If you've been following us throughout the current 'situation' you'll know that this years' Spring Trail Clean Tour has become something very different to what we'd imagined. And, sure we were pretty upset (and worried) at first but what's happened since 'lockdown' was announced has turned out to be one of the most exciting, innovative and engaging period of our short existence!
What was the Spring Trail Clean Tour is now the Selfless Isolation Project and thanks to Covid 19 we were able to deeply involve our network of A-TEAM ambassadors and our global community in it's development. One person in particular made us realise that we were really on to something when she posted her beautiful hand drawn 'Selfless Isolation Map'. She (being the incredibly talented and kind person she is) donated her time and talent to illustrate each step of the project to guide and inspire people through the process.
Her name is Rosie Holdsworth (aka @rosemaryposemary) and we're proud to share not only her beautiful illustrations (that you can download as a PDF HERE!) but the story of why she chose to join in with our 'Selfless Isolation' project.
Take it away Rosie...
All the maps and nowhere to go!
"...I’ve spent a lot of time recently pouring over maps and planning wildlife adventures – I’ve recently become an ambassador for Hope, and I’d been plotting all sorts of big bicycle/wildlife trips with my shiny new Hope bike. However, like everyone, I’ve had to re-adjust my adventure planning and wildlife spotting expectations over the last couple of weeks - keeping it local and low key; those basking sharks and Sea Eagles will have to wait.
I’m painfully aware that in the grand scheme of things, me not being able to ride the Scottish Coast to Coast is not the most dire consequence of the situation we all find ourselves in. But I have to admit to letting myself feel pretty bummed out about all the cancelled events and plans.
So finding out about the Spring Trail Clean and #selfLESSisolation has given me something tangible and positive to focus on - thinking about the little things that we can all do to make a positive difference, when everything around us seems to be so gigantic and out of control. It’s given my once daily exercise a bit more purpose and pushed me to really notice and savour the amazing diversity of wildlife that surrounds us, as well as the blight of the ubiquitous plastic bottles and drinks cans scattered about the countryside.
Notice, Observe, Know.
Trash Free Trails’ prompts to “Notice”, “Observe” and “Know” really chimed with me – this time of year is teeming with new things to see. You can’t go from one government permitted daily exercise to the next without something new springing up where before there was nothing. It also provided a way to channel my frustration about the amount of litter I’ve been encountering into something useful. So I set about really paying attention to particular hotspots along my local loop, both positive and negative: The roadsides with the worst accumulations of rubbish, as well as the places I often see cool wildlife.
From door to moor :)
I’m incredibly fortunate to live in an area with miles of open moorland and wooded valleys straight from the front door, something I’ve previously taken for granted but which now feels like the greatest privilege. My mum once told me that the kilometre square I live in has more rights of way than any other kilometre square in the British Isles. I have no way of verifying the accuracy of this (she also used to tell me that bits of black plastic caught in barbed wire or trees were careless witches’ knickers…) but I’m pretty confident it could be true.
There are old cobbled lanes, mill worker’s paths, packhorse tracks, coffin routes, ancient bridges, sheep trods, drovers’ trails, roman roads; all criss-crossing, overlapping and interconnecting. As well as their individual legends and folk tales, each of these routes has its own unique collection of litter: Old silage wrap, sheep feed bags and baler twine; dog poo bags and Costa cups; McDonalds packaging and Stella cans; gel sachets, water bottles and innertubes.
So rather than bitterly pouring over maps of far flung potential adventures, I decided to create a micro map of my local bike loop. The loop’s nothing spectacular, just bridleways and lanes that fulfil the “No Car, No Gnar, Not Far” criteria. But the opportunities for wildlife spotting and trail cleaning are amazing once you start to pay close attention. Having mapped the hotspots and paid attention to what’s where, we’ve planned our exciting lockdown Easter weekend trail clean. Hopefully I’ll find time later in the year to map it again and see the small difference we were able to make.
Creating my map reminded me how much I love doodling, painting, colouring and drawing. It’s something I very rarely find time to do in “real life”, but this weird lockdown twilight zone has warped time enough to fit stuff like drawing in. Making an imagined map took me back to being little and drawing un-discovered islands and treasure maps; escapism at it’s best!
Probably something we all need a bit more of just now.
Thanks for reading my story,
Start your own Selfless Isolation Project.
As we said at the start we asked Rosie to illustrate the 'steps' or 'flow' of our Selfless Isolation Project and what she created completely blew our minds! Zoooooooom in to this beautiful picture and use it as a guide when you head over to our project page HERE to get started!
Good luck and thanks for joining in,
Dom, Ben and the A-TEAM :)
Please read our special 'Covid 19 Safety Guidance' HERE before setting out.
Thanks to our partners.
Thanks to our Spring Trail Clean Tour partners who stuck with us through Covid 19 and have made it possible to create this project;