Ian Hutchings

Freshwalking with... Ian Hutchings

Ian Hutchings is the Founder and Managing Director of Vita Safety, a professional safety, health and business risk management consultancy in Manchester. With over 20 years’ experience in Health and Safety consultancy and a number of professional qualifications under his belt, it’s fair to say Ian’s an expert in his field.

He’s also a very active fundraiser and ran the Manchester 10k the past two years in a row! Who knows what he’ll do next? Make sure to say hello to Ian on one of our Freshwalks or you can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Freshwalking with... Ian Hutchings

Freshwalking with... Ian Hutchings

Tell us about your first Freshwalks.

Feels like a lifetime ago now! October 2014 from memory and checking back over a few tweets. Underestimating my lack of fitness and taking the advice of “you’ll never get blisters with these boots mate” from Go Outdoors was a fail.

How many have you attended up until now, April 2019?

Completely lost track and don’t count, but I reckon it must be at least circa 40+.

Why do you come back?

I just love the people, getting out in the fresh air and having space for myself outside of work, home and the stresses of day to day to life. If I haven’t been for a while, I really start to miss getting out on walks.

What’s your favourite route?

To date, possibly the Lake District walks last October, including the Fairfield Horseshoe. I love any of the longer walks over 25K and have since really fallen in love with the Peak District, particularly Edale and Kinder areas. I’m really looking forward to Alport Valley within the next few weeks.

The something you always bring?

Generally, I always bring too much. Totally over prepared, learnt from my army days. If I don’t have to drive (which is most of the time!), a hip flask or can of G&T for any summits or celebrating completion.

Favourite Freshwalks memory?

Sliding down a snow-covered slope (Michael might remember which one this was). The second one was the walk where my wife was constantly warning me not to go and sending me weather warnings the week before (still did it, with a group that dwindled in numbers all week).

How has Freshwalks helped your business?

I’ve met a number of people who have made a significant difference for my business and have supported me over the last five years. I don’t go on Freshwalks to drum up business. Business has come of it, but for me it is mainly the large network of help and new friends I have made.

Recommend three people you have met on Freshwalks.

Mike Pye has helped me immensely with my marketing strategy, Helen Fleet has made a great difference with my financial planning for the next 3-5 years of Vita Safety and Paul Shuffleton has been instrumental in helping me to develop a new business strategy and plan.

How does Freshwalks challenge typical networking formats?

Many of the networking groups I have been involved in generally have people who are looking for what people can do for them. Freshwalks is the reverse of this. It is a group of people looking out for each other and seeing how we can help others. This is the true and most effective spirit of networking.

10. Freshwalks is a combination of exercise, networking, sharing knowledge and thinking time. How do you balance those components?

Freshwalks definitely led to a complete shift change in me doing more exercise, more walking, running and next month I am doing the Yorkshire Three Peaks. Without a doubt it has led to a vast improvement in my physical and mental wellbeing. You need to look after these to be effective in business, share knowledge and help others. On walks I will usually have some time for self-reflection, exploring what others do and winding down in the pub afterwards!

Suggest one new place for us to go.

Scotland. Bit of a trek, but I haven’t really done any walking there, it is such a beautiful place and there’s always the whisky.

Sum up Freshwalks in three words.

Headspace. New Friends. Supportive.

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