Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Various Organisations

Various Organisations

Once, there was a listing of outdoor organisations in the footer of this blog, and it is a slight surprise that I never converted it into an article like this one. Having gathered a varied selection recently, it feels opportune to collect them and other others that I find afterwards. This is a varied bunch, and eclecticism is a feature that I hope to retain as new additions get made.

All accept members, and some also are happy to receive donations for their work. Volunteering is a natural hallmark of many of these and that fills gaps that may have been the preserve of the public sector once upon a time, but current austerity means that such activity had more of a place now than during the boom of more than a decade ago.

Blackdog Outdoors

Many report that being out in nature helps with mental health, and I certainly found that wandering through the countryside really helped during the height of the pandemic. This organisation organises a range of group activities for those needing help with their mental health; the clue is in the name if you have come across the expression before. It is not just about walking or hiking, but cycling, climbing and water sports also feature.

Friends of the Lake District

This group is not just about the Lake District National Park, though their efforts often are centred there, with volunteers working on maintenance activities. They also campaign on conservation matters and have a proposal for extending the National Park area to the south as well.

Green Mountain Club

This group maintains the Long Trail in the Green Mountains of Vermont, part of the Appalachian Trail, one of the National Scenic Trails of the United States of America. Accordingly, you will find walking advice here as well as details of voluntary maintenance activities.

Mountain Meitheal

This is an organisation that maintains paths and other similar infrastructure in the Irish hills, and the growing interest in Irish hillwalking means that such work is much needed, and the Irish state is not always there to do the needful. Often, there is an apparent shortfall in such efforts, and they are always wanting more volunteers to help.

Ochils Landscape Partnership

In recent times, I have frequented the Ochil Hills more often than I once did. It has been those incursions that brought this organisation to my notice, for the hills themselves offer an invaluable sanctuary to those living around Stirling and Clackmannanshire. There are numerous projects and opportunities for volunteering, as well as a virtual visitor centre. This part of the world deserves all that attention, as I have found for myself.

Peak & Northern Footpath’s Society

In the north of England, you will find many a sign erected by this organisation, and they also put bridges in place as part of their commitment to making improvements. Otherwise, they monitor and protect the footpath network to ensure that it remains useful for lovers of the outdoors. In these cash-strapped times, their efforts are more needed than they ever were.

Scottish Mountaineering Club

A few of the guidebooks published by this organisation have entered my possession, but it also owns mountain huts that can be booked by groups and the website has both hill and climb lists. Hillwalkers’ books are more my kind of interest and these include hill lists such as the Munros, Corbetts, Donalds and Grahams as well as one for the North-west Highlands. The associated Scottish Mountaineering Trust also publishes books like Scottish Hill Names and Hostile Habitats that I also have in my collection.

Scottish Wild Land Group

Scotland is home to a lot of land that feels wild to visitors, and this group wants to keep it that way in the face of pressure from wind farm and hydroelectric developments, as well as unwanted hill tracks. With the prevailing economic conditions, they have plenty to do, so their survival following a lengthy volunteer shortage is invaluable.


Another name for this organisation is The Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society, which tells you what a lot of what it does. Handily, they have a viewer showing heritage paths that is invaluable for any long-distance walker in Scotland. Because none of these are highlighted on any maps, it would be better to have GPX files available, and things do not appear to have gone that far for now. A book of these has been published in the past but seems not to be available at the time of writing.

The Munro Society

For a long time, the collection of people who had climbed all of Scotland’s mountains with a height of at least 3,000 feet or 914.4 metres was a select one. That is no longer as much the case and this organisation is for those who have achieved the feat, with some having completed multiple rounds of the Munros, something that has become more prevalent in recent decades. Some will decry list ticking, but it can be a way of motivating explorations of hill country, and operating like that should deflect at least some of the criticism.

Trust for Public Land

This is an American charity that aids the conservation of lands that benefit local communities and visitors alike. Some take the form of local parks, while others have a wilder feel and trails form part of their remit too. It is all about making the outdoors more accessible to all, as well as taking a holistic approach to conservation.