May 2018: Sustainability

April 29 2018

Adventures at home

I was very attached to my cousin Jon. The list of his many adventures in his long and interesting life was quite something. He was also the CEO of a sizeable engineering firm. Something he said as we stood at the top of a craggy mountain in very distant days in my native New Zealand, trying to work out how on earth to get down, has stuck with me. It is that we all need adventure in our lives and the opportunity to live with a bit of discomfort every so often. 

I suspect quite a few of us would agree with that, though conversely nearly all of us prefer easier, not harder lives. Most would agree things are easier now, including the idea of going on an adventure. All we need do is book a flight from a computer at home to a sunny destination offering accommodation, and hey presto we’re off. We could lie by a pool under a palm tree all week, drink too much and appear at meal times when we feel hungry, or we could be energetic and spend the time hiking, surfing or any one of a number of challenging activities. 

Bearing in mind that all of us need to be cutting our carbon footprints there are several points we should consider with the above scenarios. 

Firstly no amount of excuses will reduce the carbon emissions of the aircraft we fly in, secondly there is nothing adventurous about flying, and thirdly why do we feel we have to travel overseas at all?  Since I suspect advertising by travel agencies and airlines answers the last question, it’s time to reconsider the exciting no fly holidays we could be doing at home. 

Instead of scuba diving in Thailand, why not check out a few sunken Spanish galleons on the West Coast of Scotland? You’re wondering about whale watching in Hawaii? Go for the north coast of Mull, where there are large pods of Minke, Humpback and Orcas. You like alcohol? Try a whisky tasting tour of Islay and Jura. 

You want peace and quiet? Rent a cottage on Sanday in the Orkneys and breathe in the wide open space, sunshine and bracing weather. You can cycle or walk almost anywhere at any level with some of the most exhilarating scenery anywhere in the world. What’s more, the service and transport in Scotland is second to none. Much of its economy is built on tourism, so tourists are welcomed with open arms.  

Then there are the glories of camping in the Scillies, surfing and boating in Cornwall or walking in Wordsworth’s footsteps in the Lake District. Our very own Britain is the perfect place for adventure, at whatever level suits you, and get there by train - its part of the adventure. 

 

Hamish Wills

Sustainable Redland