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Corporate Partnerships Executive, National Trust Head Office

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Heidi Medland - Corporate Partnerships Executive

I’ve been outdoorsy since I was a small child. Now I have a son, Jack, I want to share the freedom and excitement of being outdoors with him.

Heidi and family

I’ve always loved being outdoors, the feeling of freedom and being ‘at one’ with nature. I was at primary school when I decided I wanted to work outdoors, rather than in an office, as a butterfly catcher or PGL leader. The thought of being inside all day, away from the fresh air, bird song and insects, filled me with dread. 

As I grew older, I realised I also wanted to have my own house, which meant paying a mortgage.

Now I’m an adult, well, I work in an office, but it is an open plan office, and I’m outdoors every chance I get. My office is in the National Trust Head Office, where I look after the Cotswold Outdoor partnership, so there’s still a very strong outdoors connection.

Camp out in the wild

Today I love being outdoors more than ever: walking, kayaking, canoeing, climbing, camping... My most recent 50 things achievement (yes, I still do them) was No.3 Camp out in the wild, in the Scottish Highlands with my partner, Craig. We pitched our tent looking out to sea, on the sand dunes of Sandwood Bay – a beautiful sandy beach reached by a 4-mile walk. It was paradise. 

The Highlands are also where I climbed Beinn Eighe, my first Munro (a Scottish mountain over 3,000 ft). I was pretty nervous due to the height and duration, but determined to prove to myself and Jack, my 11 year old son, that I could do it. Plus I snagged No.28 Climb a (really) huge hill! 

Jack trying activity No.8 catch a fish with a net
Jack trying activity No.8 catch a fish with a net

Summer’s sorted already

This summer, amongst other things, Jack and I are off to Dartmoor with my partner Craig, and his two kids, Lewis 10½ and Darcy 14. We’ll be letterboxing, an old-fashioned version of geocaching (No.49) where you find a hidden sandwich box and add your stamp to the card inside. 

As a family we still do as many 50 things activities as we can, even though only two of us are under 11¾. The kids especially love No.1, tree climbing (when they’re not rock climbing), den building (No.4) and rolling down hills (No.2).   

Passing on my passion for the great outdoors

Being outdoors is my passion, and I’m so pleased to say it’s Jack’s too, plus football of course. 

As a parent I’d love him to experience what I did as a child – the freedom of going for a walk and seeing where you end up, discovering new sights and the sense of achievement you get climbing to the top of a hill or mountain.  

I want Jack to learn about the world around him, the natural beauty of it and the wonderful feeling it gives you. Luckily, he’s already starting to get it.  

Have you tried these 50 things activities yet?

Girl looking through gate with parents towards a cow

No.23 visit a farm

Going on a visit to a farm is a great way of getting up close and personal with lots of new furry, hairy or feathered friends. Lots of farms have small animal petting areas and loads of other activites you can join in with as well.

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Children finishing their climb to the top of a huge hill

No.28 climb a huge hill

Climbing a huge hill might seem really tiring, but once you've reached the top think about how much fun you'll have coming back down.

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A family flying a kite at Wembury, Devon.

No.7 fly a kite

When there's a bit of wind in the air it's the perfect time to tick off No.7 from the 50 things challenges. So, if you haven't flown a kite before, what are you waiting for?

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First, collect your sticks...

No.4 build a den

Build a den out of sticks on a flat spot in the woods, cover it with leaves, and you've got a pirate hideout or a meeting place for spies. There are loads of National Trust places with perfect spots for den building.

How to build a top secret den