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Winter Solstice - Light within the darkness

For many, the day with the shortest day light hours can be tough and wearing. After 6 months of watching the hours which we can ride, run and roam without the need for artificial light sources dwindle,it can leave our otherwise outside world feel isolated.

As daylight changes, so do the seasons, the seemingly endless nights exploring trails in a t & shorts, replaced with multiple layers & the obligatory waterproofs. It can be a right faff to get out the front door, both personally & to motivate your mates to meet you at the trailhead; when its 3 degrees, blowing a hoolie, pitch black bar the narrow beam of white light projected from the LED on your noggin.

With winter comes new inputs to stimulate senses.

Sound travels further at night, the piercing shrieks and cries of animals can spook the most resilient of trail lovers, when depth perception or context are gone. Rustles in near by hedges seem magnified, you’re alert to a world you may normally switch off from.

Eyes glinting in the shrub, reflecting from the lumens cutting through the dark wall ahead, as shadows elongate, forming outlines the mind starts to create stories and outcomes for, based on little fact, rather fiction.

There are some hardy souls that love the night, the changes it brings, but they too can have their clockwork schedule of getting into nature interrupted.

It can affect all of us.

This seasonal change can leave us feeling pretty deflated, vulnerable and/or lost. Let’s forget the term fair weather rider, rather, lets replace it with riding with untold freedom. The power and energy that daylight provides should not be underestimated.

We at Trash Free Trails understand that our trails and wild places are important to many of us (it’s one of the reasons we look after them) and they can and do, provide more than simple pleasure. It’s for this reason we would like to introduce you to our friends over at My Black Dog

My Black Dog is a charity that offers free peer to peer support for anyone struggling with their mental health. We know this time of year many of our coping mechanisms and outlets may be harder to utilise and therefore, knowing there is someone to speak to is important.

My Black Dog’s volunteers are people who have their own lived mental health experiences, they understand how it feels, they get it, they’re just like you. Every night of the week, the free anonymous online chat service is there if you want let off some steam, talk about what’s going on in your life or simply have someone ready to listen

When you don’t know who to talk to, talk to someone who gets it

For more information on My Black Dog visit My Black Dog | Free Online Mental Health Chat Support

Please be aware My Black Dog are running shorter hours over Christmas 2021. If you are in crisis or need immediate support, please contact Samaritans | Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy | Here to listen


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