Belfast Times: A lifestyle brand and online magazine

Be kind to the countryside when you’re out and about

As more and more of us visit outdoor sites, it is worth making yourself aware of the simple steps you can take to stay on the ‘Right Side of Outside’, a national campaign launched to try and help us to stay safe and to be kinder to the countryside. 

The new campaign urges people to plan ahead, to dress appropriately, to learn some basic safety essentials, and to be aware of the countryside around you.

The brand behind the campaign, Walk NI, wants to encourage more people to plan better for the outdoors and to understand its risks. 

Whether it is a long or small walk, you should:

  • Know in advance where you want to go
  • Have a clear idea about how long it will take to complete
  • How to get back to safety in an emergency
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear
  • Plan things such as appropriate food, water and a map if needed
  • Stay within your limits and skill level
  • Let someone know where you are going to.

The outdoors can be very unpredictable, and the terrain, weather and daylight can change in an instant. So, it’s a good idea to plan how to get back to sAvery if the weather conditions turn bad; plus let people know where you will be and how long you will take, as they can raise the alarm, if needed. 

Dawson Stelfox, Chair of Walk NI’s parent company Outdoor Recreation NI adds:

“The majority of people do not choose to get lost or into trouble, but even the most avid visitor can never be too prepared. Plan your activity, stick to safe routes and activities and make sensible, safe choices. I want everyone to have an enjoyable experience each time with the outdoors, but as the wildfires in the Mournes demonstrates, human error can be costly.

“In addition,be mindful of where you park. Don’t let your dogs near livestock and please bring your dog poo home. Plus avoid open fires and light a BBQ in designated areas only. Remember to bring your litter home. All of these simple steps will make a massive positive impact on everyone’s experience.”

‘The Right Side of Outside’ campaign will roll out over the coming weeks and focuses on informing people to help them make the right choices in the outdoors. For more information on the campaign visit WalkNI.com or search #RightSideofOutside

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