50 things to do before you’re 11¾

45. Find your way with a map and compass

Orienteering at High Dam

A and B seem to have caught the orienteering bug. We’ve been a few times now. Just this month, B and I tried the National Trust’s new course on Sizergh Fell with his Beaver Scout unit. Then both A and B went for a training session in Eaves Wood with a friend who knows about these things. So when we discovered that there would be an event not too far away at High Dam, above Windermere, we were keen to have a go.

Well, three of us were. TBH was under the weather and elected to stop at home. S just wanted to watch the telly. He moaned on the drive there. He moaned on the long walk to the start. But, fortunately, once we began he loved it.

A wanted to have a go on her own, the boys were content to have me tag along, although I let B do the map reading. We all did the white course (a short easy course with all controls lying along a route connected by paths). Both A and B missed the fact that they should have gone through the gate in the photo above, rather then continuing to follow the path we had been on up to that point. By the time we bumped into her, however, A had realised that she had made a mistake and was heading back to this control to have another go.

It was a relatively big event, there was food available at Finsthwaite House where the cars were parked in an adjacent field, and some of the kids friends were also there, so we stayed for quite some time after we had finished the route.

We might then have gone to take a tour around the nearby Stott Park Bobbin Mill which I remember fondly from a visit many years ago, but it was shut. So we went around the end of the lake to Fell Foot park instead.

Windermere from Fellfoot Park

The kids climbed and swang and were temporarily pirates on the extensive playground there whilst I supervised them carefully from a recumbent position. It was warm. The sun shone. How odd.

I must have been in some sort of shock – I forked out for both ice-creams and for a half-an-hour rowing-boat hire.

Lazing on a sunny afternoon

On the coping stones edging the lakeside path B spotted this large critter…

A stonefly - probably an adult female Perlodes microcephala

I think that it’s a stonefly, an adult female Perlodes microcephala. Stoneflies breed in water, in this case in stony streams. There are 34 British species.

And the post title? Well, it’s more Fun With Lists: the National Trust have a campaign to encourage kids to get outside and do…well the sort of stuff which is fun to do outside. I don’t like the idea of ‘Bucket Lists’, but I must admit that this one is quite fun. A went through the list and declared that she has 5 still to do. She has plenty of time.

Here’s the list in full:

  1. Climb a tree
  2. Roll down a really big hill
  3. Camp out in the wild
  4. Build a den
  5. Skim a stone
  6. Run around in the rain
  7. Fly a kite
  8. Catch a fish with a net
  9. Eat an apple straight from a tree
  10. Play conkers
  11. Throw some snow
  12. Hunt for treasure on the beach
  13. Make a mud pie
  14. Dam a stream
  15. Go sledging
  16. Bury someone in the sand
  17. Set up a snail race
  18. Balance on a fallen tree
  19. Swing on a rope swing
  20. Make a mud slide
  21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild
  22. Take a look inside a tree
  23. Visit an island
  24. Feel like you’re flying in the wind
  25. Make a grass trumpet
  26. Hunt for fossils and bones
  27. Watch the sun wake up
  28. Climb a huge hill
  29. Get behind a waterfall
  30. Feed a bird from your hand
  31. Hunt for bugs
  32. Find some frogspawn
  33. Catch a butterfly in a net
  34. Track wild animals
  35. Discover what’s in a pond
  36. Call an owl
  37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool
  38. Bring up a butterfly
  39. Catch a crab
  40. Go on a nature walk at night
  41. Plant it, grow it, eat it
  42. Go wild swimming
  43. Go rafting
  44. Light a fire without matches
  45. Find your way with a map and compass
  46. Try bouldering
  47. Cook on a campfire
  48. Try abseiling
  49. Find a geocache
  50. Canoe down a river

The National Trusts website dedicated to the list is here:


But you have to sign up to access the entire list and then cope with the unedifying, but completely inevitable, hedging of bets as lots of unnecessary safety advice accompanies the list.

Not a bad list though. Any glaring omissions, do you think?

50 things to do before you’re 11¾

6 thoughts on “50 things to do before you’re 11¾

  1. Most of which we used to do without even thinking about it! How many kids do you come across these days who do absolutely nothing outside except school playtimes – and even that’ll be reluctantly?

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      It’s pretty depressing that it’s even considered necessary to produce this list, and hard to imagine that it will have the desired effect, but kudos to the NT for at least trying. The strange thing is that my kids can’t have the freedoms which I remember as a child because society has so fundamentally changed. From quite an early age I had opportunities to explore on foot or on my bike, the local fields, streams and copses where I grew up. I did it with my friends, but for my own kids to do the same they have to have friends whose parents are prepared to let them be out and about without always knowing exactly where they are, and it seems we neither trust our kids or the society in which we live enough to do that. (And I’m a bit of a mother hen myself at times if truth be told…)

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      45’s pretty impressive I think. Hmmm….I’ll have to tot up my own score. Sadly, a lot of grown ups seem to entirely lack curiosity about the world around them. Still, whilst they’re watching ‘celebrity come dance with me’ or whatever, we have the hills etc to ourselves.

  2. beatingthebounds says:

    OK – I reckon 47, although my memories pretty awful. I’m not sure I ever tried racing snails – although I can vaguely remember doing other, much crueler things with them (in a spirit of experimentation when I was knee high to dachshund), I definitely never brought up a butterfly (I never even ate one), and I never started a fore without matches, unless using a lighter counters and I don’t think that’s the spirit that was intended!
    I don’t think the numbers are so important – that’s why I have a reservation about lists, it’s more important to find something you enjoy and to pursue that.

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