COMMON GROUND PROFILE
COMMON GROUND PROFILE
Finding Common Ground in the Outdoors and Beyond.
COMMON GROUND PROFILE
*On the weekend of the 15th and 16th of October, The Hike Society by Columbia put on its first Annual General Hike (AGH) which saw them collaborate with outdoor communities across the UK to host a free hike in a location of the groups choice, ranging from the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia and the Peak District. In total, more than 500 individuals participated over the weekend which saw people coming together from across the country to explore the outdoors and engage with like-minded people. In spite of the UK’s burgeoning outdoor movement, AGH fuels The Hike Society’s mission to unlock outdoor spaces for new and existing audiences who previously would have flown under the radar.*
In 2020, our world as we knew it was proverbially flipped on its head forcing many of us to escape our metropolitan bubbles in search of open, green space for mental and physical respite. Under the enforced restrictions, we were limited to what we could go and do. Typical places where you would usually socialise were closed, so people looked elsewhere for that same connection. As we began to explore the outdoors in a way that had previously been reserved for a select few, new communities and subcultures began to emerge that revolve around, well, going outside, as nonchalant as it sounds.
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One such group united by a shared desire to get outdoors and escape the mundanities of day- to-day life, Common Ground was established in January 2022 by a group of strangers dotted around the Midlands and Northern England. What started as an Instagram group chat and Discord channel off the back of an L.Holl post, has blossomed into a rising collective of like- minded individuals who are focused on bringing people together from all backgrounds with a shared interest in not just the outdoors, but cooking, nature, cars and photography. In a day and age where subcultures and online communes are becoming increasingly splintered, Common Ground does wonders in capturing the current attitudes towards escapism in an increasingly busy world.
During talks with members of Common Ground, they cite that two of their primary reasons for hosting both the community walks and their collective purpose for getting outside is to explore new areas and to improve their mental well-being. Rightfully so, mental health has become a prominent talking point throughout the media and society in general with countless outlets and individuals pointing to physical activity as a tool to improve headspace.
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As well as the endorphins that are naturally released during exercise, there is something grounding and soothing about immersing ourselves in nature. Perhaps it's the innate connection we feel to the earth beneath our feet or the internal peace that it brings those who experience the outdoors in a pure form. To those people who are looking for a collective to help them break down such mental barriers, Common Ground is a welcoming safe space for people of all backgrounds to join.
Whilst the collective mainly operates online, for now, it is very much active in the outdoors. As its primarily young founders are based in or within close proximity to the Peak District, that seemed like the natural place for the group to host its first community walk, earlier this year, given its central location with plenty of trails to explore. Liam Money, known by his Instagram handle of Foot Down and a founding member of the group, explained to T3, β€œOur first walk was in Edale. Us six came along, with our girlfriends, but we were thinking β€˜who the hell is going to turn up?’ And it was absolutely pissing it down all day! In the end, 26 turned up, including one lad who had driven all the way up from London. He told me he’d driven five or six hours to get there and that really blew me away. I thought straight away, β€˜we’re doing this again!’” After the first community walk, the collective agreed amongst themselves to host one at least every 2 month.
Suffice it to say, their community is dedicated to the cause as exemplified by its turnout at the Annual General Hike which took place on the weekend of the 15th and 16th of October. When deciding on the location for the hike, the group wanted to host it somewhere they had not previously done a group walk, bringing them to The Yorkshire Dales National Park. Specifically, Pen-y-Ghent, a natural Yorkshire institution, was selected as the destination for the jaunt and, despite the odd bit of rain and sporadic sun, the turnout was outstanding boasting over 75 participants.
YOU CAN STAY UP-TO-DATE WITH THE COMMON GROUND TEAM VIA INSTAGRAM (@CMN.GROUND) AND ITS DISCORD CHANNEL - CMN.GROUND.
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