The Isle of Man is the only entire country to boast UNESCO Biosphere status, reflecting it is a special place for people and nature. In a year-long series of articles, authors from different walks of Manx life offer a personal perspective on #MyBiosphere. This month, Kate Bergquist writes:
The Isle of Man has been recognised by UNESCO as one of the best places in the world to explore nature, and I couldn’t agree more.
Now the Island has claimed its spot on the map as one of UNESCO’s Biosphere reserves, we should all celebrate this fact and contribute in keeping our Island a special place to live.
I am a mountain girl (or goat, it’s as known in the hiking world) and I spend many hours roaming around in the fells enjoying the Islands natural landscape.
I didn’t discover my love of the fells until I rescued my dog Ruby 12 years ago. I started walking and running the Islands trails and footpaths, and it was on these trails I started to connect with nature.
I remember being amazed when I came across an awe-inspiring waterfall hidden away in one of our many beautiful glens or heading down a small path to enter into a wide open space that revealed scenery that would take your breath away
And the best things about it? You could be out for hours and not bump into a soul, and it is all free.
I started to base my boot camps out of doors.
I wanted my clients to feel the same sense of wellbeing I did when I exercised outdoors.
Over the years, my clients have done sunrise runs up Snaefell and flipped tractor tyres up the huge hills at the Clypse reservoir. I have also had them lying in the grass in silence, just breathing and connecting with the Earth.
I walk around 50 kilometres a week and I have ‘nearly’ been up every fell on the Island. I ran walks on a weekly basis for a group of my friends who did the Tour de Mont Blanc with me in August.
I have now incorporated the outdoors into my role at University College Isle of Man as the Employability and Skills Co-ordinator.
Part of my role includes developing young people’s soft skills, such as communication, resilience, team-building and problem-solving, such skills that are often the missing ingredients young people need to succeed in the workplace.
I use the Manx fells, plantations and glens as places where a student can learn, they are living classrooms.
My outdoor education programme gives depth to the curriculum and makes an important contribution to student’s physical, personal and social development.
The Manx hills are my church. They help me relax, feel happy, heal sadness and pain and keep fit and they make me feel alive.
My favourite place on the Island is the old Tynwald hill, just above St Luke's Church in Baldwin. I will often be found to be lying in a starfish shape in the middle of the stone circle looking up at the sky, or sometimes the stars.