Tag Archives: adventure

We’ve moved to outdoorchics.com

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 13.06.25Hello all you beautiful followers…

Thanks for reading my blog so loyally! You may have already figured this out, but the blog has now moved to www.outdoorchics.com. It has even more awesome adventures, gear reviews, videos, sport, challenges and loads of other inspiring content. It also features a shiny outdoor calendar where you can find out about all sorts of events from charity mud runs to climbing competitions and even canoe river litter picks (if you’re into protecting the environment!). So head on over there and let me know what you think.

Hope to see you soon…

Review: 2 hours on Go Ape’s new Zip Trekking Adventure

Actually flying and not just dreaming about it (c) LJM Photography

Actually flying and not just dreaming about it

So you like flying at high-speed through the air with a bit of thick rope wedged up your bottom, getting smacked in the face by branches? If that’s you, then you’ll love Go Ape’s new Zip Trekking Adventure in Cumbria, Lake District. Just kidding, it’s nothing like that. But it is amazing!

Since the age of about three, my night-time visions have been filled with dreams of flying. Flying over fields and rivers and mountains. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. And now I had the chance. So I grabbed my photographer friend LJ and friendly Lake District expert, Kate, packed the car with camping essentials and bombed it up the M6 to Grizedale Forest in Cumbria.

sIMG_2127     sIMG_2134

This was my first Go Ape experience, and I must say, I was very impressed. Incredibly friendly staff were the cherry on top of an already exciting experience in stunning surroundings. So to give you a little glimpse into the experience, I’ve set out a bit of a Q & A below for you. Feel free to send me a comment if there’s anything else you’d like to know.

At this point I was still oblivious to the huge ground drop I was about to witness

At this point I was still oblivious to the huge ground drop I was about to witness

Q & A

Is it scary? Depends what your scare-factor is. My two friends and I all like varying levels of danger. Kate loves dangling off rock faces, I only partially like hanging off rock faces, while LJ prefers to opt for gentle strolls over rolling hills — but we all absolutely loved the experience.

Is it safe? Absolutely. You’re accompanied by two qualified instructors the whole way — they make sure you do everything safely, so there’s no chance of falling off. And as with other Go Ape adventures, you’re always attached by two safety lines.

Being given our safety briefing

Getting our safety briefing

Do you get an adrenaline rush? Sure do. The first zip wire is nice and short to help ease you into the experience. But the second one is easily one of the longest. About halfway along Zip 2, the land suddenly drops away, amplifying the exposed feeling. Zip 7 is by far the most adrenaline-inducing ride. But on all zips you get an absolutely amazing view over Grizedale Forest.

How fast do you go? Our instructor told us his fastest speed was 42mph on Zip 7. This is the longest and fastest zip and of course the most fun. I’m pretty sure I reached at least 40mph – pretty exhilarating!

The breathtaking view from Zip 2

The breathtaking view from Zip 2

Is it expensive? While other Go Ape activities are generally priced around £30-35, this one is £45. I did initially think this was quite steep, but I think the additional cost must be to cover the cost of the Land Rovers that drive you to the start and the instructors that accompany you on the course. I do still think it’s pricey, but completely worth it. A brilliant activity for a hen do or birthday bash.

How long is the experience? Our adventure was a little over two hours and although you’re actually only on the zips for around 10 minutes, it feels much longer. There are eight zips varying between 200-500m, so on average you’re flying through the air for about a minute at a time. Also, the groups are relatively small, as they don’t want to keep people waiting too long.

Go Ape Zip Trekking Adventure     Go Ape Zip Trekking certificate

But is 10 minutes air time really long enough? You know when you go on holiday and you reach that point where you’re happy with the time you’ve had away, but equally happy to go home? That’s how I felt at the end of the adventure — contented.

Tips for going faster… If you want even more of an adrenaline rush, you could try:

  • Going backwards — this is kinda hard, cause soon as you’re flying you do turn quite a lot. If you hold higher up the rope you can stop yourself from turning, but Go Ape discourages this, as you could get your fingers stuck. That would be kinda nasty.
  • Be heavier — not a whole lot you can do about this, but you could try eating a bigger breakfast!
  • Tuck into a small ball — the smaller you are the faster you’ll fly. Aerodynamics darling!
  • Don’t flail — the more you try spinning round to face the front or the back, the slower you’ll fly. Go with the flow.

The Apple Pie, Ambleside     The Giggling Goose Cafe, Ambleside

A couple of lush pit stops in Ambleside for a bit of tea and cake post zip trekking

Would I do it again? Absolutely! If you love flying through the air as much as I do, you’ll be wanting all your friends to celebrate their birthdays, hen do’s and graduations in Grizedale Forest.

Want a bigger rush? If this is a bit tame for you, you could always try Zip World Titan at Blaenau Ffestiniog. Flying at over 100mph for over a mile, it’s the longest and fastest zip wire in the world!

I hope you found this review helpful. If there are any other adventures you’d like to hear about, just let me know.

All images courtesy of LJM Photography

New partnership with social enterprise Summit Clothing gets clean water to Nepal

Villages like Serabesi in Nepal will receive specialist water filters to help produce clean, safe drinking water

Villages like Serabesi in Nepal will receive specialist water filters to help produce clean, safe drinking water

I’m really into ethical clothing and ethical shopping. I know it costs a little more, but just think about the difference you’re making to someone’s life. That’s why I was thrilled to hear that Summit Clothing — a fresh new online social enterprise — was joining forces with Sawyer Europe (the sole distributor of Sawyer Water Filters), Onfire Adventure and Clear Sky Treks to invest in a water filter capable of filtering 5,000 litres of water a day and sending it to isolated areas of Nepal.

This is Summit Clothing’s first major social project since its start up in February, and with one tenth of the world’s population living without clean water, this unique partnership is fundamental to the values of this adventure gear specialist online store.

So how does it work? By purchasing Sawyer Europe’s SP128 Mini Filter from the website, you’ll be directly helping disadvantaged people on the other side of the world. For every 10 water filters sold by Summit Clothing, it will purchase a specialist water filter with the help of Sawyer Europe. This will produce 5,000 litres of clean, safe water every day. The filter will be directly transported to the small, isolated village of Sarabesi, Nepal, by two adventure trekking companies — UK-based company Onfire Adventure and Kathmandu-based expedition company Clear Sky Treks. The tiny village has a population of 150 and is over half an hour’s walk away from the nearest source of water — which by Western standards would never be considered clean.

You can use the SP128 Mini Filter to drink directly as a straw, attach it to Sawyer Squeeze Pouches or simply attach it to standard threaded bottles

You can use the SP128 Mini Filter to drink directly as a straw, attach it to Sawyer Squeeze Pouches or simply attach it to standard threaded bottles

Adventure sports enthusiast and founder of Summit Clothing, Keiran Hewkin, really wants to help those who need it most. “There are currently around 700 million people worldwide without access to clean water,” he says. “In our Western culture, it’s hard to imagine life without safe drinking water on demand, but there are many secluded areas on the globe where people live a constant struggle to find clean water.”

If you’re venturing on expeditions in the wilderness, carrying a water filter is a necessity — especially if you’re going to be drinking water from streams and lakes. The incredibly lightweight SP128 Mini Filter is not only really handy, but by buying one from Summit Clothing you’ll be contributing to similar filters for the remote mountain communities in Nepal. Do you need more reason to contribute to this amazing cause?

The villagers of Serabesi have to walk over half an hour to their nearest water source - and even then it's not clean

The villagers of Serabesi have to walk over half an hour to their nearest water source – and even then it’s not clean

The great news is that Sarabesi is only the first of many villages to receive these special filters. Having no access to clean water can be extremely dangerous and can lead to lots of diseases and infections, which is why Summit Clothing believes it’s crucial to help as many isolated communities as possible.

Social and environmental projects are at the core of Summit Clothing, and the social enterprise has a number of other positive schemes in the pipeline. It has also teamed up with local organisation iDID Adventure which enables young people from a variety of social backgrounds to get out there and partake in outdoor activities and adventure sports.

We need more organisations like this! Keep up the good work guys!

To find out more about Summit Clothing and their ethical range of outdoor gear, visit http://summitclothing.co.uk/

 

Beach walking

I picked up The Simple Things – a beautiful magazine; if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend – in the shop the other day and spotted an article about spending a day on the beach. There’s a peace about escaping to the seaside; there are wonderful things you can catch and eat and so many little wonders to find. And they’re totally right, a day on the beach, even in winter is incredibly refreshing and invigorating!

Now I must admit, you can go to the beach with one of two agendas. You can be there to escape and relax and wander along the shoreline admiring the beauty of it all, or you can be there to feed your adventurous spirit, push your limits and get truly bashed about in the waves. Our agenda was the former, but I can’t deny I was a little jealous of these kitesurfers.

A beautiful sight in hazy light

A beautiful sight in hazy light

It was a beautifully windy day – perfect for these guys. Kitesurfing is something that’s intrigued me for a long time. I’ve always wanted to fly and I can imagine kitesurfing is one way of satisfying that desire.

Although it was windy, it looked pretty hard work getting the kites up

Although it was windy, it looked pretty hard work getting the kites up

Seeing these guys makes me want to try kitesurfing even more!

Seeing these guys makes me want to try kitesurfing even more

The beach is a great playground for both two legged mammals and the four legged variety, and a brilliant location for your furry friend to exert all his energy, so he doesn’t run raucous in the house.

The beach is a great place to tire your four legged friend out

The beach is a great place to tire your four legged friend out

Shep loves playing on the beach as much as we do

Shep loves playing on the beach as much as we do

The light wasn’t great, but it was dry and that’s all a photographer can ask for. Welsh beaches run for miles and miles and when the tide is out, you have even more space for playing. I can see us coming down here in the summer with a cricket bat or volleyball net and some Kubb – a brilliant old Viking game from Sweden.

I've always been a stickler for lines in nature

I’ve always been a stickler for lines in nature

But if you’re serious about finding some real treasures on the beach, you have to be willing to go out of your way a little. Get down on the ground, look behind a bush, try a different angle – you’ll be rewarded with some stunning pictures if you’re willing to go the extra mile.

The beauty's in the details

The beauty’s in the details

Shells are not only beautiful, but come in pretty handy in crafty projects too

Shells are not only beautiful, but come in pretty handy in crafty projects too

Where’s your favourite beach? I’d love to see your photos and hear your stories!

Guitars and mountains

Plas Y Brenin’s Big Acoustic Walk sounds like the perfect escape from a hectic lifestyle

I’ve always been one who enjoys being in the mountains, so my face lit up when I heard Plas Y Brenin was holding a musical walking weekend called The Big Acoustic Walk on 8-9 December.

The idea of spending a weekend walking in the mountains and evenings in a cosy pub listening to acoustic music sounds like the perfect escape from the hectic journalism masters I currently find myself on.

The weekend is designed to suit walkers and musicians of all abilities, allowing you to choose guided walks ranging from ‘very gentle’ to ‘highly challenging’. It’s a great place to catch up with friends and family and meet fellow mountain enthusiasts too.

the perfect escape 

I’ve always wanted to walk in Snowdonia. The closest I’ve been is Cadair Idris, at the bottom end of the park. That was awesome, but I’ve heard the further north you go the more beautiful it gets.

So the days will be spent walking in the mountains with Plas Y Brenin’s guides and instructors. I find it’s always great walking with people who know what they’re doing – you can learn so much.

Post walk will involve a hearty cuppa tea (or coffee) and some freshly baked cakes, followed with a warming meal and an open mic night in the bar. If you’re one for getting your guitar or ukulele out, this will be your opportunity to shine. Or if you’re like me, you’ll just sit back and enjoy.

I hear there are fantastic views of the Snowdon Horseshoe from the bar – the perfect end to an adventurous weekend. The bar boasts some lovely locally brewed ales and hearsay has it Brenin Beers is pretty good!

You can book via the website. Plas Y Brenin also runs a number of other brilliant courses, including the Scottish Introduction to Winter Climbing, Discover Mountain Biking and Adventure Sports Holidays.