set out to ski the classic Norge På Langs. This is a journey of over 2500km that will take me from one end of Norway to the other through some of Europe’s’ most wild and remote mountainous areas whilst they are locked in the grip of winter. Alone and without mechanized transportation I aim to complete my traverse in around 80-90days.

As I write these words a mixed swirl of emotions rises within me, bubbling up and expanding in pace with my imagination; curiosity, excitement, hope, love, happiness, nervousness, doubt, disappointment and sadness. A kaleidoscope of feelings that wash over me and cause me to take a deep breath and reflect for a moment.

Nuggets of truth

Life contains many challenges. We can only ever control how we respond to them.

I’ve just got in from a run up high on the Chamonix valley trails. It’s a bright sunny day, vibrant with autumn colours. There’s a crisp chill in the air that breathes a freshness and clarity into you. Days like these wake you up and make you feel truly alive. I find time and space to think whilst out running. I can sift out the sand from my cluttered thoughts and discover shiny nuggets of truth.

TN in the Oztal Alps of Austria.jpg

What an adventurous path has taught me

I live in Chamonix, in the France Alps, and I work as a professional IFMGA Mountain Guide and Ski Instructor. I grew up in Essex, which is one of the flattest counties in the UK and far removed from the world I’m immersed in now. A life of taking on challenges has helped me develop the courage and self-belief that I needed to qualify as a Mountain Guide and to create the life I dreamt of whilst growing up.

This is what adventure has to offer us, the opportunity for personal growth.

The outcome of an adventure is never certain; there are always unknowns and often difficulties. The physical journey is matched every step of the way by an even tougher mental journey. In terms of how you respond to the unexpected and how you manage your emotions. I look ahead to this winter and the up swell of emotion forces me to look directly at my fears and recognise them for what they are; reminders that nothing is permanent, and that our lives are changing around us whether we want them to or not.

Each of us will face difficulties at some point in our lives, set-backs, frustrations, and disappointments. How we respond goes a long way to defining our character and our future. Significant events; an unexpected failure in school or in your career, the breakdown of a relationship, the loss of a loved one often shake us to the core, and force us to look inside ourselves for answers, for a way forward, for strength and hope.

By choosing the adventurous path I have encountered many set-backs. I have risked failure, been frustrated and disappointed many times and I have learnt to pick myself up again, and again. I have learnt to look again from a different perspective, to save the grain of gold, and move forward into life, not withdraw from it.

My adventures remind me to embrace life to the full, for it is fragile and too short. To value each day I share with family and friends, to focus on the things I can do rather than regret the things I can’t, to be grateful for the rich wonders of the world, and the depth of kindness and compassion that others often show us in times of need.

StefanandTaniacheck-out-the-descent-on-stage-2.jpg

My life in the mountains, learning to respond appropriately to a constantly changing environment with real and immediate consequences, has helped me to better understand and stay calm in the face of my most challenging fear; that despite all our efforts there will come a time when we must let go of everything. Even those things that we hold most dear, even the things that define who we are.

I have wanted to ski the length of Norway for many years. This year I started planning to make it happen. So that I could have a bright star of hope on the horizon, something positive that my father and I could share and talk about during our last months together; something that would extend forward into an unknown future.

I know that he would have loved to have shared this journey with me in person. I also know that he would want me to let go of my sadness, to stay open and curious about the world, to keep learning, to keep adventuring and above all to be happy. For me this journey is special, and I will not be alone.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tania is a writer, adventurer and IFMGA Mountain guide. She is a mentor and role model for young athletes and mountaineers, particularly young women and aims to inspire and develop them through both her writing and speaking engagements.

Alongside her journey she is raising money for the “The Ulysses Trust”. This is a charity that provides a source of funding for young people in the UK Cadet Forces to enable them to undertake adventurous outdoor experiences and expeditions aimed at personal development. To help the engagement and development of young people in society, individually, and as effective contributors to their communities and as citizens. To help Tania with a donation click here.

 

Trail Food - Energy That Lasts

 

If you're like us, from Wednesday onward you're planning your weekend escape. Our thinking often goes like this - Who's up for it? How long have we got? What kit do we need? How much cash do we have left? How will we fuel it?

Often overlooked the 5th question has been the route of several adventures gone bad. So to make sure we're better prepared in future we've recruited the help of performance nutritionist Rebecca Dent. We thought we'd walk before we run and ask Rebecca to tackle how we fuel for a day walking in the hills.

rebecca dent.jpg

For all day energy it’s best to pack whole foods and ditch the sugary snacks. When out hiking the hills your body will generally use a mix of fat and carbs for energy. Adding some protein will not only add flavour, it’ll also help slow how quickly the food is digested, prolonging energy levels, whilst kick starting the recovery process at the end of the hike.

Ditch the sports drinks, bars and gels. They're simply not needed for a hike in the hills. Although tempting Solely relying on sugar-laden drinks, bars, gels and sweets can reek havoc with your stomach and likely lead to spending the day chasing energy crashes.

How many calories?

Old School = The exact amount of calories per hour depends on your size, gender, fitness, the terrain, the load you are carrying, distance and so on. It’s not an exact science but using MET minutes (1) can provide a guideline. A 75kg person for one hour hiking cross country will burn 450kcals per hour, for the same person hiking hills it’s 550kcals/hour

New Tech = If you track your energy expenditure using wearable technology (Garmin, Sunnto, Tom-Tom, Fitbit)  this can be used as ‘rough’ guide to calculating energy requirements for the day, if repeating similar hikes. Research and experience shows that energy equations and technology can both over or underestimate on ‘calories burnt’ (2). So take heed of this and your gadget’s limitations (3).

IMG_3695.jpg

Sample food ideas

Wholegrain sandwiches with tuna/egg/cheese/chicken, Peanut butter and banana sandwich, small cheese portions, sweet or savoury oat cakes, home made trail mix (salted cashews/almonds, dark chocolate, apricots and prunes), boiled eggs, oat cakes + cheese/peanut butter, peanut butter sachets, oat, seed and protein based snack bars;

From around 60-90mins into your walk, to keep energy supplies steady, drip feed taking small mouthfuls of food every 30mins (e.g. 1/4 sandwich, 1 handful of trail mix, 1/2 cereal bar).

Being prepared and planning your nutrition and hydration to take on the hill, is the best idea to make sure you have enough food and will also save you money, especially if you frequently go hiking.

It’s always worth packing some jelly sweets, gums or a chocolate bar for those ‘just in case of an emergency moments’, you get lost, weather comes in, an injury occurs or you are out for longer than expected. At these times you'll thank me for a quick energy hit or a sweet treat for that psychological boost!

Calorie Deficit

If you are going for a social day on the hills you don't need to worry about meeting your exact requirements. Burning more calories ahead of the evening feast is the reward for many! Aim to eat approximately 150-200 calories per hour (e.g. large handful of trail mix, 1 cereal bar, 1/2 sandwich, 2 oat cakes + mini cheese portion).

To choose your hiking foods aim for about 50:50 carbs:fat ratio (4,5) , https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11579177

Now you’ve decided where you are going hiking and approximately how many calories you will need for the day, it’s time to plan your hiking menu!

#Fat rich energy foods

Nuts (cashews, macadamias, brazils, almonds), seeds, avocado, dark chocolate (75% cocoa or more), nut butters, nut butter sachets (e.g. Meridian, Pip&Nut), chorizo, mini cheese portions.

#Carb rich energy foods

Whole grain bread (rye, granary, pumpernickel), oat based cereal bars, fruit bars, oat cakes,  dried fruit (prunes, apricots, dates, figs).

#Protein rich foods

Boiled eggs, jerky (salmon, chicken or beef), cheese, mini cheese portions, chorizo, Fori bars, nuts and seeds, tinned fish.

DSC04927.jpg

References:

1)   Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Aug;43(8):1575-81. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31821ece12. 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities: a second update of codes and MET values. Ainsworth BE1, Haskell WL, Herrmann SD, Meckes N, Bassett DR Jr, Tudor-Locke C, Greer JL, Vezina J, Whitt-Glover MC, Leon AS. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21681120

2) Accuracy of wearable devices for estimating total daily energy expenditure. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2500062, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4683756/

3) Wearable technology for athletes information overload and pseudoscience? http://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/pdf/10.1123/IJSPP.2016-0486

4) Regulation of endogenous fat and carbohydrate metabolism in relation to exercise intensity and duration. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8214047,

5) The effects of increasing exercise intensity on muscle fuel utilisation in humans.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11579177

 

DISCOVER YOUR HIDDEN GEMS

 

We're always looking for new places to explore. So we thought we'd ask expedition expert, Rebecca Coles for her hidden gems, in the hope that she would lead us to some uncharted territories. Unfortunately, Rebecca wasn't as obliging as we'd hoped!

The first thing I’m going to tell you is that I’m NOT going to tell you about my hidden gems. If I were to tell you, to publish them here, allow search engines to pick them up, they may quickly no longer be hidden gems, and that defeats the point. Sorry to disappoint you.

FIND YOUR OWN GEMS

Instead, I’m going to tell you something much better; how to find your very own hidden gems, that you can keep just for you, your own secret to revisit any time you wish. Here are my tips on how to discover your own hidden gems.

IMG_8056.JPG

To begin you’ll need to think creatively, harness your inner inquisitiveness and be prepared to be unsuccessful. For every hidden gem you find they’ll be ten failed missions, but I guarantee that those failures will have been fun nonetheless, and you’ll be recounting stories of how you got the bramble scratches on your legs and went up to your waist in bog.

GET A MAP OUT

If you’re a visual person and love maps, like myself, try getting hold of a map of your local area and looking for intriguing places. It may be a strange place name, a lake that you didn’t know existed or hidden cove that catches your eye. The next step is to go on a mission to find it.

Get a map out

People are drawn to the highest, biggest, longest. Everyone knows the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales but do you know the second and third highest? What I can tell you is they have a tenth the amount of people on them and are magnificent in their own right. But don’t listen to me go and discover them for yourself.

What about long distance paths? How about making up your own long-distance walk? Or linking peaks by train, or bike, or packraft? It’s often by approaching something in a different way, both physically and metaphorically, that we discover hidden gems along the way.

IT'S ABOUT THE JOURNEY

Finally, remember to keep your wits about you when trying to find hidden gems. Sometimes it’s not what’s there that is the hidden gem but a feeling we get, someone we meet or a shaft of light through a glade that creates a special moment. Remember these, keep them close, as they can’t be recreated, instead they become a precarious memory. Keeping all your senses alert will give you best the chance to experience these moments, which could be the smell of the Autumn leaves, the sight of an otter print in the mud of the river bank, the sound of the first cuckoo of the year, the apple fresh taste of wood sorrel leaves, or the feeling of cool, wet sand on the soles of your feet.

Hidden Gem.jpg

To find hidden gems, you must explore, get outside and experience. A hidden gem could be right on your doorstep, waiting to be discovered.