The Isle of Man is a wonderful place to head outdoors and enjoy the surrounding nature with your family, with many visitors returning each year for their annual family getaway. Following a recent adventure on the Island, explorer and survivalist Ray Mears has put together some of his top tips on making your family outing in the Isle of Man run as smoothly as possible.

Nature is a wonderful classroom that can reach children’s imaginations in a way that we could only dream of. Exploring nature, in my opinion, is the key to happiness. Nature is all around us so we should get out and explore it and I’m not sure there are many better places to do this as a family than on the Isle of Man.

My tips for making a family outdoor adventure trip run smoothly:

  • Make sure you have lots of snacks and water in the car

When outside you get hypoglycaemic in a third of the time, and children even faster, so it’s important to have snacks at the ready to keep your energy levels, and therefore enjoyment, up.

  • Why not add some fun with an exploration pack?

There are lots of ways to bring adventure to life for children, but a great way to get them really involved is to create an expedition pack for them with everything they’ll need in to explore the outdoors safely and have fun. Suggested contents include:

  1. Backpack
  2. 1L water bottle and mug
  3. A simple first aid kit
  4. A hexamine stove and hexamine to cook hot drinks and soups as a family whilst exploring
  5. Binoculars
  6. Whistle
  7. Compass
  8. OS Map
  9. Drinks and soups

Rays Tips

  • Show enthusiasm

If adults show enthusiasm, kids will too. Don’t show them any weakness in your suggestions for the next activity. Children are particularly happy to stick with the familiar, but if you show them your excitement for doing something new they will jump straight on board and feed off your enthusiasm too.

  • Take your time to ‘see’

It takes a bit of time to really bed in to the natural landscape so take your time. Simply sitting and taking in the natural environment will slowly help you become more tuned in and you’ll slowly start to spot more and more. Why not get your brew kit out and make a drink to enjoy first so that you stay warm and comfortable whilst taking everything in.

  • Get out and walk

Once in the car, it becomes very easy to think that you don’t need to get out and you can spot everything you need from the comfort (and warmth) of your car. But that really isn’t the case. As I’ve said above, it takes time to really get used to the natural landscape and spot things, and the car isn’t the right environment for this – you simply won’t fully become tuned to the space.

Ray Mears

  • Have a plan, and a back-up too!

A plan is key to make sure you cover off what you want to. I see so many families wasting the morning discussing what they should do for the day – by which time they’ve missed the key early morning wildlife spotting opportunities. Come with a plan so that you know when the best time is for certain activities so you don’t miss out.

Although I strongly believe that the weather shouldn’t stop any plans, when it comes to some activities you really do need to have a plan B in place. Water-based activities are the most likely to be spoilt by winds, so always have a back-up for these days, and even talk to the companies ahead of time to arrange two times should the first fall through.

  • Keep a map handy to mark where you spot things

That way you can always return to somewhere you know has a ‘sure thing’ if your kids feel like they haven’t seen as much as the day before. They’ll still feel the magic in spotting new animals, and really won’t mind that it’s the same location.

  • Have the right clothing

It’s important to stay warm and dry when it’s cold and wet, or protected from the sun when it’s hot so ensure you’ve got all the right kit (and ideally some changes of clothes should you need it). The worst thing is having clothing that’s not protecting you from the weather conditions as that can directly impact on your enjoyment of the trip. Also remember that children feel temperatures far more than we do, and so keep an eye on them at all times to ensure they’re comfortable – just because you are, they may not be.

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