BeanOutsider? I am an outsider, I absolutely love being outdoors! So when LL Bean kindly invited me to attend a Summer of Festivals together with their first pop-up shops in the UK I grabbed the chance with both hands. Being a traveller and hiker I have come across the LL Bean outdoor clothing brand on many occasions, they are hugely respected for their kit in the USA, and it was an honour to get involved in its first steps within the UK.

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This first event, was the inaugural Timber Festival, held in Fearnedock, deep within the National Forest. Educational, eye opening, thought provoking as well as lots of fun and entertainment for the whole family. A place to celebrate getting back in touch with nature as well as learning about the huge plans for the future as well as sustainability.

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The National Forest itself is a huge project that has begun creating the first ‘new’ forest for over a thousand years. 200 square miles incorporating parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire, yes, told you it would be huge! So far, in the last few years, over 8 and a half million trees have been planted, but the work goes beyond trees of course into communities and better development.

The other half of the festival came from Wild Rumpus, a social enterprise that takes families into immersive experiences in the outdoors. Storytelling, creativity and building confidence, just a few of the ways helping people see the outdoors in a whole new way.

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Back on the LL Bean stand we had all sorts of activities that draw on the great outdoors! Very popular was the traverse climbing wall. Things got very competitive indeed. Children and adults took their turn to try and get the best time of the day. It is harder than it looks to get around and credit to all who took part. If you are at any of the festivals we are at during the Summer I want to see you try 🙂

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All day I was on hand to give one on one workshops on a whole range of subjects, from smartphone photography tips, to map reading. As well as talking to all kinds of interesting people about being outside in the British Countryside. I will be doing these workshops at all the festivals we are at this Summer so pop in if you see the LL Bean stand on your travels, would love to chat.

Beyond the exertion of the climbing antics people were enjoying some relaxing in the other corners of the festival. Bathing under the sky, with a drink looked calming to say the least, especially in this barmy heatwave we are having.

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In the evenings there was music, talks, comedy and dance amongst the trees. Different music to reflect all tastes could be found. A great mix that added to a wonderfully calm atmosphere around the festival. Nothing too loud, yet nothing way too quiet. A mix that brought positive vibes all round!

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On our LL Bean stand we had a musical treat in store for everyone too. The great and positively happy Yorkshire band, Hope & Social came and gave an impromptu gig on the stand. Caused a great stir and plenty of dancing with smiles.

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A perfect end to a great weekend. And I managed to get myself some great quality LL Bean clothing for myself too. If you keep an eye on my Twitter etc you will see me wearing it more and more and I shall be showing you some of my favourites on these pages coming up, including the unique signature boots. Excellent quality kit that is made with purpose in mind, check out their website, all items can be shipped to UK.

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Goodbye National Forest, next stop The Deershed Festival, Yorkshire, see you there! #BeanOutsider