World of Barefoot

13 July 2017



This year, our journey as official sponsors of the OtillO Swimrun led us to the Isles of Scilly. This breathtaking corner of the British Isles encapsulates the untamed, exhilarating beauty signature to Swimrun events.

It was here that we met the Lishman family, Founders of ‘Adventure Scilly’, offering island retreats that actively re-connect guests with a love for exploration and nature. We had a truly inspiring time hanging out with them, and we thought you might enjoy finding out more about their day-to-day land and sea lifestyle.


What makes living on the Isles of Scilly unique?

Our surroundings are so varied, with new views opening around every corner. Shimmering white sand, sculptural granite rocks, tree roots with a soft pine carpet beneath your feet, invigorating sea water to refresh. Even the most distant reaches of the island are accessible on foot within a relatively short time.

What’s it like raising a family on an island?

We get do fun things right on our doorstep like heading off in a boat for a picnic tea on an uninhabited island, or kayaking & swimming in the sea after school. The kids can have lots of freedom here.

However, some things are more complicated. Medical emergencies involve getting helicoptered out - this has happened twice to us, once when Louis was born due to complications, and once when Louis was critically ill and needed urgent attention. It can feel quite dramatic for family members left behind but that's part of island life.

When we first met, most of the family hadn’t worn barefoot shoes. Now you’ve all been wearing them for a few months – have you noticed any differences?

The shoes are very comfy. It feels like you’re not wearing shoes at all as you can genuinely feel the ground beneath your feet. It’s like walking on pillows & your feet feel like they have the space and freedom to bend & flex in response to the ground, unlike shoes that pinch the toes or restrict movement. Also people notice the shoes & comment on their style!

What impact has OtillO Swimrun had on Island life?

Local people are generally pretty active but people have really taken swim-run to their hearts and are experiencing the islands in a new and intimate way, exploring the rocks and wildness above and below the water. It’s a very sociable sport and really brings people together in a fun way. It’s also helped introduce a new type of visitor to Scilly, bringing younger & more active people to our stunning adventure playground.


Tell us about your experience in participating in the Otillo swimrun race.

Nick, 48: my partner and I were both new to endurance events and it was great motivation to train with someone else. You really don't want to let them down. The event was fantastic but brutal, I must train harder next time!


Bryony, 38: It’s such a great experience in the most incredible environment - there were many moments when my teammate & I were in raptures over the pleasure of where we live. It’s fun to hop from rock to rock & run the soft trails before plunging back into the crystal clear water - the course is tough, it’s hard work but so enjoyable too.



What in nature and our living environment should we place most importance on?


 Louis, 12: Animals overall and especially their habitats - there are so many creatures in our oceans and across the islands.


Amelie, 10: litter! Plastic bags can injure animals - there were 30 plastic bags found in a whale in America when it died, fish & seabirds’ stomachs often contain small pieces of plastic. It’s really important to protect bees too.


Nick & Bryony: Climate change & rising sea levels are a concern to us due to the low-lying nature of our island home. It’s been said that there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050, so we urgently (& continuously) need to re-evaluate what we consume, what can be reused/repurposed or mended & how we dispose of things. In the immediate term it’s vital that on Scilly we protect our marine & natural environment with beach cleaning/picking up any plastics we spot in the sea. Longer term we need to make sure we’re only buying things that will last a long time & not filling up our living spaces with cheaply produced & frivolous items that will soon end up in landfill or trashing our beautiful planet.