We are Kerry (5′ 1″) and Finn (Age 5 ½ as of 2016), a mother and son who live in the south of Scotland and our aim is to consciously create more outdoor adventure in our day to day lives.
I have always found that I am my happiest and most relaxed when spending time in the outdoors. As a teenager I would take off alone on my hand-me-down racer bike and cycle several miles away to the coast, along cliff tops and bridleways, hauling my bike over fences and stiles. When I went to University solitary exploration in nature took a back seat to social pub gatherings and love interests but my choice of degree (geography) continued to expose me to the benefits of spending time in the outdoors and I spent my summers working student jobs, carrying out dissertation research and spending time in Scottish islands including Skye, Islay, Harris, Jura, Gigha and St Kilda. A third year field trip to Iceland sparked my enthusiasm for the country and it’s landscape and I ended up returning several times to do research for a MSc followed by a PhD. After a very short stint as a post-doctoral researcher my husband and I moved to the Isle of Skye for a couple of years where I learnt Scottish Gaelic ( my husband’s first language).
I left academia when my son was born to concentrate on caring for him full-time. He was a very unsettled baby, he woke at least every couple of hours during the night for the first three years of his life and was easily overstimulated by loud noise, bright lights and large groups of people. However, I took note of how easily he was calmed and how he slept more peacefully when being carried in a sling outdoors. I also began to read a lot about child development and ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ (a phrase coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods where he argues that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioural problems). Convinced of the benefits for all the family, I decided to make spending time outdoors a priority and set about to make it happen.
I have accepted that adventures with a little one will generally be on a much smaller scale and require more flexibility, patience and gear than adventures without children. But I have decided to embrace the challenges and take my little one adventuring with me. Since Finn turned 5 years old we have had various microadventures together including our first wild bivvy, our first winter bivvy, sleeping in mountain bothies, camping by public transport as well as numerous day hikes, night walks and all-weather picnics.
Since my son has got a bit older and I’ve been able to spend a little time away by myself I’ve also found my passion for solo wandering rekindled through week long walks and solo camping trips. Things I had once dreamed of doing as a young teenager and then never got around to doing. My wish is that my son will come to appreciate the gifts that nature and the outdoors has to offer and it’s benefits to physical, mental and spiritual health. I hope that the memories of these early adventures will be with him for years to come, that his experience will one day spark his own call to adventure and give him the confidence to take on his own challenges as he grows up.