Exploring the great outdoors

Words by:
Kate Chapman
Featured in:
January 2024

Kate Chapman meets hiker, wildlife enthusiast and navigation tutor Richard Fish, who leads the way in outdoor adventures for walkers.

A passion for the outdoors and a desire to show off the best of Lincolnshire’s countryside led Richard Fish to set up his own business helping others enjoy a range of outdoor adventures and challenges.

Richard, of Market Rasen, has been a mountain leader – qualified to lead groups in mountain, hill and moorland environments – for more than a decade and led other outdoor activities part-time alongside his day job in a school for several years. In 2022 he took the plunge and launched Richard Fish Outdoor Adventures, leading climbs up Snowdon, wild swimming and camping trips in Snowdonia, as well as walks, charity treks, forest schools and navigational courses in Lincolnshire and other locations around the country.

He now hopes to widen the range of courses he and his team can offer to include mountain training qualifications, so others do not have to travel outside of the county to complete them, as he did.

“I have been involved in the outdoors and interested in wildlife for as long as I can remember and I wanted to turn that into my own business,” says Richard.

“We try to offer as much variety as possible. I like to add value to whatever I’m doing – lots of people lead walks, but I try to offer something extra, like guided walks or themed walks. I can show people how to read a compass and engage with them by talking about relevant topics like farming, gamekeeping or the wildlife that we can see while on our walks.

“My work takes me all over country, which is great, but I have lived in Lincolnshire all my life. My family is here, and I am incredibly passionate about what we have right here on our doorstep. That is why I try to get involved in local events, such as walking festivals, to help promote the area.”

Fundraising expeditions
As well as the walks and expeditions, Richard is also a Duke of Edinburgh expedition leader and works with charities to lead fundraising hikes, including climbs up Ben Nevis and Snowdon.

He takes part in walking events around the county, including North Kesteven Walking Festival and is a part of the Lincolnshire Wolds Outdoor Festival.

Richard grew up and went to school just outside Lincoln and apart from a stint away while he studied sport science at Manchester Metropolitan University, he has lived in the county all his life.

After gaining his degree he worked with youngsters with severe learning difficulties at a school near Market Rasen, where he also taught Makaton, or ‘key word signing’. He still runs Makaton courses during the winter months, when there is less demand for outdoor adventures.

He explains: “While I was at the school, I started up a Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, as I’m also involved in sailing and orienteering. From there I started running a lot of after school clubs. It was a bit of a change but something that I had always wanted to do.

“I’ve been a mountain leader for 10 years and started offering a few commercial trips, just part-time while I was still at the school – my big plan was to eventually leave and work for myself, but then Covid hit and that pushed everything back a couple of years.”

Countryside codes
Once things returned to normal, Richard noticed there was a big demand for the activities he was offering from more people who were keen to get out and explore the countryside following lockdown.

“There was a real desire for people to get back outdoors, and in that first year there were definitely a lot more people accessing the countryside. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword though – it’s a good thing for the people, their physical and mental health, but a lot of them are new to outdoor pursuits and don’t necessarily understand the countryside codes.

“Sadly, some people are causing damage, they’re not respecting the outdoors and maybe not acting as they should, so I like to try and educate and engage here too.

“If people understand about the Lincolnshire countryside and care about it, then they are more likely to behave properly. Overall though, it’s a good thing to see so many people keen to get outside.”

Themed walks
Although his work takes him all over the country, Richard is keen to promote Lincolnshire and he is always looking at new ideas and activities he can host.

His offerings include Supermoon walks – a range of distances at a variety of locations each month to coincide with the spectacular lunar event. These can range anywhere from a couple of miles up to distances in excess of 20 miles.

He has also hosted a series of walks with BBC Springwatch presenter and birdwatcher Iolo Williams, with more planned. “We try to offer things that are a bit different, like less popular challenges, wildlife walks, networking walks for businesses, walks for mental health, team building and photography.

“We also have plans for Wainwright and Beatrix Potter themed walks,” he added.

“I’m always getting different ideas and I’m keen to hear from people if they want to do a challenge that we’re not currently running.

“Hopefully the next step will be to add more leadership qualifications. When I completed mine I found that I mostly had to travel outside of the county to do so, so I’d like to make it easier for others to get theirs.

“Otherwise, it’s more of the same – there are lots of trips up Snowdon planned. I think I’ve climbed Snowdon at least 40 times in the past three years! But even though you’re on the same mountain there are several different routes up; one on the knife-edge ridge, others that are short and sweet and those we take in the dark.

“The weather can have an effect too, so it’s never really the same. It’s the people that make the expeditions for me.

“Closer to home, I always like walking from Tealby to Walesby – it’s classic Lincolnshire through the Wolds, there’s something for everyone and it is close to the Viking Way.

“I do like being rural – especially the big skies and woodlands of Lincolnshire. My family is here, I have always loved it here and it’s great to be able to share it with others.”

For more information visit www.richardfishoutdooradventures.co.uk

Photographs: Naturalimagephotography



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