Join the #HeadWest movement
To promote positive mental health, well-being and tourism.
The covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact in many aspects across the globe. Aside from the much heartfelt loss of loved ones, lockdown and social distancing restrictions have had a huge negative effect on global mental health and the economy. The #HeadWest movement is an initiative designed to bring positive change to peoples mental health, but also restore customer spending in the hard hit tourism industry. #HeadWest isn’t a charity, company or corporation. It’s simply a movement, concept and a journey.
The #HeadWest concept
In a nutshell, #HeadWest, is stepping out your door and heading west. It’s that simple! How long and how far you go is completely up to you. You may want to hike to see how far you can get in a day, or till you get all the way to the coast or see simply walk to your nearest tourist destination. Heck, you may not even head west, but head east, south, north, wherever. You may do it in a group or by yourself. The point is you’re getting out of the bubble and exploring your natural surroundings. How and when you do it completely up to you, but you should do it when it is feasible and when the covid-19 restrictions allow it.
Use #HeadWest to share your journey on any social media platform. Share photos, videos, blog posts, trip itineraries and routes. I understand, social media isn’t for everyone, and some people may be looking for a break from it and just want to get out in the fresh air gadget free – go for it! This is a movement that includes everyone.
I live in Powys just over the border from England and I plan to try and walk to the west coast of Wales. I’m going to start from my front doorstep and head west. I expect the journey to take me to Lake Vyrnwy, Lake Bala, through Snowdonia to Porthmadog. From there I will either continue down the Lleyn peninsula or head home! An alternative route for me would be to go from Bala to Barmouth, but I think the more northern route to Porthmadog would be more scenic.
How businesses can help and profit
Businesses can simply use the hashtag #HeadWest to show their support for concept, but also to increase profit and customers for their own business.
- Accomodation providers such as campsites, hotels, outdoor centers, B&Bs etc can attract those taking part in #HeadWest by using the hashtag in their promotions and provide discounts if they want.
- Retailers who provide outdoor hiking clothing and equipment can also use the hashtag.
- Tourist attractions could also use the hashtag to attract participators as they pass by on their journey.
- Cafes, pubs, restaurants can offer discounts – the list goes on. You get the idea!
Your Health and Safety
First of all, if you decide to take on #HeadWest you are responsible for your own health and safety. You are also responsible for abiding by the law. I will not be held in anyway responsible for any injury or breach of the law by someone taking part in #HeadWest. That said, below are some links you may find useful to help you have a safe journey.
- Ordnance Survey – the first stop to get your maps and also some outdoor gear.
- Mountain Rescue – A great resource for advice on safety in the outdoors.
- Ramblers.org.uk – Another great resource for safety advice and enjoying the outdoors.
At the time of writing it looks like restrictions on movement and staying overnight, may soon be lifted. #HeadWest participants should only begin their journey when it is safe to do so and abide by Covid-19 guidelines.
#HeadWest itself, as explained above, isn’t a charity, but a movement. That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t do you journey in aid of charity. Simply set up a JustGiving account and start raising money for your chosen charity.
Not sure where to start?
Planning a long distance walk or day walk can be a bit daunting. Fortunately there are plenty of resources to get you going. For instance you may live near an existing long distance walking trail. Walking guidebooks like those published by Cicerone are a great way to explore routes and help you while you’re on the route. Ordnance Survey maps are a must have and are riddled with public footpaths and right-to-roam areas, as well as places to stay and public amenities.
If you’re planning a long distance walk then training by doing shorter walks is a good idea. Then when you come to do the long distance, you will have the fitness under your belt to really enjoy the walk instead of struggling along. You will also be able to get a better idea of how much ground you can cover in a day.