Wednesday, 14 December 2011

An ‘Outdoor World’ experience from a (normally) indoor person’s point of view - the office job with perks!

Having worked in the office of River Deep Mountain High for almost 3 years, I have taken part in the odd ‘extreme’ evening out-of-work activity with the instructors. The “Muddy Boot Challenge” on Friday 9th December, held at Thurston Outdoor Education Centre this year, however was the most extreme and difficult yet! When I say difficult, this is from the viewpoint of an active and fairly fit 24 year-old woman, as opposed to every other individual taking part in the challenge, that completes a Mountain Walk, Kayak journey or Mountain Bike Ride as a daily activity.

To grasp what the ‘Muddy Boot Challenge’ consisted of, you must think back to when you did Cross Country around your old school field. Ok, now increase the incline on the route, make the field so muddy that it feels like your running on a beach because your feet sink and slide back whilst your trying to run forward. To top it off, add Canoeing around Coniston Water with high winds and heavy rain, and THEN Mountain Biking with the steep inclines and declines that the Lake District are famous for, on to your already throbbing muscles! Feeling tired yet?

The ‘Muddy Boot Challenge” required teams to complete mental tasks throughout the route too, such as memorising tasks and quizzes, whilst also keeping the Gingerbread Man given to them at the beginning of the challenge alive and complete (River Deep’s team gingerbread man was named Ron!).

Team Leader and Owner of River Deep Mountain High, Johan said that we “Came last but it felt like first, loved it more than the 2 wins” (in previous years) “it was my Team, and this made me feel very proud of them and where River Deep has got too.”

River Deep Mountain High is a family run company which has run outdoor activities for families and groups for 8 years now.

I fell off my Mountain Bike (over the handlebars!) due to the combination of too much rain and hail, not enough daylight, pure tiredness and lack of experience – I have been off-road Mountain Biking once in my life and that was in March this year, so Mountain biking on a dark Winter night at 5pm in December with head torches, may not have been the best idea.

By completing this challenge, not only did I learn a lot about my own capabilities and limits, it also brought out the natural characteristics of our instructors, as they motivated and cared for me throughout, making me feel really safe and therefore enabling me to achieve something I never would have done on my own. They really are the best out there, and that’s why River Deep Mountain High are so successful as outdoor activity providers, getting complete beginners out of their comfort zone, enjoying activities they wouldn’t normally take part in.

Lanehead Outdoor Education Centre were the winners of this years challenge, which was the best result, as this centre is closing down in the very near future, due to lack of funding. This is a very upsetting time for the staff at Lanehead, as it is the end of an era for everyone that has worked alongside and for them. We wish them all the very best in their upcoming adventures.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Manchester Climbing Wall

Following some fun and games at the Manchester Markets with plenty of great food, we headed to Manchester Climbing wall which is in an old Church.

We all enjoyed a good mix of different grade and height lead climbs.

Followed by trying to retrieve the rubber duck from the top of the walls wherever Johan put it.

The Walls were very impressive and had a lot of variety that suited each persons differing needs.

Everyone managed to climb 5 to 10 Lead Climbs, and a lot of fun was had.

End of Term Climbing Trip

It's the end of term, and the students are breaking up for the holidays so we have gone to explore some large climbing walls at the Blackpool towers and Manchester climbing wall. Both offer something very different to our local crags and local climbing walls. On arriving at Blackpool you are struck by its monsterous size.

Then when climbing you quickly feel very exposed overlooking Blackpool with cars honking there horns at you and the local kids watching. This was quite an experience for all of us.

We all managed to get some good lead climbs done however,

and then enjoyed the sunset,

and some floodlit climbing!