Spending time in the wilderness is the perfect remedy for a hectic lifestyle; time to detach oneself from the rigmarole of modern day life and get back to basics, time to spend some good old fashioned quality time with friends and enjoy the natural beauty of this exquisite planet. All too often we are too engrossed in the digital bubble- hunched over, scrolling through an endless feed with no real purpose- to enjoy our surroundings. The light from the LCD screen through which we live our lives is often the only light to cast over our pasty skin and we seldom feel the wind and rain on our faces, instead favouring the comfort of the indoors.
But the wild spaces of the UK are some of the finest in the world and we are truly blessed to have access to such a diverse range of landscapes on our doorstep.
Getting out there, away from mobile phone service and the familiarity of the 21st century is often humbling. Reconnecting with nature can reawaken the most basic natural instincts that lie within, especially when things start to go wrong. But even in the harshest environments, is there room for electronic devices?
Quite simply, the answer is yes. Although the wilderness is somewhere to get away from the digital world, it’s not to say that electronics can’t amplify our experiences or, more importantly, keep us safe in the wild.
Staying safe is priority number one when in the wilderness. Admittedly, an element of danger heightens the experience and heading into the unknown is what adventure is all about. But doing so in a controlled way, and by only taking calculated risks will allow you to enjoy the wilderness time and time again. Whilst technology isn’t essential for staying safe – Mallorey didn’t use a GPS – it can certainly help.
A mobile phone, GPS device and head-torch are all useful things to carry on an adventure, but they shouldn’t be relied on. Electronic devices can fail in extreme conditions (iphones in the cold) and batteries can quickly run flat. Carrying an external power bank can help extend the life of your electronics for a few days.
Aside from appliances designed with safety at the forefront, other devices such as cameras need power to function. There’s nothing worse than your camera battery dying just before the sun sets, or realising that your spare batteries have been left in the car. Having the power to capture the special moments in the mountains allows you to relive those moments over and over, and even inspire others to get out there and experience the feeling for themselves. Without power, this wouldn’t be possible.
Other technological luxuries such as wireless headphones and GPS tracking, from Strava for example, make running and cycling training more enjoyable and measurable respectively. Switching to Bluetooth headphones when out on the trails, or on the bike removes the issues related to tangled headphones. And having an easily accessible and free app like Strava to track training is a fantastic way to track progression.
Technological advances in the past 10 years have moved at an unprecedented rate and people have become increasingly detached from the natural world. Research published just this week revealed that 7 out of 10 people feel they are loosing touch with nature! That’s 70% of British people that don’t feel connected to the great outdoors anymore which is, in part, down to the internet, social media and technology. Young people would rather play video games and wear VR headsets than head in to the hills. There is something terribly wrong with this statement.
In a wider context, technology is being used in a positive way in order to help save the environment. Without the technology available today it wouldn’t be possible measure global warming so accurately, or track endangered species in the wild, or even predict weather systems and storms. This proves, then, that when the power of technology is effectively harnessed, it is a force for good.