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Running in the Lincolnshire Wolds

Hiya, I’m Steve. I work for a national homelessness charity supporting those who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness and help them into secure and sustainable tenancies. I work across South Yorkshire but live in the Lincolnshire Wolds having moved down here from Scotland about 20 years ago now (as I write that I realise that soon I’ll have lived in England longer than I lived in Scotland!). I’m still a Scot though, right? Freckles, ginger beard…(Aye, I am).

As part of my work, I collaborate with the Peak District Park Rangers to support our members (clients) to get outside and explore the Peaks. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience first-hand how our wild spaces can benefit our mental health. A couple of the Rangers and I created this awesome programme of events for 2020, which our members could access AND gain a John Muir Award ( ); dry stone walling, climbing, winter hare spotting on Bleaklow, foraging in Padley Gorge, the list goes on.

And then lockdown…

…Everything shut down, our service went straight to working from home. No more outdoors, no more grand plans – a double-edged sword for me. I have four kids, two of whom are giants (17 and 19 yrs) and two of whom are teeny (2 and 4 yrs). Lockdown gave me and the smalls an amazing opportunity to grow together (my smallest has now had his Daddy around for half his life), and I cannot underestimate how valuable this time has been for us. There was adjustment, but for our family it was a really positive thing and it allowed my wife and I to balance home life together more so than ever.

Professionally, I love who I work for and what I do as a job and supporting those less fortunate is a huge passion of mine. Enabling people to take control of their lives is a wonderful privilege, but it is tough and incredibly mentally draining. Pre-lockdown, I had a long commute where I could de-stress on the way home, this changed in the early part of lockdown and running provided that escape.

Lifestyle changes

Lockdown allowed my wife and I to look inwards and assess our lifestyle. We’ve always tried to be earth-friendly and this pause in life gave us more headspace to start thinking seriously about this. Running was starting to become really important to me, I had lost our regular hill walks that recharged and nourished me, and running was offering me the nourishment instead.

But, my running gear was limited – I wanted to buy ethically and sustainably. This was really important to me; we buy consciously in other parts of our lives wherever possible, from the bank that we use, to the shops that we purchase from and the products we clean our house with etc.

I’ve always been aware of Páramo clothing through my geeking out on walking websites (I’m a hill walker, DofE assessor and Hill and Moorland Leader, geeking out is a necessary joy!) but I started to dig a bit deeper into Páramo’s story and their approach to clothing and found lots of joy in there! No nasty chemicals on the clothes, I can repair the waterproofs myself without damaging the proofing, materials ethically sourced and staff well looked after and cared for. There is a great recycling scheme with incentives to return the gear, which should also last a long, long time, plus great customer service and some fantastic reviews. I was in! I needed a running jacket to keep the rain and chill off and the Velez Adventure Light Smock ticked that box…but the cost was considerable!

And here my internal debate began. I can get a decent running jacket for half that price! I can’t afford that! That’s loads of money! And then sustainable, ethical me wades into that argument….this is the price of quality gear. This is what it costs to support the people to make the garment, if I have this coat for the next ten years, it’s £24 a year, stop your whining! And the decision was made. I actually sold some of my walking gear to balance this purchase out.

We have too much stuff in our house and again, this was part of my reassessment of self. I started thinning out what I own and looking at what I can replace with better quality, ethically sourced, sustainable gear. My Velez arrived and I instantly fell in love with it! In the walking forums there’s a definite Marmite sense toward Páramo, I definitely fall on the fan side of it. My smock is very light, very warm and very waterproof…all that I wanted. If I get too hot, even with the vents open, I can tie it around my waist and not even know it’s there. It is bright orange which matches my beard, I’m all about colour coordination.

I have no regrets about the spend on this and I am a total convert! So much so that I own some Velez Adventure Trousers and a Medio Gilet, both of which were the only things that featured on my birthday list. I always look forward to getting back out into the hills and giving all the gear a full run out in the wilds. I’ll keep you updated!

Steve Sylvan-McGeough

1 thought on “Running in the Lincolnshire Wolds

  1. thanks alot of information

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