Tipi Ceremony – Values

craigarmiger - OutdoorCoaching

In the beginning, the idea of the Tipi was the USP (unique selling point) of my new business Outdoor Coaching UK. It is has now developed into a very versatile piece of equipment which enables the introduction of a variety of Outdoor Learning and life skills.

The first outing was to Maesglas Primary School in Newport to use Outdoor Learning as a vehicle to help engage pupils that had poor attendance (70%average) back into school. It was also to look at the values of who and where they were in relation with family and school.


I had been speaking via Facebook to a friend (funny how this new world of social media creates friends who you have never met, but have a relationship with) who teaches in Northern Canada and has become immersed through marriage and occupation as a headteacher into the Cree First Nation people. Bruce was able to…

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Outdoor Mental Health 

‘Just going outside for a breathe of fresh air’, ‘ go outside and play, it will do you good instead of being inside all day!’.

A few phrases that I had heard from an early age and now have a more profound ring to them. As our screenagers get engrossed into their own virtual world,  they are cleverly marketed into the supposition that they are engaged socially into a green and healthy world because the online game is set Outdoors. 

A single hour outside during the day would aid their whole life health plan. A few litres of air blown in by the wind instead of recirculated teenage bedroom aroma, a stride across the garden or woodland track instead of an excited leg twitch of another kill on the screen could put years on their healthy calendar.

What’s the alternative? Statistics that are quite shocking today that apply to our young people. High security prisoners now get more daily outdoor time than our average young person. Wales has the highest obesity rates in young people than anywhere in Europe, you can’t blame that one on European legislation! 

What is available is Free! Wales has a double Free prescription but only tablets are the drug of choice from our doctors surgery. It should be that our Health Service is linked  to our amazing Welsh Outdoor environment. A walk in a green area, a city park counts, will bring down your blood pressure, reduce stress levels and aid recovery from health problems. 


So, when feeling down, recovering from illness or surgery get Outdoors, scientifically it is proven that the Great Outdoors is indeed ‘Great’ at making you feel better. But then we already knew this, as when we came back indoors from being Outside we were always told to ‘calm down’ as we had too much energy! How do you feel after that walk?  – ‘recharged’. Just listen to the language of the Outdoors in relation to Health in general it says it all! 

More young people can recognise a Dalek and not an oak tree. Time to change our learning and approach to helping ourselves with our health plan and improve our life NOW , rather than in the future saying ‘I wish I’d have got out more!’. 

Have a bit of ‘eco therapy’ in your daily dose of medicines and tonics. 

11 Reasons for Outdoor Health

Operation Natural Well-being. 

The day of operation ‘Nature’s well-being’ had finally arrived. I had been walking through my outdoor journey for the last few months now as my hip replacement  operation had been cancelled several times. I had been on the walk in daylight, dawn, dusk, night-time, sun, wind and rain. Frosty underfoot and very soggy lately. Taking in all the detail of the path, it’s ups and downs the angle of where the trees cross above. The colours, the textures the feelings of the moss and leaf-litter. All this was my master plan in readiness for my thoughts going into the anaesthetic to use Nature to become calm and for a feeling of well-being and a positivity in my mental health. Also using it with the  recuperation afterwards when I am home and for a short while unable to walk the route. 
There is a spiritual side to my thoughts in walking in Nature but there is now scientific medical evidence that green space and fresh air aids recovery. Even the view from your bed window can have an affect on the time of recovery and most importantly the frame of your mind. This was one the incentives in my natural master plan. 

With all this in mind and with the thoughts initially that the wards all face the wonderful vista of the Blorenge and green mountains I entered  the ward on the morning of admission. However, as all plans there may need for some iteration along the journey. Certainly this was the case when they lead me to a side ward of my own with a magnificent view to aid health and well- being.

The ward opposite my room had a magnificent green view. 

My room had a different twist to the meaning of  ‘green’ ! Which meant my plan to become a success had to be a truely walk completely in the mind. 

Another iteration came when a few problems with introducing the anaesthetic meant I did not even open the gate to the woods to start my walk for the journey into the operation.

 Oh well, not to worry. Post operative positivity was in full force, which I am sure came from the influence of the saturation into Nature therapy for months prior to my NHS therapy. 


Within days I was home and using my green journey as part of my recuperation plan. Daily in my exercise routine I finished with a meditative walk along my route through the woods. 

Within a two weeks I ventured onto the walk alongside the stream but not into the wood as my crutches sank too much into the mud. 

Once I had the ability to access fully to the green gym – which is free by the way! the recovery sped up daily. My incentive to walk further in my normal journey motivated my efforts. 

 By week seven I had been to the top of Pen Y Fan much to the surprise of my physio. 


My time in preparation in using Nature to aid my recovery from my hip operation has been in my mind  been essential. The use of Nature and its natural medicine has in my case been a complete success. I can only compare with two years previous when I had my first hip replacement and recovery was so slow in comparison without Natures remedies. 

I am a firm believer in the use of Nature to help with all aspects of health. Taking off the top of the bottle with the label ‘Nature’ is the best move you can make if you have a medicinal need. It’s a tonic that should be taken daily. 

Natures Plug-In

An amazing quick visit to Stackpole Quay last night. The evening was perfect, the tide was in the full moon rising from the horizon. I had the place to myself and the sounds of sea a perfect opportunity to do some reflection. The power of Nature to recharge your soul and spirit never fails to amaze me. These moments are like a natural plug-in for your mental health and well-being. 


We may not realise it at the time as the tonic is taken in so many different methods. The vista is an eye lotion that writes its own label describing to us the awe and wonder of the moment. The sounds of the swell of the in coming tide against the shoreline, ear drops that soothe the inner soul. The taste of the salty sea breeze is a freshness for vitality in adding to that inhalation of breathe. Your toes in the sand, your palms on the cold exposed rocky shore connecting you directly to nature and grandmother earth. 


So just in ‘that moment’ you are plugged into a power unit that is unmeasurable but charges in way like no other. It’s price per unit – priceless. 

Beach school

Since growing up on the North Norfolk coast and experiencing the beauty and academic enhancement that going to the beach can bring, I have been an advocate of systematically recieving the ‘salt- injection’ periodically to keep up the levels of  coastal Vitamin N.

Today I was lucky to be invited to the beach with two schools and staff who were coming to the end of their Beach Schools training. We piled into the minibus borrowed from the comprehensive school and set off from the South Wales ex-mining valley primary and headed to where their predecessors used to convalesce beside the sea, Rest Bay at Porthcawl.


Suitably dressed in their fluorescent jackets so that they would stand out as a group against the dull Autumn colours of the beach picture. The children had no problem with wearing these bright additions to their warm jackets as they were too excited to notice. As they  skipped out of the bus the salt air hit them smack in the face from that onshore autumn wind, which set them off into rhythmic dance routines as they headed towards the high tide mark.

The beach school is another brand of Forest school but with sand, sea and pebbles. Not all schools have the managerial support to be able to do this kind of visit, let alone as regular as these two schools have had the fortune to have experienced. The day was planned out with a number of activities but open enough, like any good learning experience should be, to follow an opportunity that has been ‘plucked from the beach’. An example was that at one one moment a young girl came to me with a shell, ‘ but it’s different to all the others, is it a fossil?’ Yes, it was a ‘Gryphea’ a trace fossil from the limestone. But more interesting to the year 4 children was the Victorian fossil hunters name ‘Devils Toe Nail’. 

Like any child that has not been in an outdoor environment for a long time or even not at all, the excitement in the first few minutes can be too much to cope with. As we approached the beach from the car park the lure of the sea pulled the group faster and faster. Unfortunately between us and the sea was the beach road, however previous knowledge of the location meant that systems and control methods were already in place. A grounding in Forest School rules and behaviours did make the class management easier. The same rules were applied, work within the marked area (use of orange flags), ‘keep within the boundaries and explore with care and curiosity’ and a few extra put in – no throwing rocks, public and pets. 
Below are a few of the activities that were done on the day.

Beach Bingo – A prepared sheet set out like a bingo sheet. When each item has been found it is placed on the relevant box and ‘Bingo’ is achieved when all the items are found. This helped as the first activity as it allowed free spirits to run around getting some of the initial energy out of their system, whilst contributing to their team activity challenge as well. 



Pebble Discovery
– walk around the beach using powers of observation and creativity. Pick a pebble that, when you look at it makes you think ‘that looks like a …….’.     When you are satisfied that this rock / pebble has been selected, then it can be turned into that particular animal, bird or even sea creature. I used cheap pens from Wilkinsons for this activity only £1 a packet for 8 coloured pens on tight school budgets this is a winner compared to sharpies. They worked a treat, obviously making sure the pebble is dry before using them. 



Beach Bowls – I had taken a few old tennis balls in a recycled potato cloth bag, in fact the balls had all been found floating down the River Severn last summer when I was assessing a Duke of Edinburgh Gold canoe expedition. The game is simple and uses mental maths skills to play. Draw 3 circles on the sand and label them, I used 1,2,3. A rolling line marked on the sand and the game starts – see how many you can score. It takes a judgement of coordination of throw, accuracy, understanding of forces and needed and mental maths to add up the score. Differentiation could be subtracting numbers from a given starting number using the scoring circles. Having a larger circle surrounding the others so that the outer score 1 point every time, this gives success every throw and promotes continuous maths. I ended this game with the all rolling a single ball,towards a driftwood stick similar to ‘boule’ the string from the bag was used as a measure when it was close to call.

A literacy variation of this game I have used before has been to draw some circles in a connected line, maybe using pebble footprints to connect to each, and these are the parts of a story. Simply move from one circle to the next making up the next part of the story. This can be also done with objects found from the beach and placed in each circle which gives the starting point of the story part, or even a connecting word written on the sand to help ‘ when’ ‘ then’ ‘ and finally’. 

This idea was taken from an activity I use with chalk on the school yard, the beach surface is just and variation and adapted to the new environment. 

The day ended with a quick exploration of the rock pools and reflection of the days activities before the drive back to school. The sea air had waved its wand as we travelled back and the beach dust sprinkled as they dozed giving a much quieter return journey. But lots of stories to tell their friends and family. 

Day 1 Wild.    #walkintherain

craigarmiger - OutdoorCoaching

As I drove along with the windscreen wipers heavily in motion a strange ritual was being conducted on the pavement by two non- jacket wearing teenagers. A partially blonde teenager was being helped by her boyfriend to stay out of the torrential Welsh sunshine. In order to prevent the vital locks from becoming drenched and therefore unveiling her camouflage he had placed both his hands above her head. This unconventional butterfly shaped fascinator was certainly keeping me smiling as I headed to my destination. As I passed the end of school day gates, the road became clogged with traffic and waiting parents. Surely not all these children lived that far from school? They lived on a large estate only minutes from home why was there a need to protect their precious cargo from getting wet? We live in a Wales we should be used to the dampness of the environment…

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The Outdoors is the Natural Place To Learn.