Audio escapism, with some inspirational podcasts

Podcast listening

For the third blog of the series I’m taking a look at podcasts and have enlisted the help of my colleague Paula. We have quite a mix for you to enjoy and feel that listening to these podcasts is a great way of diving into some great adventures from the comfort of your own sofa, garden or on your daily exercise.

Brân's top 10 outdoor inspired podcasts

 1. Al Humphreys ‘Living Adventurously’
Al Humphreys hits the nail on the head in these strange times with his podcast Living Adventurously. He sets out on a month-long journey on his bike in his home-county of Yorkshire to explore the possibility of having a proper adventure and make a real journey close to home, rather than travelling to the other side of the world. He interviews students and pensioners, athletes and travellers, chefs and artists, asking each of them what ‘living adventurously’ means to them in their everyday life. These stories of ordinary people pursuing their own version of out of the ordinary are a perfect recipe to remind us to pay attention to the beauty that surrounds us close to home. 

2. Ramblings (BBC Radio 4) 
In a similar vein, Clare balding takes us on a tour around Britain, where she goes out on a walk with interesting and notable people in their local countryside, exploring their relationship to the outdoors and discovering interesting places and scenery by foot. If you like diving into other people’s stories and adventures, through the Ramblings podcast you will meet many interesting characters sharing why walking is important to them, for mental and physical health reasons and as a great connector between people and with nature.

3. Walks Around Britain
If after enjoying exploring your local area during this lockdown period you are thinking of planning your first post-lockdown trip to some other beautiful places around our British Isles, Walks Around Britain is the podcast for you. Through its series of audio walking guides, outdoor news & views, interviews, gear & kit reviews and area walking guides, it will help you get ready to head out. Listen to hear about some of the best walks and trails around the country, including the Wales Coast Path or the Pennine Way, to get advice on what gear to wear in what weather or find out more about the history of access rights in Britain.

4. Walking Through Landscape

Iain Stewart’s series Walking Through Landscape is a series of audio walking guides exploring some of Scotland’s most intriguing landscapes, and perfect in times like these to escape and dream. He interviews the people who live and work in those landscapes to understand how humans have exploited, celebrated and enjoyed Scotland's forests, hills, lochs, glens and shores. Through this podcast you will get to discover some incredible and beautifully described scenery and uncover some of the human history that contributed to shaping it through the tales of those who live there today.

5. Ordnance Survey Go Outside
This podcast by Ordnance Survey is a set of inspiring stories looking at the barriers faced by people in their access to nature, from worries about the weather to barriers relating to physical mobility, in contexts ranging from the workplace to wild camping alone. The main question being asked is: “How can you overcome these obstacles?”. This was created in the lead-up to National Get Outside Day on 29th September, day on which OS calls on those who are already comfortable outdoor enthusiasts to ask those who might still need a bit of encouragement “will you go out with me?”.

6. The Dirtbag Diaries
If you are feeling ready to be more daring, The Dirtbag Diaries is a podcast made of pure adventure from around the world. These are stories about dreamers, athletes and wanderers about their climbing, skiing, hiking, biking and running experiences.  A series of sometimes serious, often humorous and always gripping stories about people taking the leap to follow their dreams and passions in nature. Have a listen, get inspired and get ready to take on the world post-lockdown!

7. Mountain 
If you enjoyed Dirtbag Diaries, you will get equally inspired by Mountain, an award-winning podcast about adventure in some of the wildest places, some on the other side of the world, but many of them in the rugged beautiful nature of Scotland. It’s a crafted mix of interviews, sound and music telling compelling and immersive stories about climbers and explorers, lovers and kidnappers, racers, travellers — and even violinists. 

8. Desert Island Discs
This castway themed podcast feels very apt at this current time. Since its beginning in 1942, the ‘castaways’ interviewed on the programme are asked the following question: Eight tracks, a book and a luxury item: what would you take to a desert island? Desert Island Disks has featured many notable guests over the years, so there's plenty of options to choose from, including British fellwalker, guidebook author and illustrator Alfred Wainwright as well as the likes of Maya Angelou, Alan Titchmarsh and Jane Goodall, who have come to share with listeners the soundtrack of their lives, their personal stories and the reasons behind their desert island choices. 

9. Folk on Foot

Music always adds a bit of magic to the day, and folk music is particularly good for that. The Folk on Foot recordings are a series of interviews with folk musicians and artists out on a walk in a place that is dear to them, with interludes of them playing their instrument or singing. The programme includes an interview with Rambler John Jones from the Oyster Band who has a habit to walking to his gigs together with a group of Reluctant Ramblers, and many other great British folk artists.  

10. Reasons to be cheerful
My final choice is perfect if you are looking for something a little different that does not take you too far away from current affairs but helps provide a little more positivity. Reasons to be Cheerful is a mix of funny stories and serious discussions that take you behind the titles of the news. It is a space exploring movements and people with optimism and progressive ideas working on solving some of the biggest challenges facing our society today.

We hope you enjoy Brân' & Paula's outdoor podcast selection. If you have any recommendations to share, why not let us know on our social media channels. #RoamSweetHome

Keep up to date with all the ways you can get involved in the Ramblers #RoamSweetHome campaign over the coming weeks.