The idea for Babble Rock came about after the birth of my son. As I lay in hospital cuddling my newborn, I realised his dad, an avid rock climber and hillwalker, had no intention of slowing down for any longer than it took for our tot to make an entrance. Within a week of his birth Crag-Baby, as he became known, found himself passed around our friends at the local climbing wall. Within six weeks he was in a baby-tent at the foot of a crag watching his dad climb.
We were lucky enough to have an extremely accommodating group of friends who welcomed Crag-Baby into their midst and enabled us to bring him on outdoor climbing jaunts within Scotland and on holidays abroad. But we were the only ones in our group to have a child and it felt at times like we were in unchartered territory, as we didn’t know of anyone else doing the things we were doing with a baby in tow.
I also started to feel as though my life had compartmentalized itself into “mum life” – baby groups and indoor play – and “fun life”; namely the stuff I did at the weekend with the friends I had before my son came along. So I started to chat about our escapades with other parents at baby groups to see if there were any folk who were into the idea of camping, climbing, kayaking, hillwalking or attending festivals with tots. I was sometimes met with incredulity and something along the lines of, “Oh my God, I’d love to still do stuff like that! I used to do loads of [insert any fun-sounding outdoor activity here] before Baby came along!” I found myself telling those people how easy it was to still do those all things with a Teeny in tow and it turned out that most people just needed an invite and a bit of encouragement.
Other times I met parents who were already getting into nature with their kids in ways I hadn't known about, especially those who were running or attending outdoor playgroups, planting community gardens, and helping toddlers understand the basics of biodiversity by encouraging bees and other pollinators,
Along the journey too, I was fortunate enough to meet some parents of older children who were already experienced hillwalkers and campers with their kids, and some amazing friendships were cemented
Thus Babble Rock was born: a peer-led community on Facebook where members can add events like hikes and camps to invite group members on, ask questions about outdoor gear, and just generally find a tribe of people who believe wholeheartedly in the idea that both childhood and parenthood are for living and breathing the Outdoor Life.