Father of two, teacher and blogger, David has a penchant for adventure and the great outdoors. He'll be bringing you tips for your next adventure, outdoor ideas to fill your weekends with and practical advice for traversing the great outdoors.
We caught up with David to find out a bit more about him ahead of his guest first post on the Mac in a Sac blog...
"I'm David a 37 year old married dad of two. My wife (Nat) and I are school yard sweethearts who've been together a very long time! We have two amazing kids Jesse, aged 3 and Amelie, aged 1.
I'm an English teacher by profession, spending my 9-5 in a classroom. However, because of my passion for the outdoors I also spend a lot of time working with kids outside of the classroom. I've led Duke of Edinburgh Award programmes and expeditions and assist in the yearly running of the school ski trip. I've even led 32 teenagers on a 4 week expedition to Tanzania where we climbed Mount Kilimanjaro amongst other things."
"Balancing being a dad, a teacher and a blogger is tough. At the end of the day my own kids and family will always come first. Once my working day is over they have my attention until it's time for their bed. They can be exhausting...I don't know where such little people get the energy reserves from!
Overall I just have to be good at organising myself. I work really hard in the week, often through my lunch hour, to make sure that, as far as possible, my evenings and weekends are mine. In terms of the blogging I have set days for writing once the kids have gone to bed. This ensures that i still get to spend most evening with Nat too. This routine and sense of order and priority really helps to focus."
"Being so busy, particularly during the week, makes our weekend adventures all the sweeter. We pretty much epitomise the 'whatever the weather' spirit so we'll be out as family no matter what. We invest a lot of our time making sure we've got the best kit to keep ourselves and our kids warm and dry so there really is no excuse not to go outside. As such, a top tip would be to prepare yourself to go out in any weather. You'd be surprised how much family fun you can have in the pouring rain!
Another tip is to have a go-to list of mini adventures. Mini adventures require little or no planning and take up far less time than full days in the mountains etc. This means that when time is tight, like it is for us in the middle of the week, we can still get a little outdoor fix. To make life even easier keep a prepped and packed rucksack at home that's ready to go as soon as you are."
"I'd say my current favourite outdoor activities are hiking and camping because they enable us to do them as a family. I love the sense of freedom that both of them give us."
"My perfect day off would be a day in the mountains of Snowdonia with Nat and the Kids. We'd begin walking just before first light, reach some higher ground for the sunrise, bag a summit or two, and then sit and have lunch surrounded by awesome views."
"I'd say my current favourite outdoor activities are hiking and camping because they enable us to do them as a family. I love the sense of freedom that both of them give us. Despite their very young age I also love teaching my two kids basic outdoor skills when we're hiking or camping. After all, I was just a nipper when my mum first took me along to her hiking club, so you're never too young to enjoy the outdoors.
Before kids I'd always be out blasting around trails and downhill courses on my mountain bike but that has definitely taken a back seat for now. I still enjoy riding, but will probably go back to it more seriously when the kids are a little older and can chase me (or the other way round!).
In the winter months I also love to ski and our eldest began having ski lessons just 2 weeks after his 3rd birthday. I'm just a little worried he'll be better than me before long!"
"When I started the blog one of the things I wanted to do was to use the qualifications and experience I'd developed over many years leading school groups in the outdoors to encourage more families to get outside. Consequently I started the Hiking with Kids Club. Now, once a month, I organise a family friendly hike and publicise it via the blog's Facebook page. We welcome all people, not just those with kids, and we've had some really great days out. Each month we hike somewhere different so that the group get a lot of variety and always choose somewhere that has a cafe stop near the end. As such not only is it a great opportunity to get kids outdoors it's also a great social event for like-minded adults."
Heading to Scotland in the next couple of months? As nature wakes up and the snow begins to melt, this is the perfect time of year to get outdoors. Get out into the countryside on your Scotland visit to discover some of the most beautiful landscapes this country has to offer. Here are a few of the best Scottish walks to try out this spring…
West Sands, St Andrews, Fife
Beach walks are perfect for a spring afternoon, so head to West Sands for a two-mile stretch of dunes that look beautiful whatever the weather. These dunes are backed by the famous St Andrews golf course, the Old Course, where golf lovers can pose on the iconic Swilken Bridge.
Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
This is one of the best known Scottish walks. In nice weather, the climb up to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh is one of the best walks in the city. An ancient volcano and the site of a 2000-year-old hill fort, it’s a particularly interesting spot to explore. From the top, you’ll have exceptional views of the city, the Firth of Forth, and the distant snow-capped mountains.
Mauldslie Woods Walk, Clyde Valley
Nestled in the tranquil Clyde Valley, Mauldslie Woods contain remnants of a medieval castle which was demolished in 1935. Spring is the perfect time to visit, when rain and snowmelt swells the Clyde River. This is also the best time of year to see the local kingfishers, who will be feeding their newly hatched young from around the end of April onwards.
No Scotland visit is complete without a trip to the Highlands. For dramatic, mountainous landscapes, Glencoe is hard to beat! The most famous glen in Scotland, Glencoe is home to some of the best Scottish walks for spring – from the tough, 150km West Highland Way to the shorter and more gentle Lochan and Brecklet Trails.
Loch Ness, Inverness-shire
Loch Ness is Britain’s second largest lake and tends to be featured heavily in any guide to Scotland. The lake itself, while stunning, is perhaps only popular thanks to its legendary monster, the elusive Nessie. But the surrounding countryside around Loch Ness and Glen Affric is far less visited and well worth exploring. There are dozens of excellent forest and moorland walks starting from the north side of the loch – or take the Three Lochs Trail starting at Loch Duntelchaig for some quieter, less famous lakes that are just as beautiful as Loch Ness.
Wondering whether a Mac in a Sac jacket is right for you? Our high performance, compact jackets really “pac” a punch when it comes to weather protection and there’s lots of every day scenarios where our jackets can come in handy for you.
1. Fits perfectly in schoolbags
If you’re getting your little one all set for a school trip you’ll most likely be concerned about whether or not the weather will stay dry.
Our Mac in a Sac Mini range pack away neatly into a compact stuff bag so there’s no need to try and cram a heavy coat into their schoolbag. They’ll have easily accessible super waterproof compact cover up for if and when surprise showers strike.
You can keep your mind at ease and your little one won’t get soaked.
2. No bag? No problem!
Maybe you’re heading to an outdoor concert or just out on a leisurely walk and don’t want to be weighed down by a handbag or backpack.
Our handy stuff bags come with elastic adjustable cords which are super easily tied around your belt or belt loop on your jeans so you can keep your hands free and minimise the need to a handbag or backpack.
3. Doesn’t weight you down
Our jackets are super lightweight making them perfect for a multitude of activities such as running, hiking and cycling.
However, packed away in its stuff sack your Mac in a Sac won’t add a lot of weight.
So whether you have on multiple layers out and about on a wintery day or a light shirt on a warm day, your versatile Mac in a Sac will provide you with the waterproof protection you need when from impending downpours.
4. Carrying wet coats & umbrellas becomes a thing of the past
Whenever the weather’s temperamental, sunny one minute raining the next, adjusting our attire to these changes can be a bit of a nightmare resulting in inevitable wardrobe malfunctions and the wish to shun ourselves inside for good.
Easily transported, easily worn and easily packed away, a Mac in a Sac jacket eliminates the unpleasantness of having to carry around a thoroughly rain soaked coat or dripping umbrella when the clouds part and the sun makes another appearance.
Having just returned from a month-long trip to Mexico, I’ve come home completely besotted – and desperate to go back. If you haven’t already taken any trips in Mexico, you should definitely add this amazing country to your list. Here are a few of my top reasons to travel to Mexico…
Forget Old El Paso kits! It’s time to re-learn everything you thought you knew about Mexican food.
Yes, you’ll find tacos in most restaurants, but they’re usually served in small, soft tortillas rather than the crunchy shells we’re used to. And alongside the better-known dishes, there are all kinds of local specialities to try.
In Yucatan, don’t miss sopa lima (a lime chicken soup), and try Machaca (salted beef) in Baja California.
From the white Caribbean beaches of the Riviera Maya to the golden sands and rugged cliffs around Cabo, Mexico has something for every beach lover.
Top choices include stunning Tulum, with its clear turquoise waters, and retro Acapulco, loved for its huge beaches. Surfers should head to Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca state for some of the best surfing trips in Mexico.
Before there were colonists and conquistadors, there were the Mayans and Aztecs. These seriously fascinating civilisations once ruled most of central America, and traces of their existence can be found across most of Mexico.
The southern states in particular are home to plenty of ruins – even whole cities – to explore. Visiting some of these sites can make your holidays in Mexico even more interesting!
Mexico is full of natural phenomena of all kinds. With desert, mountains, rainforest, and beaches, there’s so much to explore in every state.
Off the coast from Tulum starts the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, one of the largest reef systems in the world. The Yucatan Peninsula is well known for its Cenotes (sinkholes) and underground rivers, all of them fascinating to explore.
In Chihuahua state lies Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon), deep within the rugged Tarahumara mountain range. And in Chiapas state you’ll find waterfalls, rivers, forests, and the stunning Agua Azul – a vibrant blue natural pool.
There’s so much to explore – giving you plenty of reasons to travel to Mexico as soon as you can!
With Christmas behind us and summer still far out of sight, it’s easy to feel a bit fed up this month. So now is the perfect time to treat yourself to a last minute break. Here are a few of my favourite affordable winter getaway ideas…
Best for: Culture and food.
This week, the temperature in Athens is around 14°C – which is seven degrees warmer than it is in London. Despite the mild weather, this funky city is still fairly overlooked as a winter destination – making now the perfect time to visit. Low season means more availability and better accommodation prices in what is already an incredibly cheap city.
Best for: Winter sun.
Just four hours from London, the warmer climes of Morocco are within surprisingly easy reach. Regular budget flights, low prices, and plenty of availability during low season make Marrakech a favourite for cheap winter getaways. If you want to relax by a pool, book yourself into one of the resorts in the Palmerie, an oasis just outside the city. Or opt for a cosy riad in the heart of the medina, where you’ll be right by the bustling souks and all the street food your heart desires!
Best for: Staycationing.
Don’t want to leave the UK? Exploring your own backyard can be a great way to save on travel costs, leaving plenty left over for treating yourself. The historic city of York is in easy reach of London by train, and it’s surprisingly affordable. And with dozens of cute independent tea shops and cafes around the city, there are plenty of places to duck out of the rain if the British weather doesn’t cooperate!
Best for: Snowy cityscapes.
If it’s a real taste of winter you’re after, head to Eastern Europe. A dusting of snow makes the spires and steeples of pretty Riga even more beautiful, and snowfall is very common this time of year. Still relatively overlooked in favour of more famous Eastern European cities like Tallinn and Prague, Riga is one of the lesser known cheap winter getaways in Europe. And it’s a really beautiful one.
The Jurassic coast, a 95 mile stretch of coastline running from East Devon to Dorset, is a World Heritage site featuring 185 million years of history. Layers of sedimentary rock allow geologists to read the history of this coastline across the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods – and the cliffs here are rich in fossils.
I grew up in south Dorset, and spent my childhood summers playing on the beaches or rambling along the cliffs of this stunning region. These are some of my favourite cliff walks on Dorset's Jurassic Coast...
Old Harry Rocks
The bright white chalk stacks jutting from the sea at Handfast Point are just one example of the unique rock formations and amazing landscapes along the Dorset Jurassic Coast. Starting at Studland Bay, the circular walk to Old Harry Rocks is one of the easiest walking routes in Dorset, but it takes in one of the area's biggest attractions.
My personal favourite Dorset cliff walk is another easy one – and it ends at one of my favourite local pubs! The route from Bowleaze Cove to Smuggler's Inn at Osmington Mills follows a short section of the South West Coastal Path, and takes around an hour. You'll pass Redcliff Point on the way, an area that's particularly rich in fossils. And you'll finish at the historic Smuggler's Inn, once the hangout of a notorious smuggler gang.
A circular walk from Lime Regis to Charmouth along the beach, and back along the cliffs, is another of the Jurassic Coast's classic walking routes. And if you're interested in fossils, this is the place to come! Charmouth is one of the best places to find fossils in Dorset, and the Heritage Coast Centre here displays some of the best finds.
Ringstead to Durdle Door
No list of what to see in Dorset is complete without mentioning Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch and a real Dorset icon. There are easier walking routes you can follow to it, but the walk from Ringstead to Durdle Door, while tough, is one of the most rewarding.
St Alban's Head
Starting at Worth Martravers (the town with the most Dorset-sounding name in Dorset!), you can walk to the rocky headland of St Alban's Head via Seacomb and Winspit. The quarry at Winspit was used as a set for several old Dr Who episodes, and it's a pretty interesting spot to explore.