Strange don’t you think how ‘outdoor activities’ are still in general (and other than walking) looked upon as being niche? After all, if I had a pound for the number of times I’ve been greeted with bemusement as I leave the surf on a November afternoon or had ‘witty’ remarks tossed my way as I ride my bike up a mountain trail I’d be – well, better off, put it that way..

And yet I’ve just learned that the UK’s outdoor economy is worth £20 billion to the country, which is twice that of transport – plus it’s a hell of a lot more fun than sitting on the M25 on a Friday evening. Tourism, in fact, is the sixth biggest industry in the UK.

I know all this from a fact sheet released by a new umbrella group called Britain of Foot ( which is aiming to promote walking throughout the UK and even has government support.

Perhaps, for once, the government and powers that be really have sussed that ‘quality of life’ is just as important as ensuring the never ending growth of the economy (which on a planet with finite resources is clearly a ludicrous and impossible notion although this fact always seems to slip by economists and politicians).

After all, given the choice of a regular wave at Whitesands, hike up Snowdon or  blast round Brechfa over an extra grand or two in my annual income I know which I’d go for every time…



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