Pride outside: changing perceptions of adventure

  • Contributor information: CNP

25 February 2019

OutdoorLads are a gay, bisexual and trans men’s outdoor recreation group, encouraging its’ members to experience the benefits of the great outdoors in the UK’s National Parks and beyond.

 “Being part of the group is one of the most rewarding things in my life. I have found such great and accepting friends, met people from different walks of life, and feel part of a community”.

OutdoorLads is working to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of gay, bisexual and trans men through outdoor pursuits in the UK. We encourage men in the gay community who have a shared love of the outdoors, want to try something new, aim to get fitter or just want to #getoutmore to make new life-long friendships with some of our 2,000 members.

adventure for everyone

OutdoorLads are challenging perceptions of adventure. Photo credit: Wesley Kristopher Chambers

We pride ourselves on providing a fun, friendly, welcoming, adventurous and professional environment where men can enjoy over 1,500 outdoor events all over in the UK and further afield. We share Campaign for National Park’s passion for the great outdoors: one weekend you could be walking in the Peak District and the next scaling Scafell Pike.

The diversity of the OutdoorLads membership is one of our key achievements. Everyday men from ages eighteen to eighty-six regularly put their walking boots on in every region throughout the UK with OutdoorLads. Before joining OutdoorLads some members have never tried any of the activities that we offer, or conversely, they may have had extensive outdoors experience. Our excursions to the UK’s National Parks are part of our work to improve the wellbeing of our members and help them accomplish things they never thought possible.

We work to change perceptions that mental or physical challenges prevent our members from participation in outdoor activities. We receive daily feedback from some of our members affirming that getting outside has re-written their life narratives “I’m in the best shape of my life. From almost a year ago calling helplines to looking forward to the future, OutdoorLads influence can’t be stressed enough”. Feedback such as this continues to fuel our mission to encourage gay, bisexual and trans men in the UK to #getoutmore.

The health and wellbeing benefits to its members are massive. Photo credit: Wesley Kristopher Chambers

Incredibly, the number of activities that our volunteer leaders run continues to increase every year. Our activities range from walking, climbing, camping, biking, canoeing, scrambling, running and sailing, as well as purely social events. Our members shared love for the outdoors has seen them achieve many things from coming along to Big Spring Camp to walking the Pembrokeshire coastline. Each year the pride we have in our membership continues to expand as their fearless attitude to saying ‘yes’ to each new opportunity, brings with it new successes and accomplishments.

Offering once-in-a-lifetime trips to all members, regardless of their financial, physical or mental – health challenges is strongly integrated in our work. Our partnerships with other charities have continued to allow us to create incredible opportunities that would not be otherwise available to our members. One of our epic events our ‘Druid Camp – Derbyshire Dales’ will support our members to walk and camp in the calming Peak District. Of course, in true OutdoorLads style, we always have fun options for UK weekend breaks too like our ‘Dartmoor Weekend’ which allows members to camp out in a real World War One hut!

By Tashi Acton, OutdoorLads

If you’re interested in the work of OutdoorLads and if this article inspires you to #getoutmore then click here for more information. Alternatively email or follow them on social media.

Photo credits: OutdoorLads