Coordinator Emily tells us about the latest developments on the How 2 the Hills project.
As April springs upon us, we are now well underway with the How 2 the Hills project.
During February and March, we did introductory hikes with our partner organisations, LEAP Sports Scotland and the Maryhill Integration Network (MIN), who work with the LGBTI+ and refugee/asylum seeker communities, respectively. We explored Chatelherault Country Park and the Claypits Nature Reserve with the two groups, discussing the barriers that participants face to hiking. This included things like the “Unpredictability of weather, how I’m feeling, and needing something I didn’t bring with me” and “I can get anxious if I don’t know where I’m going”.
After the hikes, we sent out surveys to the participants to ask more in-depth questions about their experiences of the outdoors (what they like and dislike about it), what information they’d find helpful to encourage them to get outside more, and how the walk impacted their wellbeing.
A main theme that came up often when we asked participants what they enjoy about being outside was the mental health benefits that they feel. One of the members of the men’s group at the MIN said, “When you are going stir-crazy inside, you are maybe happier when you come outside. It is a pleasure to see new scenes.”
We asked people what resources they would find useful in helping them to start hiking, or to hike more often. I crunched the data to see what the top five topics were:
At the end of March, we got all the project partners together to discuss the research results and think about how the infocards and workshops might look. It was brilliant to have Helen from Mountaineering Scotland along to help with this process.
We discussed the importance of creating resources which don’t go out of date after one season, e.g. travel information. The infocards will aim to empower individuals to be able to plan a day in the hills themselves, by increasing knowledge and awareness of the steps required and where to look for information. We will conduct workshops based on the content of the five infocards during each of the hikes in the summer series, creating videos with the participants which can be shared more widely and ensure that as many people as possible feel empowered to hike more often.
Over the next 6 weeks, we will be busy gathering content for the cards by talking to industry experts, and creating route itineraries for our four chosen hikes, all ready in time for the start of the summer hiking series on June 3rd.
Stay tuned for more updates! If you have any questions, please email Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund for making this project possible.