Our last post!


Thanks everyone for following outdoorswithdad.

It has been great fun learning how to use social media and run a website and sharing our adventures and connecting with so many amazing people from the blogging world and outdoors sector.

But writing updates and using social media for outdoorswithdad has become more of a chore lately and I am trying to become less busy generally so something has to give. Also, the boys are getting older and it could be embarrassing for them to have their old man blogging about them!

So, this is our last post.

Good Bye and Good Luck🙂



Outdoors family adventure in County Sligo, Ireland


I can recommend County Sligo in the west of Ireland for a fantastic family holiday outdoors.

We are just back from two weeks in Yeats country.

What a wonderful time we had exploring beaches, lakes and mountains in the mist, rain and sun.

We drove from Wales to Ireland, taking a ferry to Dublin Port and drove straight west via the M50 tunnel.

We stopped enroute at Mollie Moos, a lovely open farm on the shores of Lough Ennell near Mullingar. With young children I think it makes any car journey over an hour so much better when one plans ahead with stopping points where the kids can let off steam. Open farms are great but the stop could also be a quick walk along a river, in a wood or up a hill.


On every day of our holiday in County Sligo it was a combination of mist, rain or sun. The frequent changes in weather certainly make for breath-taking scenery, but only if you are in the right place at the right time. We hedged our bets by spending the majority of every day outdoors!

Highlights of the trip were as follows:

Lough Gara Riding Stables, which also had a shed full of rabbits (big hit with boys).

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Keash caves, which the boys called the “banshee caves” as they found them quite scary.

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Eagle’s flying, a wonderful close up encounter with birds of prey from barn owls to white-tailed eagles, and even some non-flying pigs!

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Lough na Leibe, a lake so well off the beaten track it took us two trips to find and it was full of trout and crayfish!

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Glencar waterfall and lake was amazing. We didn’t get a photo of the waterfall as it was absolutely lashing rain but when the rain cleared the views on the lake were spectacular. The Tea Shed café is well worth a visit.

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Gillighan’s World was the most interesting find of the trip. A magical place filled with fairies, but what most excited the boys was hundreds of tiny frogs all clambering and hopping around the ponds!


We visited Streedagh beach many times when the sun came out. An area with a strong historic connection with the Spanish Armada and the Grange and Armada Association have been doing wonderful awareness raising work, including hosting an annual Celtic Fringe Festival.

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Lissadell House is a must visit place not only for the house and gardens, but also for a fascinating insight into its connections with Countess Markievicz and William Butler Yeats. However, the boys’ main interest was scrumping apples in the orchard and Dad’s close encounter with Molly the parrot.


Last but not least we enjoyed several trips to the Darty mountains, full of spectacular views, but what was remembered most was the burned out gangster car!

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What about you? Have you been on an outdoors holiday to Ireland?

Please feel free to post your experiences and views.



Away with the fairies


The weather was promised sunny and warm but it turned out muggy and wet. No bother to us outdoor boys, we made the best of it, on our day trip to Stonyford nursery gardens, which is a magical place to spend a few hours amongst woods, ponds and a few goblins, elfs and fairies!

The visit began with some stinky fungi. No idea what this was but it bloody stank!

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Then we found a substantial beetle. Adam held it close to his face and then started screaming that his eye was on fire so we doused it in water and he was ok.


The best part of the visit was staying still in the ‘bird hide’ and watching an inquisitive wren check us out. We were in his territory and the more still we sat the closer he came. The boys were mesmerised.


The rest of the outing was spent exploring the gardens and ponds in the rain.

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We also saw some fairies🙂


What about you? Did you go anywhere interesting this weekend? 

Please feel free to post your experiences and views.


Pokémon didn’t Go here (yet)


We don’t need Pokémon Go to get us outdoors (yet). Getting our daily dose of Vitamin N is an incentive in itself. We look upwards for glimpses of woodpeckers and nuthatches, we look ahead for rabbits and deer, we look downwards for shrews and beetles, and we use our noses for foxes and fungi. Yea, we are proper old school🙂

Sunday was a funny old day. In the afternoon the boys were attacked by a dog, but not bitten thankfully, and after dinner we headed for the woods.

The weather was wonderful and we enjoyed picking wild raspberries and stalking rabbits in the meadows and then playing in the woods and the pond. This could easily have been a lazy evening indoors after an active weekend but making the effort to get outdoors one final time was so much worth it!


So, what do I really think of the Pokémon Go craze currently hitting USA and New Zealand? I think its absolutely WONDERFUL. This is getting otherwise sedentary kids outdoors and active it is such an exciting development.  Looking forward to Pokémon Go hitting the UK!

What about you? Have you used Pokémon Go yet? Will you use the app to get outdoors more often? 

Please feel free to post your experiences and views.


Rainy days – what to do?


There is perhaps nothing more dis-spiriting than waking up to a morning of incessant rain. Getting outdoors? You must be joking! Let’s watch TV all day, play computer games and maybe head to the cinema or the shopping mall?

Who is benefitting there? The kids, or you?

Children see rain as fun. As adults we see it as hassle – we are going to get wet too. Muddy clothes to be washed. Possible colds. Let’s stay indoors today. What happens then? Tantrums and fights and your stress levels going through the roof. So get outdoors!

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The kids don’t mind being wet and muddy. Have you forgotten the amazing streams rain makes. The noise, the smells of rain? Not to mention all the drowned worms and other creepy crawlies we can rescue! Let’s do it!

Today was a rainy day and we spent it outdoors. It involved 3 changes of clothes but in many ways it was more memorable than the sunny days. Those massive puddles!


We had the playground to ourselves also, even though the rain had stopped and everything had dried out.


What about you? Do you get outdoors on rainy days?

Please feel free to post your experiences and views.



Break free and climb a tree

Apparently, a third of British children aged between 6 and 15 have never climbed a tree. This is insane. To buck the trend the boys climbed a lot of trees this weekend.

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We also built a tepee made out of branches.


It was a fun weekend, the boys gained a little more agility and confidence, and I gained a few more grey hairs. In Oscar’s words “Daddy I can climb as far as I want and nobody can stop me”. Yes indeed – what a great analogy that could be for us all!

What about you? Do your kids enjoy climbing trees?

Please feel free to post your experiences and views.



Shopping detour – 30 days wild (day 18)


The boys grew restless during our shopping trip in a nearby town called Nantwich. We left Mum in shopping nirvana and found our own little slice of heaven in a nearby park with a river and a beach.  This discovery was no accident. Whenever we go on day trips I always have a look at the options for time outdoors in nature. Our car journeys are never fraught with tantrums or fighting. The boys are high on excitement on the way out and usually sleeping or quietly drawing on the way back.



What about you? Do you get outdoors and into nature with the kids on shopping trips?

Please feel free to post your experiences and views.

conor balloons


Four rainy days – 30 days wild


Days 14-17 have been a challenging time for getting outdoors with so much rain. However, we have kept on track with either before or after school trips daily as windows of opportunities appeared.


We don’t mind a bit of rain. But the rain around the north of England lately has been of monsoon quality!

On the plus side we have had some massive puddles to play in, had a zip wire in one of the parks all to ourselves, and been able to run about an empty BMX track.


There were two wildlife highlights since Tuesday, both this morning!

Firstly, a family of house sparrows came to our back window, a first sighting of house sparrows on our street for at least ten years.

Secondly, we watched a flock of goldfinches in the playground, each one taking turns to hover over some thistles to pick some seeds out. I have never seen goldfinches in the city before.


Our tree of the week was learning to identify hawthorn, which can support a wide range of insects and provides an excellent nesting site for a variety of birds.


What about you? Did you get outdoors with the kids today? Are you taking the 30 days wild challenge?

Please feel free to post your experiences and views.



Day 13 – park before school – 30 days wild


Monday mornings can be tricky getting to school on time. Since we started getting outdoors before school a few weeks ago this seems less of a problem with the boys very excited and focused to leave home extra early. Today we went to the local playground/park enroute to school.

The boys took a cardboard box, some rope and a stick and pretended they had a computer and an anchor on their ‘ship’ whilst playing on the ‘big boys’ swing.

Afterwards we looked at a silver birch tree to identify its main features.

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What about you? Did you get outdoors with the kids today? Are you taking the 30 days wild challenge?

Please feel free to post your experiences and views.



Days 11&12 – weekend outdoors – 30 days wild


A busy weekend outdoors playing in various playgrounds and parks, watching the Chester triathlon and attending a city centre celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday. I do not recall any particular ‘wow’ moments, other than the torrential rain, just lots of fun outdoors. I guess the key thing was that we made the most of our local surroundings and everything was free.


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What about you? Did you get outdoors with the kids today? Are you taking the 30 days wild challenge?

Please feel free to post your experiences and views.