There is no point making the effort to cycle up Curbar or run to the top of Stanage if you are not going to take time to enjoy the view. The same goes for climbing Hollybush Crack, or swimming along the Derwent at Chatsworth or even walking the dog to the top of Grave’s Park.
Gym workouts, indoor pools and climbing walls do all have their part to play in getting us all to Move More. They are though in my mind firmly still second best to the boost that getting outside in The (Capital “T”) Outdoor City gives us. The views we see up in the hills play a huge part in creating the memories that we can bore friends about for years to come over pints outside pubs or mugs of tea in cafes or Facebook.
As an optometrist who tries to get out in to the Peaks as much as possible and someone who has been myopic (short-sighted) since the age of 15 I am very committed to helping people, including myself, see these views clearly, comfortably, safely and stylishly. We even offer £10 off if you bring your bike in with you.
Different outdoor activities often require different visual solutions – UV protection needs to be considered for all of them. Cyclists and runners, both on and off-road need protection from foreign bodies, clarity to see the route ahead and often the ability to see a map or electronic device too. Contact lenses work for me on a bike or on foot, with sunglasses or clear lenses over the top. Some people prefer cycling specs with the prescription incorporated into lenses that get darker in the sun and lighter as the light fades.
I have met a few climbers who climb in a blur as they are worried about their specs falling off as they hang on to the crags. I argue that clear vision will make them a safer and better climber. Don’t they want to see if the person who is holding the rope is paying attention? Again, contact lenses are an option, but there are also all sorts of frames these days that incorporate changeable sides with straps on that can be helpful.
Wild swimming has become very popular in recent years and I am a big fan, though my kids know not to trust me when I say, “it’s really not that cold”. Contact lenses, frustratingly, should never be worn for swimming. Why? Because of the danger of infection by a microscopic organism called Acanthamoeba present in water. This infection is hard to diagnose and very hard to treat successfully. Prescription goggles are now affordable and something I would not be without. As an aside, polarised sunglasses are great for assessing how safe it is to jump in as they allow you to see rocks just under the surface that would otherwise be difficult to spot.
In recent times we’ve provided multifocal contact lenses for fell runners and orienteers who run at night who were finding that they were freezing faffing about getting out and putting on reading glasses. We’ve done goggles for skiing and clip on polarised sun glasses for varifocal wearing ramblers who walk in the variable weather conditions that characterise outdoor Yorkshire pursuits.
Needless to say we also like to help out those who enjoy all sorts of activities like rugby, football, tennis, netball or hockey and children who find their everyday specs are impinging on their sport.
So, get outdoors this summer, get a sweat on and don’t forget to #enjoytheview.