Nominated for a Liebster Award.Read More
Collaboration with world leaders in outdoor waterproofing Aquapac.Read More
A hidden gem found on the Island of Texel.
A collaboration with KEEN Outdoor Footwear and review of the Westward Hiking Boot.
Collaboration with popular UK Outdoor Clothing Brand Mountain Warehouse.Read More
A favoutite walk in the Peak District.
An afternoon spent wandering round Delft.
Thoughts from a Spontaneous Sunday Cycle.
A personal travel guide on how to travel from the Netherlands to the UK, by train.
Thoughts from a Winter in The Netherlands.
As the new year rolls on, there is a always a distinct possibility of falling back into bad habits. Around Christmas and New Year many people (including myself) set themselves targets about what they would like to achieve during the year ahead and as soon as they have started, they end up giving up and reverting back to the norm.
I write this blog post on the particular day, commonly reffered to as 'Blue Monday'. When countries in the Northern Hemisphere often see it as the most depressing day of the year.
Of course, as I look out the window, yet again the morning sky is grey and the view set before me isn't the most inspiring, but among that gloomy scene, I have to be thankful that I've already biked to work this morning and hopefully will start the day in a positive frame of mind. As a result, I remain sceptical and really believe that the so called January Blues or infact Blue Monday, is really just a personal thing, with negativity simply feeding negativity and people using it as a vehicle to perhaps just wallow in a moment of self pity.
With those thoughts in mind, I have continued to develop a positive outlook and approach to the many things I do. As a result, I have again set some personal goals for this year and I'm delighted to say that I'm sticking to them. Whether that is through my photography, cycling or running.
If I firstly look back to last year. I decided after much deliberation to take the leap of faith and ditch motorised transport and opted to cycle to work instead. At first it seemed like one of my many crazy ideas, but completing a round trip of 16 miles each way, for 5 days a week was actually the best thing I have ever done. Especially, for both my body and mind.
Establishing, my new found freedom meant that eventually my total commute allowed me to complete a total of 5,546 miles for the whole year, achieving what I set out to do, as I initially focused on the target of completing 5,000 miles. So, by the end of 2016 I'd reached a significant milestone and of course felt good for doing so.
This year I feel determined to follow in the same vain, with significantly high levels of commitment and enthusiasm for the task. I want to maintain a positive approach and continue to achieve the most I can. Therefore cycling for purpose, commuting to work, making a difference to myself and of course keeping fit remains an important part of my life.
To maintain that positive frame of mind I want to share some of my possible tips or tricks in order to hopefully motivate others to achieve personal goals, that will allow you to adopt and adapt them to almost anything you decide to do.
Always have a purpose... a GOAL.
It really doesn't matter what you do, I have many hobbies, with so many options, but you have to have a purpose for doing what you do. That might mean establishing a goal to achieve something throughout your ventures, or perhaps a goal at the very end. Just remember that lack of motivation often comes from running out of ideas or reasons as to why you are completing your desired goal. In my opinion the biggest failing is not having a purpose, so make sure it is your primary goal and develop a greater understanding that the outcome might not make you perfect, but it will motivate you to do even more.
It's a marathon and not a sprint.
In the past I have learnt from my mistakes and I have certainly been prone to not pacing myself. Trying to achieve a lot, very quickly would certainly be the ideal, but in reality there is the possibility of burn out or lack of interest in what you are trying to achieve.
From my own mistakes, I have certainly learnt the hard way and understood a lot about myself , my skills and the things I need to improve over time. Therefore the word 'consistency' has become ever more present within my vocabulary.
Putting your desired goals into practice might not be so easy, but the rewards will be there to be seen. It could adopted into a variety of habits like pacing yourself during your runs, so that the training is often consistently slow and steady, cycling at a steady pace and avoiding injury or burn out, or consistently fueling your body with the correct types of foods.
3. Be realistic
Again one of my failings and many others is generally not being realistic. I have many hobbies and have a great deal of passion for a wide variety of things. In my eyes I want to be good at them all, whether that is my photography or perhaps my sporting pursuits, but in reality you do have to except (however hard) that you are not going to be good at everything.
True, I want to be a better cyclist, runner and photgrapher, but things don't just happen overnight and I believe it all come back to maintaining an appropriate and level of realism. Of course my dreams are big and it is important to have them, although the desired goal doesn't come without the knocks. They often say a person is shaped by how they cope with the knock-backs or disappointments in life. If you don't like disappointment then your threshold for coping will probably be low. If you come to terms with the negatives and earn to turn them into positives then you are probably moving in the right direction.
I'm personally motivated by people who make a difference and over the years I have met many wonderful people who focus on something and make a difference. Whether it is to their own lives or others, they put themself out there and make things happen. That is pretty admirable and something I look up to and set my realisic approach to something similar.
Throughtout January and the year ahead I will continue to keep cycling, I'm running more too and I will also endevour to try and make my photography that little bit more appealing, professional looking and seeking a slightly different viewpoint, in order to create new content.
I'm under no illusion that this will not be easy, but I always set my sights high. I also have the deisre and the perseverance to make things happen and will always feel better for doing so, in the hope of achieving something positive.
My blogs are also evolving and I want them to continue getting better throughout the year ahead. Again, I'm no expert, I just like writing and sharing my thoughts, travels, hope and dreams. As a result I don't want to sound like I know better than others, I don't, I'm just an aveage guy, who is still seeking the answers, as much as everyone else. Therefore I'm continually motivated and inspired by others and with that want to achieve and experience, as much as possible in the short time I have on this earth.
If you like this blog feel free to comment and share. It would be really fulfilling if you to could share your comments and thoughts with me, as a vehicle to hopefully inspire me and others to achieve great things in 2017.
Good luck with all that you do and remember with each and every little step, greater things can be achieved.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. I really appreciate any time spent reading my musings.
All images are taken on my Smartphone.
Bob un cam, cer mla'n
With each step, go forward...
Wow! What a wonderful start to a brand new year. I've just spent a remarkable last few days, back home in the UK, exploring Wales, Snowdonia, Mid Wales and the picturesque Shropshire Hills.
It was a fleeting visit, but a memorable one all the same. With myself and Claire @claireonline enjoying the delights of one of Europe's finest natural playgrounds.
I have compiled and uploaded a few photos here. These images were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S7, whilst hiking and generally being active, in the mountains. The S7 turned out to be the ideal companion, while out in the field and I was able to snap on the go without a great deal of fuss. Really nice phone and good camera too.
Despite moving away and now living in the Netherlands, home will always be home and although happy, I really do often miss the rugged natural beauty that is so prevalent in the UK.
Unfortunately, I really can't but help display those feelings, as I'm an 'outdoors kind of guy' and being in the outdoors certainly defines my character and I guess is just in my blood.
I also have so many fond memories of this area, both as a child and as a 'hard working' University student... haha. Where I roamed the hills and paths for hours at a time studying how this beautiful location was formed and all the stunning physical features that can be found here.
As someone who thrives on being in the outdoors, happiest in the most remote locations and harshest conditions, I cannot help, but share my love for areas of such natural beauty. Snowdonia is a special place and Wales is a very beautiful country, with so much to see and do.
My next visit will most certainly involve exploring the South of Wales, with the beautiful Brecon Beacons, The Black Mountains, the stunning rugged coastlines of the Gower Peninsula and of course Pembrokeshire high on the to do list. It's been a while and I'd love to see it once more.
...I just need a little time to perhaps make things happen.
Thanks for reading and thanks #wales... you have been just perfect.
A selection of small images from the trip.
These and more images can be viewed on my Instagram page @garethmate
The Instagram feed can be seen below.
Having grown up in the Peak District all my life, I will always regard this place as ‘Home’.
The Peak District is a place I can seek solitude, a place that always allows me to unwind and connect with myself once more. Life is tough and my job (like most people’s) demands a lot from me. Therefore to be in such a place is always a must and high on my ‘to do' list.
From an early age, I would happily embrace my beautiful surroundings. Whatever the weather, you would often find me outside, exploring and enjoying a new adventure. Often with friends, sometimes just me in a 'world of my own’. My world, a world that always played host to the best adventures and what all the best adventures are built around. A dream, a vision of creating something new and unique.
Growing up, I used the Peak District as ‘my playground’, somewhere I could utilise to train on my bike, run freely across open moorland, hike for miles and of course enjoy passions like photography, as well as the beautiful, physical landscape it presents. Whatever the weather, I would be happy outdoors, enjoying the moment and simply just taking it all in.
Now that I have moved away, its appeal is even greater for me. On my return, I want to continually explore, embrace and enjoy all of its natural beauty. The older I get the more I appreciate the finer details in life and this definitely allows me to be humble in my thoughts and truly thankful for what I have and what I have achieved.
My most recent visit to the Peak District took place at the end of the summer. I’m very lucky to havea long summer holiday and in the previous two weeks myself and my family had been to both Germany, Bavarian Alps and the mountains Salzburgerland in Austria.
To fully embrace all of my free time, we left our home in the Netherlands and ventured across the lowlands, through Belgium and Northern France, onward to the United Kingdom. This time, the choice of travel was by train, as it always offers a relaxed and interesting point of view. I love travelling by train, as I feel it offers a great way to just experience the world me. There is nothing better than just sitting back and watching the world pass you by. On arriving in London, many memories start to flood back. I lived here for 5 years, had a wonderful time, but soon realised that my inner peace was always in the countryside and not within the city life of London, so after a brief stopover we changed trains and headed north.
Soon after we arrived at my parents’ home, we quickly settled and then used it as a base to then explore the wonderful surroundings. I was brought up on the west side of the Peak District in the Staffordshire Moorlands. In my opinion, this area has some of the finest countryside the UK has to offer and is so often overlooked, with many other locations ranked before it. With its remote upland areas covered in moorland and heather, together with beautiful lush, rolling hills and woodland areas, there is nothing better. Add to that the presence of sheep, cattle and stunning rocky outcrops, its appeal is clearly apparent for all to see.
Using this particular area as a base is superb, as my parents' home is so close and accessible to popular locations like the Roaches, Chrome Hill, the White Peak and also the Dark Peak. I love it here, as there is simply so much to see and do. For me, I like nothing more than taking the short trip up to the village of Thorncliffe, near Leek. Here, (once you have negotiated the steep climb) you’ll be greeted with a spectacular view across the dramatic landscape, enjoying breathtaking views as far West as Wales, as far East the picturesque White Peak and North towards the Pennines. On a clear day it is amazing, on a bad day there is endless low cloud and fog. Therefore, in my opinion, any day here is a good day.
I love it here, not only for its views but due to its remoteness. I love any form of remoteness and I equally enjoy solitude. From time to time, I just like to be on my own and be in the quietest of places. Places where you can hear nothing and in the busy worlds we live in, just take a moment and 'enjoy the silence’. On the summit is moorland and extensive views of literally nothing. When the fog rolls in it is eerie and has a somewhat daunting and haunting feel. When the sun shines the colour contrasts are breath-taking, with a picture perfect scenery to be enjoyed almost every time.
In my opinion, the Peak District always offers a unique natural beauty, but also offers a harshness that can only be overcome if you adapt and develop a character to succeed within it. Like most upland areas, the landscapes can be tough and unforgiving at times. For some, a weather change may detract from the appeal of this landscape, but for me, it is a great opportunity to get out and make the most of it.
Grey clouds, fog and localised downpours, can dramatically change the surroundings and also the way that they are viewed. For me, this is what I enjoy the most, the challenge, the bleakness and the remoteness. Changes in light tend to bring out the smaller details, which I really enjoy, like the colours of moorland heathers, the undulating fields (filled with sheep and cows) and craggy rocky outcrops of places like the Roaches and Bamford Edge. It is these conditions that lead me to hike for miles or get on my bike and seek a new spot to photograph something new and dramatic.
Within this picture postcard landscape you will generally find mile upon mile of traffic free roads and if you’re lucky enough to avoid the main roads, the possibilities are endless. With a remote path to follow or a winding road that snakes off into the distance.
Throughout the stay, we visited some equally fabulous places and locations that are simply stunning. We venture slowly across the Peak District National Park to Castleton, to hook up with an old friend. Here we enjoy the Dark Peak, as it is more dramatic in its appearance and continually offers an exciting opportunity to explore. We walk for miles, in the fog, up to the summit of Mam Tor and along the Great Ridge, until we decide to double back on ourselves and traverse the lower levels of Mam Tor and discover the 'broken road', which was the main road, that was destroyed in 1979, after a significant landslide.
This is another great place. To walk up the broken road is an experience in itself, but to also enjoy the beauty that surrounds is pretty unforgettable too. Once at the top, we decide to walk down towards Winnats Pass. Winnats Pass is a popular location, with many visitors coming here to see this great spectacle. Here the path travels through a steep sided gorge, which was originally been cut out by a tropical sea, from the carnivorous period in Geological history. What is left behind is pretty fantastic and whatever way you look it, you cannot help but be inspired by the natural beauty. When you look up you see high towering pinnacles reaching high into the clouds and if you could see below your feet you would see and endless network of caverns cutting into the limestone below.
The Peak District is certainly a special place. A place that offers great opportunities for budding photographers exploring the surroundings and it is also renowned as a caver's paradise for those who like to do their exploring underground. If you get the chance, come and visit. You won't be disappointed.
Gareth Mate 2016
Collaboration with popular Outdoor Clothing Brand Haglofs.Read More
Collaboration with Biolite.Read More
Thoughts from the Bike.
At the end of our summer break we managed to get a sneaky little trip back to the Peak District in England.
It was great to see family once more and spend sometime roaming and feeling free. There are so many great walks, close to home, so the majority of time was simply spent in the outdoors.
Here are one or two images taken from that trip. It was nice to go back home, catch up with family and enjoy the surroundings.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn't particularly very good, with pretty cool temperatures along with several wet and cold days. Although, such poor weather conditions weren't necessarily good. They certainly added to the atmosphere.
You can see more images on my Instagram feed @garethmate
The following images are taken on the Roaches range, close to Roach End farm and moorland close to the village of Warslow. Two excellent locations, with great scenery.
Thanks for reading this short blog. It is great to know that people do read my blogs and if you would like to share your thoughts, that would be great.
Summer Road Trip
Well, finally, my summer holidays arrived and it was so good to just 'be free to do what I want'. It is always great to reach the end of the academic year and have something to look forward to, something to enjoy and of course share it with the most important people in your life.
We had planned this years summer holiday after about five minutes of unpacking from the last. Of course that might seem a little strange, but I think it's clear that everyone loves a holiday, so you might as well just get on with things and make the most of the whole experience.
With that mind we wanted an adventure and a road trip that would allow us to travel through Europe and see and do as much as we could.
This year we spent a fantastic week in the Eifel region of Germany and then travelled through the rest of Germany, to spend another week in beautiful Austria. A place I love!
Here are some of the images taken on our journey. These are also available on my Instagram feed @garethmate
Social Media Links
Thoughts from a trip back home to the Peak District.