Our partnership with the UK’s premier wildlife hotel, The Grant Arms

We are excited to launch our partnership with the UK’s only wildlife hotel, The Grant Arms in the Scottish Highlands. Nestled in Grantown on Spey in the heart of the beautiful Cairngorm National Park, The Grant Arms Hotel is the perfect base from which to explore this region’s stunning landscapes and discover its abundant flora and fauna. The finest river in Scotland, the River Spey, is only minutes away and there is no better place to spot rare and endangered species such as wildcat, red squirrel, osprey, pine marten, golden eagle and rutting deer.

The Grant Arms Hotel
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Outdoor Stories: Alex and Jodie from Páramo HQ

Between them, HQ staff members Alex Beaumont and Jodie Clarke have an impressive 37 years of Páramo experience under their belts, so we thought it was about time we gave them a little overdue airtime in one of our newsletters. Alex is our patient Operations Director who knows everything there is to know about the business, whilst Jodie, as Head of Sales, has a real flair for what makes our retailers and customers tick. As befits a Páramo employee, they spend much of their spare time enjoying the great outdoors and we asked them to give us an insight into the kit they are never without.

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Our buddie Freddie, by Jenny Olivant

Jenny and her husband Mike have both enjoyed long careers in the RAF, are fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of a variety of outdoor pursuits, and have grown to appreciate the absolute benefit of using good quality kit appropriate to the environment and conditions. The weather never holds them back and after many years they have found Páramo, above all other brands, enables them to get out in all conditions and remain warm, comfortable and dry...

Jenny, Mike and Freddie the Beagle

A dog has always been part of our married life and part of the reason for our many outdoor adventures.
We welcomed our most recent addition, coincidentally, at the start of lockdown last year.

Let me introduce Freddie, our Beagle. After doing our research we decided a Beagle would be the ideal breed for us – compact, (fits in the Campervan perfectly) energetic, intelligent and full of love.
Born on the 27th March 2020, we brought him home on 22nd May and so our new Canine adventures began.

Freddie in the Shropshire Hills

Young Freddie has helped keep us sane, entertained, positive and active throughout the past year and half. The long warm summer of enforced lockdown turned out to be the best possible time to get to know our Freddie. Having to stay home gave us the time to spend with him, to bond and prepare him for his life ahead. Training him was fun too, Freddie loves a challenge. We soon learnt that you have to be persistent and consistent with a Beagle.

At 12 weeks old it was time to introduce Freddie to the greater outdoors. And so, the wonders of his outdoor adventures began. The local park was his first experience of a wide-open space and where he met his first furry pals. Very quickly he was tearing around the park, rough and tumbling with his buddies.

Freddie and his friends

Living amongst the Shropshire Hills, an AONB, we couldn’t wait to take Freddie out and about and show him the sights. We had to build up his walkies time slowly, but a priority was to practice his recall and let him off his lead whenever we could. We started his walks in the nearby woodlands and progressed on to local landmarks such as the Long Mynd and the Stiperstones.

Freddie at Blea Tarn

In between Lockdowns, Freddie was introduced to “Van adventures”. He adapted brilliantly to van life and as soon as we could, we were on the road to Wales, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District for a few days here and there. It was such a rewarding experience for us to show Freddie our favourite places and give him a taste for the outdoor life we wanted to share with him.

Freddie’s first longish walk was around Blea Tarn where the wonderful cloud layers and still conditions created a great moody photo opportunity.

As the weather turned more inclement, we donned our Páramo jackets and continued our walk. The comfortable, roomy fit, and good-sized pockets make it the ideal jacket for all our dog walks together, whether short strolls in the park or longer walks across beautiful countryside.

Beautiful autumn

In October we decided to take Freddie on a longer adventure, and we packed up the Van for a three week trip up to Scotland.

Amazing autumnal colours greeted us as we toured around the beautiful Isles of Mull and Skye, the stunning sands of Arisaig, dramatic Glencoe and barren Rannoch Moor.

Due to his young age we were not able to show Freddie the mountain views, so instead we explored the lower hill paths and beaches. Every time the Van door slid open, he jumped out into a whole new world with fresh sights and smells. We even met some Scottish Beagle friends. Freddie loved every minute, taking it all in his stride. Even the wind and rain didn’t put him off and the long cut of our Páramo jackets kept us well protected from the elements. They also kept us nice and warm whilst photographing the stars above the Old Man of Storr one night. Not a soul around, just the eerie calls of the local Stags.

With our Scottish Adventures complete for now, another Lockdown confined the Van to sit once more idle on the drive. With a stay local rule we were fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy some local snowy walks in the beautiful Shropshire countryside. Chilly winds and icy temperatures were kept at bay with our Páramo jackets and woolly hats whilst Freddie relied on bombing around in the snow to keep warm.

Snowy Shropshire

Every day we gaze at the Shropshire Hills and the distant Welsh mountains, looking forward to the longer brighter days of next spring and summer. Not long to wait now until our next adventure together and the chance for Freddie to explore more of the wonders of outdoor life.

Freddie and Jenny

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Emma Gerrard’s Páramo kit gets the job done in all weathers…

Mountain Leader and Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteer Emma Gerrard has been wearing her Páramo Andina jacket almost every day for six years in the Cumbrian countryside where she resides, within spitting distance of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales...

Howgill Fells

I have been a Páramo convert and lover for going on 6 years. I wear my trusty blue Andina jacket nearly every day – whether that be out on the hill or popping to the post office. It’s comfy, I don’t get all hot and sweaty, and I’m always impressed when I stay dry regardless of the downpour. (Note that constant surprise is based on years and years of disappointing non-Páramo waterproof experiences!) I bought it in 2015 and although it has had a sleeve panel replacement after a fight with a barbed wire fence, it is still going strong!

Whilst my day job is working in Wind Energy, I am also a Mountain Leader and pre-COVID was undertaking a lot of weekend Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteering work. I live on the edge of the Howgill Fells in Cumbria sandwiched between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, so getting out onto the fell is part of weekly – if not daily – life for exercise and to get away from the routine of the day. Exploring closer to home in the Howgill Fells, Westmorland Dales and the outlying Lake District has been really enjoyable over the last year, finding all the amazing places so close to the house.

Swirl How, Remembrance Day

I live with my partner George – a maths and outdoor education teacher, with a wealth of outdoor qualifications and experience. George, however is only a very recent Páramo convert. For years I have trundled along on wet miserable walks listening to George commentating on which body part is now wet thanks to his non-Páramo waterproofs, while I have been silently smug, snug and dry, bundled up in my Páramo jacket.

A particularly horrible lockdown day out in a boggy, wet, windy mess prompted an impulsive trip to the Páramo shop in Keswick. Thanks to the help of an amazing shop assistant we were in and out in within 30 minutes – George with a new Velez Evolution smock and trousers, and so not to be lacking in the Páramo game, me with a matching pair of ladies Velez trousers!

The purchase of our new Páramo kit fitted perfectly with the onset of winter and the colder, wetter weather. But we had renewed enthusiasm to get out in the less optimum conditions to put our new kit to the test! I was confident that I would remain snug and dry, which my new trousers (teamed with a pair of gaiters) were more than happy to oblige. They have had a pretty brutal beating of wind, rain and snow and not once have I been soaked through to my pants! I was actually a bit disappointed with myself that I hadn’t purchased a pair of Páramo trousers earlier as they are now very much my go-to for any weather as they are so comfy, breathable, quick drying and definitely waterproof.

Great Dodd

George spent the first few walks struggling with temperature regulation and layering. Embracing the venting zips (of which the Velez smock has many!) was a game changer and established the baseline that the Páramo smock could just be worn all day, with venting there to respond to temperature regulation. Now he just won’t shut up about how great his Páramo is!

Lockdown changed how we enjoy the mountains. We would normally have spent most of our mountain time in the core of the Lake District, but with the local exercise restrictions we weren’t able to justify the need to travel there. Especially when there are so many closer places – perhaps not as high or as rocky – but unexplored, quieter and equally as stunning! Whether together, or solo we have been loving exploring closer to home, still practicing our skills and getting some good exercise. For me, having robust and reliable kit like my Páramo jacket and trousers is a must for getting out in the mountains. I trust they will keep me warm and dry, enabling me to focus on enjoying my time safely outside regardless of the conditions. The only downside is, although I no longer have to listen to the wet-body-part commentary from George, I am stuck with the constant and somewhat repetitive praise filled Páramo appraisal instead. But that’s okay, I can remain silently smug (and snug) in my Páramo knowing exactly what I knew all along…. Páramo is awesome!

Bannerdale Crags

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Lockdown adventures in Scotland’s beautiful mountains

Gerry McGarry has been climbing mountains all his life and has climbed and mountaineered in 5 of the 7 continents (so far!). He has extensive experience of the European Alps, but it is his home mountains of the Scottish Highlands that keep him busy looking for new adventures. When not in the hills he can be found on his Kayak, Paddleboard or having a swim in a Loch or the sea…

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The right tools

Arriving at any new venue, it is easy to expect that you will be able to capture the perfect “Google” photo – that classic ‘wow’ image that appears when you tap a location into a search engine. It is a natural reaction and one we are all prone to.  But the weather gods are fickle, often conspiring to scupper our preconceptions when we actually get out of the car.

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Capturing a fleeting moment on Skye

I was delighted to find that Páramo had chosen my image of the fleeting light as their prizewinner from the images in this year’s Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards book.

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